Nevada official believes state in good position to fight Yucca Mountain |

Nevada official believes state in good position to fight Yucca Mountain

This April 9, 2015, file photo shows the south portal of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump near Mercury, Nev.

Consultant Marta Adams told the Board of Examiners on Wednesday the state is in good shape to fight the plan to restart the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump project.

“We’ve been preparing all along for the eventuality of a restart,” said Adams, who was the senior deputy attorney general in charge of battling Yucca Mountain from 1998 until her retirement two years ago.

She said unfortunately, “some of the legislation pending would short circuit Nevada’s ability to present our case before the (Nuclear Regulatory Commission).” She said supporters of the project continue to try to make an “end run” on the state’s ability to stop the project but under existing law, Nevada’s case against Yucca Mountain is strong.

She pointed to concern about the original version of a bill by Illinois House Republican John Shimkus because it “was a clear attempt to circumvent the state engineer’s authority,” barring Nevada from raising water issues during hearings on the dump project. She said other western states raised questions about what those changes would do to water law on their turf.

She said, however, the decision to raise the total amount of waste the dump could hold from 70,000 tons to 110,000 tons is “not appropriate on any level.”

“It simply cannot accommodate that,” she said.

Gov. Brian Sandoval called the Yucca Mountain project, which has cost billions, “a disgusting waste of money on the part of the federal government.”

He said it is “a porous volcano that sits on an earthquake fault.”

Adams said a bill sponsored by Sen . Dean Heller, R-Nev., calls for a consent-based process that would allow states like Nevada to say no to a nuclear waste dump.

“We believe we are as ready as we could possibly be,” she said.

The discussion came as the Board of Examiners approved a $150,000 addition to the contract with Adams Natural Resources Consulting, raising the funding to battle Yucca Mountain to a total of $450,000 this next fiscal year.