The Nevada Appeal

Senator pans nuke transport

Wednesday, April 28, 1999

Staff and wire reports

WASHINGTON - Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., says the Nuclear Regulatory Commission analysis of safety impacts involved in the transport of nuclear waste through Southern Nevada is "short-sighted and extremely rudimentary."

"Through either ineptitude, deception or a combination of the two, the commission has sought to trivialize the transportation of high-level nuclear waste through the state of Nevada," he said. "To make matters worse, the NRC attempted to do so out of the sight of those who would be most affected — Southern Nevadans."

That last comment was a reference to how the NRC issued notice for public comment on the proposed transportation of nuclear waste through Nevada. The notice made reference to relicensing of commercial nuclear power plants with no specific mention of the transportation issue.

Bryan said that denies the people of Clark County and other members of the public any chance to raise their concerns about the nuclear waste transportation issue.

He said that move follows NRC's attempt last month to get around open meeting laws.

"To say the least, I am highly suspicious of the NRC's backhanded maneuvering in this matter. It is obvious they have tried to sneak one by us."

Boulder City may join Clark County and Henderson in a battle to keep nuclear waste from being trucked through its neighborhoods.

Clark County commissioners last week approved a resolution opposing three proposed low-level nuclear waste routes through densely populated areas.

Henderson officials are drafting a resolution to submit to the federal government opposing the routes.

Shipments of nuclear waste for temporary storage at the test site from a nuclear weapons production facility in Ohio were halted 16 months ago because of leaky trucks.

But all the local government resolutions can't stop the five shipments a week that are expected to resume by May 1, because nuclear waste transportation is an issue between the state and federal governments.

Nancy Harkess, a spokeswoman for the Department of Energy, said the resolutions from the county and the cities mean the DOE has not done a good job of communicating with residents.