Nevada Public Health Association

October 19, 1999

Contact: Judith Saum, Legislative Committee
Nevada Public Health Association
Phone, 775-329-6160, 787-0414


The American Public Health Association passed a resolution declaring the Yucca Mountain site in Southern Nevada unsuitable as a permanent repository for nuclear waste at its annual convention in Chicago last week.

Drafted by the legislative committee of the Nevada Public Health Association, the resolution details the potential public health impacts to Nevadans and the rest of the nation.

The reasons for recommending disqualification of the site outlined by the American Public Health Association are:

  • Department of Energy (DOE) studies show that surface water infiltration and groundwater contamination will take place in the Yucca Mountain area much more rapidly than previously thought

  • This rate of underground flow into the drinking and irrigation water of the adjacent Amargosa Valley meets the conditions for disqualification under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act

  • Frequent, seismic activity make it impossible to predict the protection of the public's health and exceeds the current Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations for allowing licensure of a nuclear reactor with onsite waste storage

  • The transportation of high-level nuclear waste to the site will affect 43 states, putting 50 million people within one-half mile of the transportation routes at risk for exposure to potential high levels of radiation when inevitable accidents occur

The American Public Health Association (APHA), a professional organization of more than 50,000 members, will follow-up on this recommendation by meeting with Secretary of Energy, Bill Richardson, and contacting members of Congress, appropriate federal, state, and local agencies,

As part of the resolution, APHA will also lobby members of Congress against any legislation that sets radiation protection standards for Yucca Mountain which are weaker than and inconsistent with already existing standards. The organization will support alternative nuclear waste research.

The Nevada Public Health Association has forwarded a copy of the resolution to the State Engineer requesting denial of the water permit applications filed by the Department of Energy for the Yucca Mountain repository stating that the use of water for that project would not be in the public interest of Nevadans.