The Nevada Appeal

Plans try to keep nuke waste out

BY GEOFF DORNAN
Appeal Capitol Bureau

March 16, 2001

Two resolutions and one proposed law designed to help keep nuclear waste out of Nevada were introduced in the Nevada Senate on Thursday.

Senate Bill 361 by Sen. Ray Shaffer, D-Las Vegas, attempts to make it illegal to transport nuclear waste within 10 miles of any city or town in Nevada which has a population of more than 3,000.

In addition, the proposed legislation would require the state Environmental Commission to put conditions on the transportation and storage of nuclear waste in Nevada including required monitoring systems, limits on the amount of radiation that could escape from the storage and access by the public as well as state regulatory officials.

In addition, Sen. Jon Porter, R-Las Vegas, introduced Senate Joint Resolution 11 asking Congress for an environmental impact statement on transporting waste to Yucca Mountain. He said at present, the impact study on transportation isn't scheduled for completion until after the decision on whether to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain is made.

"The current site and proposed transportation routes are unacceptable," said Porter. "The transportation of nuclear waste materials is as great a cause for concern as the hazards associated with permanent Yucca Mountain storage."

And Shaffer introduced Senate Joint Resolution 10 asking that safety standards for the proposed site be kept high.

All three were referred to the Transportation Committee for study over the objections of Sen. Mark James, R-Las Vegas, and Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas.

Titus said the legislation and resolutions should go to Natural Resources instead of Transportation under Senate rules. When that was denied, James bluntly charged that nuclear waste issues were being sent to Transportation to die. .

"Oh, yeah," said James after the floor session adjourned. "If they're anti-nuke, I think they are."

"I'll have to talk to him about that," said Transportation Chairman Bill O'Donnell, R-Las Vegas, when asked about the comment.