DOE logo The Secretary of Energy
Washington, DC 20585

October 22, 1999

The Honorable Kenny C. Guinn
Governor of Nevada
Carson City, Nevada 89701

Dear Governor Guinn:

This is in response to your letter expressing concerns about how S-608, now replaced by S. 1287, addresses radiation protection standards for a potential high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain. I appreciate your recognition of the Administration's efforts in opposing any legislation that would make a decision to place an interim storage facility in Nevada prior to completion of the scientific and technical work needed to support decisions on a repository.

I share your concern about the process in S. 1287 for setting radiation protection standards for Yucca Mountain. The Administration has consistently stated its strong objection to any legislative provisions, such as those in S. 1287, that would weaken existing environmental standards by mandating a specific radiation protection standard and removing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from its standard-setting role.

On October 1, 1999, the President reiterated that view, stating S. 1287 "would not adequately ensure the protection of public health and safety," and that he would veto it if presented to him in its current form.

As you know, EPA published its proposed standards for Yucca Mountain on August 27, 1999. These proposed standards include levels of protection for individuals and groundwater that are the same as those in the generic standards. I encourage the State of Nevada to participate in the public process of promulgating Yucca Mountain sitespecific radiation protection standards.

If you have any questions, please contact me or have a member of your staff contact Mr. Lake H. Barrett, Acting Director, Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, at (202) 586-6842.

Yours sincerely,

Bill Richardson