Bryan warns Senate nuclear waste legislation would weaken health standards
WASHINGTON – The nuclear waste bill being considered by the Senate would seriously endanger public health and safety by weakening health and safety standards, Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., said.
“Unbelievably the nuclear power industry has been able to convince some of its friends in the Senate to accept a much lower public health and safety standard than is now permitted by law,” said Bryan. “Of course, those in Congress and the nuclear power industry, who are hell-bent to move high-level nuclear waste to Nevada, are not concerned with the potentially devastating impact a lower standard could have on the health and safety of Nevadans.”
He said the Environmental Protection Agency has issued a standard that is more than twice as strong as the proposed Nuclear Regulatory Commission standard included in the legislation now before the Senate. He said the nuclear power industry wants the lower standards and that the bill’s proposal to take EPA out of the process shows a blatant disregard for the health and safety of Nevada residents.
“For the industry and its supporters, the EPA is nothing more than an impediment to their ultimate plan to ship huge quantities of high level nuclear waste to Nevada, no matter what the cost is to the public’s health,” Bryan said.
He predicted the effort would prove futile. He said the bill designed to bring nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain faster as well as to permit public exposure to higher levels of radioactive contamination both in groundwater near the dump site and in transporting waste across the country to the site.