News Release from 100 Environmental and Consumer Organizations

For Immediate Release:
Public Citizen                       Contact: Auke Piersma, 202-546-4996, ext. 318
Dec. 18, 1998	                              Mary Olson,   202-338-0002

DOE's Viability Assessment: Showstoppers Abound

	WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Environmental and consumer organizations called today 
for Energy Secretary Bill Richardson to disqualify Yucca Mountain as the 
proposed site of a nuclear waste repository. The data within the Department 
of Energy's Viability Assessment (VA), released today, confirm that the site 
must be disqualified.  Furthermore, the VA snubs necessary public 
involvement.

	In the Viability Assessment, the scientific data supports the Petition to 
Disqualify Yucca Mountain, which 219 environmental organizations submitted 
on Nov. 18. The rapid water travel times from the proposed dump to the 
nearest wells supplying drinking water require the energy secretary to 
disqualify Yucca Mountain as a site to dump high-level nuclear waste. 
Several other concerns are likely showstoppers, including seismic activity, 
volcanic activity and geothermal upwelling.

	"We object to the content of the report for its optimistic conclusions." 
the groups said. "Our petition has highlighted clear evidence of 
showstoppers. It is time for the DOE to stop the show and disqualify Yucca 
Mountain."

	DOE models, despite their large uncertainties, predict massive radionuclide 
contamination, peaking up to 20 times above current radiation protection 
standards for other geologic waste dumps. "It is outrageous that DOE will 
continue to study this site when their own data predicts excessive radiation 
exposure to citizens of our nation," said Wenonah Hauter, the director of 
Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy Project.

	Earlier this month, representatives of environmental and consumer groups 
met with Richardson to urge that the VA be written with an open democratic 
process that fosters public participation. However, the DOE has failed to 
solicit the views of citizens.

	"We are frustrated with the DOE's lack of effort in upholding the integrity 
of the process to characterize Yucca Mountain," said Michael Mariotte, the 
executive director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service. "The VA 
should be accompanied by several public hearings across the country in the 
many states that would be affected by this program."

	The DOE says the VA is intended to present an assessment of Yucca Mountain 
at this time, but the agency has failed to allow for an outside independent 
peer review that is representative of the full range of concerns. The DOE 
should establish a convening body to select a representative group of peers 
across the full spectrum of issues and expertise, the groups said.

	 "The environmental community stands ready to nominate members of a 
convening body in an open process," said Hauter. "We also look forward to 
the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board's review, but we encourage them to 
not stop short of the obvious conclusions of Yucca Mountain that need to be 
drawn."

	Recent independent cost estimates for the Yucca Mountain program suggest a 
shortfall of $25 billion. "It would be outrageous for DOE to make the 
decision to go forward with more work at Yucca Mountain when the evidence in 
their own study  - - a leaky mountain, leaky containers, and earthquakes - - 
disqualify the site. It is time to move on and stop wasting billions of 
dollars," said Ann Mesnikoff of Sierra Club's Global Warming and Energy 
Program.

# # #

Action for a Clean Environment * Alliance for Nuclear Accountability * 
Alliance to Close Indian Point * Alliance for Survival * American's for a 
Safe Future  * Appalachia - Science in the Public Interest * Arizona Safe 
Energy Coalition * Atlanta Food Not Bombs * Baltimore's Hiroshima-Nagasaki 
Commemoration Cmte * Bay Area Nuclear Waste Coalition * Bison Land Resource 
Center * Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League * California Communities 
Against Toxins * Californians for Radioactive Safeguards * Center for Energy 
Research * Central Pennsylvania Citizens for Survival * Chenango North 
Energy Awareness Group * Chernobyl Children's Project * Chicago Media Watch 
* Citizen Alert * Citizen's Resistance at Fermi Two (CRAFT) * Citizens 
Awareness Network * Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana * Citizens For a 
Healthy Planet * Citizens League for Environmental Action & Recovery (CLEAR) 
* Citizens Protecting Ohio * Clean Environment * Coalition for Peace and 
Justice * Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes (CNFGL) * Connecticut 
Green Party * Desert Citizens Against Pollution * Don't Waste Oregon * Don't 
Waste Michigan (DWM) *  E.D.E.N. Calendar of Southeast Michigan * Earth Day 
Coalition * Earth Care * Earth Concerns of Oklahoma * El Paso Chapter 
National Lawyers Guild * Environmental Advocates * Environmental Coalition 
on Nuclear Power * F.A.C.T.S. (For A Clean Tonawanda Site), Inc. * Flagstaff 
Opposed to Nuclear Transportation * Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice * 
Forces of Nature * FRIENDS of the COAST - Opposing Nuclear Pollution * GE 
Stockholders' Alliance * Global Resource Action Center for the Environment 
(GRACE) * Grandmothers for Peace International * Grass Roots Environmental 
Organization of New Jersey * Green Party of New Jersey * Hanford Watch * 
Heads Up Media * Institute for Local Self Reliance * Kalamazoo Area 
Coalition for Peace and Justice * Long Island SHAD (Sound & Hudson against 
Atomic Development) * Maryland Safe Energy Coalition * Massachusetts 
Citizens For Safe Energy * Native Forest Network - Eastern North American 
Resource Center * NC WARN * New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution * 
Non- Violent Student Organization- Kalamazoo College * Nuclear Information 
and Resource Service * Nuclear Waste Citizen's Coalition * Nuclear Energy 
Information Service * Nukewatch * Orange County Greens * Peace Action Maine 
* Pennsylvania Environmental Network (PEN) * Pennsylvania Consumer Action 
Network * Philadelphia Solar Energy Association * Physicians for Social 
Responsibility/Maine * Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles * 
Prairie Island Coalition * Public Citizen * RACE, Regional Association of 
Concerned Environmentalists * Redwood Alliance * Rocky Mountain Peace and 
Justice Center * Safe Energy Communication Council * Save Ward Valley * 
Sierra Blanca Legal defense/ El Paso * Sierra Club * Snake River Alliance * 
Solar Energy International * Southwest Research and Information Center * 
Southwest Toxic Watch * STAR (Standing for Truth About Radiation) * Stop 
Mobile Chernobyl!/People Against Unsafe Nuclear Transportation * Student 
Environmental Organization - Kalamazoo College * Students for a Sustainable 
Earth - Western Michigan U * SUN DAY Campaign * Swords into Plowshares Peace 
Center - Western Michigan University * The Radiation and Public Health 
Project * Three Mile Island Alert * Tippecanoe Environmental Council * 
Vermont Public Interest Research Group * Women Legislators' Lobby * Women's 
Action for New Directions * Women's International League for Peace & Freedom 
* World Tree Center for Peace, Justice and Mother Earth * Yggdrasil 
Institute *