Energy Department loses credibility

For the past year I have been concerned that the Department of Energy was paying lip service in determining the feasibility of storing high level nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. I have continually argued at public hearings on the environmental impact statement (EIS) that there were two major issues.

The computer simulation was and still is very suspect. Anyone skilled in simulation knows that it is easy to achieve the result desired by small variations in parameters. This is especially true when the time period is over 100,000 years. Supporters of the DOE and the process continued to state that the contributors to the EIS were very credible and honest scientist who were only interested in determining by scientific evidence that Yucca Mountain was a safe site.

We now know from a memo that accidentally was uncovered that the nuclear power lobby was involved. The EIS is really nothing but a cover for a decision that was already made by the upper echelon and the political majority in the Congress who want the high level nuclear waste out of their state.

The second concern I raised at the public hearings was impact of transporting the high level waste across the entire United States. I was primarily concerned about terrorist attacks against the vehicles transporting the waste. DOE had done a cursory study and did not study weapons that were used in Desert Storm. These tank-busting weapons will penetrate any container that can be transported on our highways. They never used the local wind conditions in the study of the impact of the release of high level nuclear waste if a transportation cask was penetrated.

The DOE in concert with the nuclear power lobby is now trying to circumvent the deficiency of the transportation section of the EIS. The nuclear power industry is pushing to temporally store the high nuclear waste above ground in containers.

There is no reason why the high level nuclear waste cannot remain at the site of origin. Above ground storage can be achieved at each site and protected by use of high walls. This approach eliminates the dangerous policy of transporting the high level nuclear waste where the danger has not been quantified.

The recent actions by the DOE clearly indicate to me the lack of credibility of DOE, and I say to all: The nuclear power industry cares less about people, only the bottom line of their financial statement.

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