A deadly proposition
Future Nevadans at risk of getting cancer if Yucca Mountain becomes nuclear waste dump
Mon, Oct 6, 2008 (2:09 a.m.)
The Bush administration believes there is nothing wrong with building a nuclear waste dump that could cause at least one of every 125 individuals who live nearby to contract cancer. But if you happen to be one of those residents, chances are you won’t be feeling good about the odds of getting that potentially fatal disease.
Unfortunately, those will be the odds of getting cancer for future residents who live in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain should that site 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas be turned into a dump for the nation’s high-level nuclear waste.
As reported by Lisa Mascaro on Thursday in the Las Vegas Sun, those are the odds that can be gleaned from the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest cancer risk standards for the proposed dump.
It is of little comfort to note that the cancer risk is expected to be lower during the first 10,000 years of the dump’s existence because the risk would still be higher than if the dump didn’t exist.
Remember, too, that the cancer risk is in addition to the potential for catastrophic loss of life throughout the United States because of an accidental release of radioactive waste or a terrorist attack during transport to the dump. Let’s not forget the potential additional hazards for Nevadans should an accident caused by man or nature occur at the dump.
Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., a friend of Nevada’s in its fight against the dump, said the Bush administration’s release of the new cancer risk standards “only reinforces how their entire approach to the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project has put politics and the financial health of the nuclear industry ahead of science and the health of the public.”
For the federal government to impose any involuntary cancer risk at all on Nevada, no matter how small, is ridiculous and is one of many reasons why the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should immediately dismiss the Department of Energy’s application to build the dump.