September 30, 2008
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid today delivered the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's standard for acceptable public radiation exposure from the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.
"Today, President Bush took time away from dealing with the nation's economic crisis to direct his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to release a new standard for 'acceptable' public radiation exposure from the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump. In other words, the agency decided just how much radiation you and I can live with. Let me be clear, there is no way this weak standard will breathe life into the Bush-McCain plan to dump nuclear waste in Nevada. Instead, it will breathe life into more litigation against this terrible project.
"The EPA has collaborated with the Department of Energy (DOE) to tweak a standard that a federal Court of Appeals threw out in 2001 because it failed to comply with the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and would have left Nevadans dangerously unprotected against radioactive contamination. If the repository at Yucca Mountain was ever actually built, the DOE does not deny that water infiltration would eventually corrode nuclear waste packages and radioactivity will inevitably leak into Nevada's groundwater. Instead of working to protect Nevadans from a public health catastrophe, this scandal-ridden EPA has chosen to simply make the rules more lenient so DOE can legally dump waste less than 100 miles outside of Las Vegas. This is unacceptable.
"Instead of working to protect the health and safety of Nevadans, EPA and DOE are casting science aside in an attempt to get the nuclear waste dump approved. Instead of warring against science, I side with Nevadans and experts who support safe and attainable solutions to our nation's nuclear waste. That is why I am working with Sen. Ensign to keep nuclear waste on-site at the power plants where it is produced in secure dry cask storage containers that are approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This plan is safer, more cost-effective, and will give us at least a century to find a more permanent solution to nuclear waste."
RenoBruce R. Thompson
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