Solving the problem of nuclear waste

This threat should disqualify the site, especially when combined with the fact that Southwestern water resources will be polluted with radiation as waste canisters at Yucca Mountain disintegrate over time.

Americans all across the country would also be threatened by the dangers of transporting nuclear waste to the Yucca dump. This action would leave us one accident away from a disaster that could cause catastrophic damage and leave major population centers uninhabitable.

And we would run this risk as part of an effort that does nothing to eliminate spent fuel rods from cooling ponds at America’s operating nuclear plants.

The Department of Energy says it would take at least four decades to move spent fuel located at more than 100 sites nationwide to Yucca Mountain. And during that time, those nuclear reactors would not stop churning out nuclear waste.

At the end of 40 years, there would be more waste in cooling ponds than there is today.

While the Yucca dump is unworkable and unsafe, there remains an affordable, practical solution for securing waste stockpiles now. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has certified that spent nuclear fuel can be isolated safely in dry-cask storage for the next 100 years. 

This proven technology represents the fastest and safest means of solving the problem of nuclear waste in cooling ponds. The cost of such a move would be a fraction of Yucca Mountain’s price and would help avoid shipping waste through thousands of American towns, only to be stored in an earthquake zone.

I invite Members of Congress interested in the safety of nuclear waste to join me in pushing for the immediate use of dry-cask storage. Such a move will help address the need to secure waste now and will provide our nation with an opportunity to find a true alternative to burying nuclear garbage 90 minutes from Las Vegas where it will remain dangerous for the next one million years.