Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak restates opposition to Yucca Mountain restart plan | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak restates opposition to Yucca Mountain restart plan

People leave the south portal of Yucca Mountain during a congressional tour on July 14, 2018, near Mercury.
John Locher/AP | AP

In a sharply worded letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Gov. Steve Sisolak has again stated his and Nevada’s complete opposition to any plans to restart the licensing of Yucca Mountain.

“My position and that of the state of Nevada remains identical to the position of Nevada’s past five governments,” the letter says. “I am totally opposed to any legislative effort to restart the Yucca Mountain project.”

He said this latest piece of legislation, “would seriously weaken Nevada’s current due process rights to challenge documented safety concerns and adverse environmental impacts in the legally-mandated licensing proceeding.”

The result, he said, will be to waste billions of additional ratepayer and taxpayer dollars in an attempt to, “force an unsafe site on an unwilling state.”

“The proposed legislation only exacerbates the erosion of trust and confidence caused by the federal government’s recent secret shipments of weapons-grade plutonium into our state,” Sisolak wrote.

He said he intends to keep his promise to Nevadans not one ounce of nuclear waste will be delivered to Yucca Mountain while he’s governor.

The letter was sent to committee Chairman Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, and Ranking member Greg Walden, R-Oregon, ahead of Thursday’s Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change.

In written testimony prepared for that hearing, Bob Halstead, director of Nevada’s Agency for Nuclear Projects, reiterated Nevada’s long standing conclusion Yucca Mountain is unsuitable because of its geology and hydrology, its proximity to military aircraft training and testing (Nellis Air Force Base) and its distance from existing railroads.

“The proposed repository emplacement drifts would be located in fractured rock above the water table and would inevitably leak dangerous radionuclides into the groundwater where they would be transported to an aquifer,” Halstead wrote.

He said that aquifer provides water for drinking, agriculture, food processing and Native American religious ceremonies.

Halstead also charged the proposed legislation, “fails to honestly address the cost of Yucca Mountain.” He said Nevada’s estimate for future costs of the dump are “at least $100 billion in 2019 dollars.”