Environment News Service

AmeriScan: April 13, 1999

PUSH ON TO DEFEAT NUCLEAR WASTE POLICY ACT

The Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy Project (CMEP) is mobilizing to pressure members of Congress to vote against the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1999. The bill is scheduled for a mark up by the Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Power on Wednesday. If Congress passes this bill, the CMEP says, it will bring nuclear waste within one half mile of 50 million Americans in 43 states as it is transported across the country to Nevada and dumped at a temporary site. The Department of Energy's projections for an accident leading to a small release of radioactive material (1,380 curies) in a rural area show that it would:

  • contaminate a 42 square mile area
  • require 460 days to clean up
  • carry a $620 million price tag for clean up

Nuclear waste remains hazardous for a million years, the group says, and warns "there is currently no known technology for the safe disposition of nuclear waste." Transporting nuclear waste now, when the final disposition of waste is unknown, may require another round of transport from Nevada, the group says. The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board is still in the process of assessing the suitability of a permanent nuclear waste depository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, currently the only site under consideration.

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