Nuclear waste dump foes try to gather support from California cities

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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Opponents of a proposed nuclear waste dump are trying to gather support from communities in California and 44 other states in the path of trucks and trains hauling radioactive materials to the site.

Under one scenario, up to 300 loads of waste from California's Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant would be hauled by train through San Jose to the proposed Yucca Mountain waste site.

Other possibilities would mean hundreds of trucks traveling on Interstate 5 from Southern California. The shipments, encased in hardened steel, lead-lined casks, could begin as early as 2010.

Nevada officials and casino owners are spending more than $5 million on a national lobbying campaign warning of the risks of radiation poisoning and cancer.

In California, there are four nuclear reactor sites where waste would be removed: Diablo Canyon near San Luis Obispo, San Onofre near San Clemente, and two shut-down locations -- Humboldt Bay near Eureka and Rancho Seco near Sacramento.

"I would be very concerned if the waste passed through urban areas like ours," said Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, who said he hasn't decided how to vote on the dump. "When something is moving like that, it's vulnerable to terrorists."

But supporters say the campaign is designed to create needless fear.

After nearly 20 years of debate, Bush approved the Yucca Mountain site last week. A press officer for Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn said the state intends to object by the April 16 deadline. Congress then has 90 days to consider the issue.


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