Nevada officials expressed anger but little surprise over Wednesday's admission that a U.S. Geological Survey employee apparently falsified documentation about environmental safety studies at Yucca Mountain.
"I am both disappointed and outraged by this development but hardly surprised," Gov. Kenny Guinn said.
The federal Department of Energy has admitted the data being questioned involves computer modeling for water infiltration through the mountain. That issue is critical because water flow through the mountain could corrode storage containers and then carry radioactive waste into the water table just 75 miles north of Las Vegas.
The reaction from Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., was similar.
"Unfortunately, I am not surprised to learn that reports regarding the safety of Yucca Mountain may have been falsified or fabricated," he said.
He said the allegations "are extremely serious and should halt the licensing process in its tracks" while all documentation and scientific studies related to the nuclear dump project are re-evaluated.
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the admission "proves once again that DOE must cheat and lie in order to make Yucca Mountain look safe."
"We aren't just talking about false documentation on paper," he said. "This is about the health and safety of Nevadans and the American people."
He said he and Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., are working on legislation now to allow waste to be stored on-site at nuclear facilities and predicts that the dump will never be built.
And he expressed disappointment that President Bush continues to push the project.
n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at email@example.com or 687-8750.