News From
Richard Bryan
U.S. Senator  •  Nevada


CONTACT: Dave Lemmon

DATE: August 19, 1999

Tom Foulkes


(202) 224-6244

Senator Bryan Praises Administration's Decision to Accept Environmental Protection Agency's Radiation Standards for Yucca Mountain

Washington--U.S. Senator Richard Bryan said today that the Administration has decided to go with the recommendations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in setting radiation and groundwater standards for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage site rather than those standards being proposed by the nuclear industry and Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

"I am extremely pleased the White House listened to EPA and Administrator Carol Browner instead of the industry and their advocates on the big questions of radiation levels and the need for a groundwater standard," Bryan said. "Nevadans have quite a bit at stake in EPA's action today, and I am pleased that the standards are more stringent than those sought by the nuclear power industry. These radiation standards, which limit overall exposer to 15 mrem and establish a separate groundwater protection standard, will hopefully prove that Yucca Mountain is not the ideal site that the nuclear power industry and the NRC would like us to believe."

The Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year had sent proposed standards for radiation release and groundwater contamination that would have to be met before approval for a nuclear repository site to the White House. The nuclear industry and the NRC fought the EPA standards, arguing for a higher level of allowable radiation release and no standard for groundwater release. The White House agreed with EPA and yesterday gave EPA the okay to issue their proposed standards.

"The most promising news is that EPA will adhere to the same water safety standards in the "Safe Drinking Water Act" which is one of the most important environmental protections Congress has ever passed. It is only fair that the people of Nevada be provided a radiation release standard no less protective than that for other, similar facilitates, such as the WIPP facility in New Mexico. While many technical questions still remain, I am encouraged that the EPA's action today is a step in the right direction at least on the major questions," Senator Bryan concluded.