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JULY 9, 2002
6:47 PM
CONTACT:  Sierra Club
Wendy Balazik, 202-675-2383
Hazardous Nuclear Waste Coming to a Road or Rail-Line Near You; Senate Approves Nuclear Waste Storage Facility at Yucca Mountain
WASHINGTON - July 9 - The Senate today pushed forward a dangerous measure that would put nuclear waste on trucks and trains destined for storage at Nevada's Yucca Mountain, despite the concerns of scientists and public health officials. The Sierra Club expressed disappointment in Senators who failed to protect Americans from nuclear waste. "Yucca Mountain isn't a safe place to store radioactive waste," said Sierra Club's Executive Director Carl Pope. "When it recommended Yucca, the Bush Administration ignored more than 250 significant unresolved technical issues with the Yucca Mountain site, including how quickly the waste containers will leak radioactive waste into the aquifer beneath Yucca and the likelihood of seismic activity."

"The Senate has made a grave mistake today, and we hope the courts will halt this unsafe scheme. The Yucca plan puts the wishes of the nuclear industry ahead of Americans' health and safety," Pope continued. "Americans don't want convoys of nuclear waste on their roads and rails. These shipments will thunder right next to our homes, schools, and playgrounds. While the Senate made a terrible decision by approving the Yucca proposal, we are grateful to Senator Harry Reid and the Nevada delegation for standing up to the nuclear industry to protect our communities."

The Yucca plan, backed by the Bush Administration and the nuclear industry, calls for thousands of tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste to be transported across the country on trucks, trains, and barges over the next 38 years. These deadly shipments would pass within half a mile of 50 million Americans. It would then be dumped at Yucca Mountain, just ninety miles from Las Vegas, America's fastest growing city.

Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn vetoed the proposal in April. The House caved to the powerful nuclear industry in May, sending the proposal to the Senate. The state of Nevada and a number of groups have filed lawsuits to protect Nevadans from health threats of Yucca Mountain.

"Decisions on what to do with the most dangerous substance we have created must be grounded in science, not expedience, and the science shows Yucca is unsafe," continued Pope. "We hope the courts will carefully examine the science behind Yucca Mountain to protect public health. Let's not start moving nuclear waste around until we know we can transport it safely, it's going to the right place and will be safely stored."


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