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COMMENTARY: Science and engineering versus NIMBY politics

In regard to the reaction by Nevada politicians to the Department of Energy’s shipment of plutonium to Nevada: Why does the Nevada political establishment continue to ignore that 85 percent of the state land mass is desert owned by the federal government, e.g. all U.S. citizens? This is for strategic reasons and the national security of America. Nevada has had a long history of this service to our country.

Gov. Steve Sisolak said he is “beyond outraged by this completely unacceptable deception.” But the state’s opposition to this and its opposition to Yucca Mountain are based on Gov. Sisolak’s politics rather than the actual science and engineering conducted by the DOE.

None of the Nevada representatives has toured the Idaho National Laboratory for an education about our nation’s nuclear technology. The best security has always been unannounced, unmarked movement. Many touring concerts employ such tactics.

The comments from the governor and the statements from other state representatives are based on opinion rather than research. If Rep. Dina Titus and Sen. Jacky Rosen want to deem this and the Yucca Mountain program unethical, they should legally recognize the facts. The Obama administration halted the Yucca program and obstructed a law passed by Congress, but the Obama stoppage of Yucca was overruled by the courts. That’s a fact. All occasions of Nevada’s legal challenges to the Yucca Mountain law have also been overturned by the courts.

The Yucca program was never developed to serve Nevada politics. It was developed to serve all of America and the Nevada public.

The truth is the citizens have been misled for more than 35 years about the project’s science and engineering stability. Some 80 percent of the science and engineering community accept that the Yucca facility as designed is safe and sustainable long-term. Most also believe that reprocessing technology eventually will resolve 96 percent of the spent nuclear fuel.

Will there ever be a chance that Nevada’s political representatives might be educated about nuclear technology?

Gary J. Duarte is director of the U.S. Nuclear Energy Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing accurate information on nuclear energy.

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