Reid submits testimony against rail line to Yucca

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The following is the text of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, R-Nev., to a Surface Transportation Board (STB) hearing on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Application for Rail Construction and Operation – Caliente Rail Line in Lincoln, Nye and Esmeralda Counties. Reid believes the rail line should not be built and that the STB is the wrong entity to approve such construction in any case.

I want to thank Chairman Nottingham and the Board for agreeing to the Nevada congressional delegation’s request to hold this public hearing. I recognize that this is not the Board’s usual practice, but giving Nevadans a chance to explain their concerns in a public forum and for the record is the right decision. And, as you know, we have a number of concerns about shipping nuclear waste through our state and across the nation.

Nevadans and their leaders have not been reassured that Yucca Mountain will safely contain nuclear waste. We haven’t been reassured that transporting nuclear waste through our communities, over our grazing land, and past our schools and businesses can be done without incident. The Federal government has had more than two decades to reassure us, yet we still point to myriad safety and security flaws that have brought the Yucca project to its knees.


Reid: Won’t allow DOE chief who supports Yucca

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday he won’t allow an Energy secretary through the Senate who supports building a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain.

The Nevada Democrat said he’s discussed candidates for the job with President-elect Barack Obama, but in an interview he declined to reveal any names.

Under an Obama administration, the nuclear waste dump plan is “gone,” Reid said.The Energy Department wants to store 77,000 tons of highly radioactive waste 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Obama opposed the plan while running for president and during visits to Nevada.

EPA sets Yucca radiation standards

EPA sets Yucca radiation standards

Reid, Matheson call ‘lowered’ number risky

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday it has established final radiation standards for the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The standards are intended to protect human health and the environment for 1 million years.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the “lowered” radiation standard will instead put people at risk.

“In other words, the (EPA) agency decided just how much radiation you and I can live with,” Reid said. “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.”

Last June the Department of Energy submitted an 8,600-page license application to build the dump 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas at the edge of DOE’s Nevada Test Site. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will include EPA’s new standards in its licensing regulations. Congress directed the EPA to develop the standards.

The new EPA standards set per-year limits on millirem doses of radiation (15 millirem) for the first 10,000 years after disposal and 100 millirem for up to 1 million years after that on allowable annual radiation exposure at the dump site. Fifteen millirem is the amount of radiation from a typical X-ray.

On average human beings are exposed to about 360 millirem per year from naturally occurring and man-made sources, the EPA noted in a statement. Invisible, odorless radon gas in homes, ultraviolet radiation from the sun and medical X-rays are a few sources.

The final standards also require the Department of Energy “to consider the effects of climate change, earthquakes, volcanoes and corrosion of the waste packages to safely contain the waste during the 1 million year period.”

Utah Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, also called the standard weak.

“Shoddy science has been used to move the flawed choice of Yucca Mountain forward … and the latest action by the EPA is more of the same,” Matheson said in a statement. “That is why I oppose Yucca Mountain and have proposed a plan to store the nuclear waste on site where it is produced.”

The EPA added how its standards will be “consistent with the recommendations of the NAS (National Academy of Sciences) by establishing a radiological protection standard for this facility at the time of peak does up to 1 million years after disposal.”

The waste site would be located in Yucca Mountain, 1,000 feet below the top of the mountain and 1,000 feet above ground water.

The EPA has noted that the repository would be located over a “large, deep source of fresh water currently used as agricultural and drinking water. This water feeds a larger groundwater basin south of the site that has the potential to supply many people in the surrounding area.”

If approved, the site would be the country’s first geologic repository for disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Thousands of tons of nuclear waste from around the country, some transported through Utah, would be dumped at the Nye County site. About 1,400 people live within 20 miles of the site.

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons has said he will continue to try stopping the Yucca Mountain site from being built, and Reid also has been a vocal opponent. Last June Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said the application to build the site will “stand up to any challenge anywhere.”

The site at one time had been proposed for opening in 1998, but legal, political and scientific controversies have pushed the new estimated operational date to at least 2020. The lifetime cost of maintaining the site is estimated in the tens of billions of dollars, while earlier this year Congress approved spending nearly $390 million on the project. In 1978 the DOE began looking at Yucca Mountain as a possible nuclear waste dump.

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Reid Delivers Millions to Nevada Projects, Cuts Millions from Yucca

Reid Delivers Millions to Nevada Projects, Cuts Millions from Yucca

September 27, 2008

Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid today commended the passage of a package of bills that funds the federal government and important Nevada projects, while also cutting millions from the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.

“I am pleased the Senate passed these important funding bills,” said Reid. “By working in a bipartisan fashion, we were able to pass legislation that funds the federal government, delivers millions of dollars to important Nevada projects, and also cuts more than $100 million from the President’s budget for Yucca Mountain.”

The Continuing Resolution passed today will fund the federal government through March 2009.  Funding for Yucca Mountain was frozen at fiscal year 2008 levels, $386.451 million, a cut of more than $108 million below the President’s request level for fiscal year 2009.  The continued resolution only provides funding through March 6, 2009, when Congress will need to revisit the funding for the agency and determine the budget for the rest of the fiscal year.

The Defense Appropriations bill, passed in this package, contains more than $82 million for military and defense projects at Nevada’s military bases, universities and in the state’s private sector. More than $160 million was included in the Military Construction bill for operations, improvements, and construction of Nevada military facilities. In addition to the above funding for military projects and facilities, Reid secured $102 million in the Homeland Security bill for the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium which includes the Nevada Test Site. The test site will receive $23 million of the funding to continue its vital research of new security measures and operations.

Reid, Ensign say state won’t surrender fight against nuclear repository

Reid, Ensign say state won’t surrender fight against nuclear repository

WASHINGTON — No matter what happens with the embattled director of Nevada’s nuclear waste agency, the state will never give up its fight against Yucca Mountain, Nevada’s senators said today.

Despite progress the Department of Energy has made to move the proposed nuclear waste repository toward construction, Democratic Sen. Harry Reid and Republican Sen. John Ensign insisted the project still is more dead than alive.

In a telephone call with reporters, they moved to nip in the bud any thoughts that Nevada should abandon its opposition and seek benefits from the federal government for hosting the site.

“There will be no deal cut,” Reid said. “You cannot deal with the devil and that is what Yucca Mountain is.”

Reid: Yucca Mountain dump site has history of seismic activity

Reid: Yucca Mountain dump site has history of seismic activity

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Updated: var wn_last_ed_date = getLEDate(“Jul 30, 2008 5:09 PM EST”); document.write(wn_last_ed_date);July 30, 2008 03:09 PM

Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke today about the potential for grave consequences at Yucca Mountain if an earthquake ever struck in the area of the proposed nuclear dump site.

In light of yesterday’s California earthquake felt in southern Nevada, Reid highlighted the fact that the Yucca Mountain site has a history of major seismic activity, increasing the already serious risk of a deadly radioactive release from containers not proven to be safe.

Reid also noted that the Department of Energy still has no emergency response plan in place for Yucca Mountain, which could prove tragic if an earthquake occurred.

He said this is another reason why the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should not docket for review the DOE’s proposal.