(Randi Thompson) – Thanks to all who contributed to our effort recently. You kept us funded thru December and allowed us to work on a new effort that we will be rolling out in January.
You all will be invited to a meeting in late January or early February where we will unveil a new non-profit organization that will take our efforts to the next level. This group will focus on expanding the educational efforts we started with this Alliance and take it to a broader audience through an aggressive marketing campaign and ballot initiative.
Many ask me, if Yucca is dead, why do we continue this effort?
Considering that Nevada is the most economically-stressed state in the nation, it will take bold leadership and action to get Nevada back on its feet and keep us there. We can no longer depend on tourists and gaming to fund our state. If we do not find new revenue sources, many of us fear the legislature will continue to increase taxes and look at creating new taxes like Gross Receipts…
The Yucca Energy Park is a start.
This park could host a research facility, an interim and long-term repository, and a reprocessing plant that will generate clean energy. (And yes, there is enough water in the Armargosa valley for a nuclear power plant.) The Park could bring in over $2 billion to Nevada and support a Trust Fund (similar to Alaska) that would provide significant monies annually and directly to Nevadans.
We are also continuing our efforts because of some recent good news:
• In the next few days, the Energy Department will announce the first of $18.5 billion in loan guarantees for building new reactors.
• “There is an increasing number of people who have spent their lives as environmental advocates who believe that carbon is such an urgent problem that they have to rethink their skepticism about nuclear power,” said Jonathan Lash, the president of the World Resources Institute, who puts himself in that category.
• DOE will not pull the Yucca license application.
Despite the rumors and wishes of some Nevada officials, DOE will allocate much of its $197 million budget defending the license application before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and not on closing down the facility.
DOE is quite aware that pulling the license would trigger numerous law suits from states and the utilities, as the law of the land still says that DOE must take possession of the spent fuel rods. Pulling the license would also mean that DOE would likely have to pay back the utilities the $10 BILLION already spent at Yucca. And that money would come from us taxpayers.
Currently there are about 38 cases in front of the US Court of Claims by utilities against the DOE for it’s failure to “take possession” of the spent fuel as required by law. The DOE is currently dealing with legal liabilities of $500 million each year until a repository is open.
Yes, that is $500 Million annually of your tax dollars being wasted!
Instead of Nevada RECEIVING $1.5 Billion a year to host this national repository, they are adding more to the federal debt.
Does this make sense to anyone????
The nuclear industry, fed up with Nevada’s delay tactics, is developing a new strategy to store spent fuel across the country in pools and in dry casks above ground, a method that scientists expect will work for a century.
Opponents to Yucca say that having all the spent fuel in one place could be a terrorist target (despite its burial in one of the most remote and secure locations in America.) So instead the fuel will stay stored at 104 potential terrorist’s sites within a few miles of 65 million people. Now THERE’S national security for ya…
This just does not make sense!
That is why a growing number of rational Nevadans feel we must convince our political leaders to change their mind and negotiate with the Feds to change the plans at Yucca. We should seek funding for a research facility that will develop technologies to reprocess this spent fuel at Yucca, creating jobs, clean power, and monies for our state.
The state is in the position now to:
• Seek money for “impacts” that will fund new rail lines, roads, bridges, schools, etc.
• Seek funds for facilities at the site to expand research into nuclear reprocessing and renewable technologies.
• Seek funds for a permanent trust fund (like Alaska) that will allocate money each year to qualified Nevadans.
• Take title to the spent fuel rods to re-sell or reprocess in the future.
We are being offered a multi-billion dollar project, and we just keep saying no!
Yucca is the ideal location for this facility. It’s the most studied piece of land on the planet and is proven to be safe for storing this material. The land is already contaminated from nuclear testing and has no other economic potential. (And storing and reprocessing fuel is a lot safer than detonating nuclear bombs.) And its remoteness in an already super-secret security area makes it safe from terrorists.
So my Grown-Up Christmas Wish this year is for our political leaders to listen to the “Other Side of Yucca” with an open mind and at least TALK to the Feds to see how we can make Yucca Work for Nevada.
It’s a big wish, I know. But it’s Christmas – the time to Believe in Miracles.
Wishing you all a safe, happy and healthy holiday…
(Ms. Thompson is executive director for the Alliance for Nevada’s Economic Prosperity)