Of course they don't want it

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Now that Nevada's battle against nuclear-waste storage at Yucca Mountain has hit the big time, it's fascinating to see some national perspective on the issue.

The Wall Street Journal, for example, on Tuesday had this to say in reaction to Gov. Kenny Guinn's veto of President Bush's decision to proceed with the Yucca project:

"Now we'll find out if a single state and a few partisan senators can trump the national interest and doom any future for nuclear power."

The Journal takes a decidedly political view of the controversy and apparently accepts at face value anything said by the Department of Energy or nuclear power industry, which we know are very close to one and the same.

Take this example: "For 20 years ratepayers have poured $16 billion into a fund to build a national repository; $8 billion has gone just for studying sites."

The statement would be true, except for that final "s." The government has studied only one site: Yucca Mountain.

Here's another example: "The place has been tested for volcanos, earthquakes and climate. Even discounting for government work, that's not bad."

True again. Except for what's not said. Anyone who has seen the studies on volcanos, earthquakes and climate knows that Yucca Mountain is among the worst places in the country for two out of three.

One more example: "This (environmental) crowd has now thrown in with the Las Vegas gambling lobby and other big-money worthies fighting against Yucca."

Yes, the gambling lobby has big money. But Nevada residents, whom we expect to be much better-read on the Yucca Mountain issue than Wall Street Journal editorial writers, know the nuclear power industry is outspending anti-Yucca forces by roughly 3-1.

When the rhetoric is set aside, two things become clear:

-- Yucca Mountain is technically a poor place to store nuclear waste.

-- Residents of the 39 states where nuclear waste is actually created are only too ready to have their garbage shipped to Nevada.


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