LAS VEGAS — A frustrated congressional representative is asking for more disclosure about a plan to route nuclear waste through Las Vegas.
Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., sent a letter Tuesday to the head of the federal Department of Energy asking to discuss a plan to ship 403 canisters of bomb-grade nuclear waste through her home state.
The Las Vegas Sun reported that she berated the department for failing to provide Congress with adequate information about the plan to ship the canisters from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to a Nevada National Security Site.
“Your department has yet to schedule or conduct this briefing, and has provided no explanation for the delay or any rationale for denying a member of Congress the ability to effectively conduct oversight activities,” she wrote. “If you are unwilling to provide the briefing or information, I respectfully request that you provide the legal basis for continuing to withhold this information from Congress.”
Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval wrote a similarly scolding letter to the department in June, saying he didn’t want highly radioactive waste of the type that could be used to build a “dirty bomb” buried in a shallow pit at the former national nuclear proving ground north of Las Vegas.
Department spokeswoman Lindsey Geisler said in a statement that the department is committed to the safe and secure transport and disposal of nuclear waste material.
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid has backed Sandoval in his request for more information.
Nevada and its federal elected officials have fought for more than 30 years to block federal plans to ship highly radioactive waste currently piling up at nuclear power plants around the country to Yucca Mountain, an ancient volcanic ridge adjacent to the nuclear test site some 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. That proposal has been mothballed.
The plan to bury radioactive material collected during a cleanup of the Oak Ridge facility, called the Consolidated Edison Uranium Solidification Project, is separate from the Yucca project.