Rural Nevada county rethinking acceptance of nuke waste |

Rural Nevada county rethinking acceptance of nuke waste

Associated Press

PIOCHE, Nev. – The Lincoln County Commission may be rethinking its 1995 position that invites the federal government to bring nuclear waste to Nevada.

The commission on Wednesday named a five-member committee to take a new look at the issue and report back by May 5. The panel is headed by the commission chairman, Paul Donohue.

At their last meeting, commissioners got a petition from the Citizens Nuclear Information Committee, suggesting that Lincoln County oppose any waste being shipped to Nevada.

Kristin Thomas, a member of the information committee, said Lincoln County – due north of Clark County – should join the rest of Nevada in opposing a high-level nuclear dumpsite at Yucca Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

County Clerk Corrine Hogan said the current commissioners, none of whom served in 1995, want to take a deeper look at safety concerns and other issues involving transportation of nuclear waste.

The Donohue committee will draft its own resolution and attempt to have it ready by April 25 for the Caliente City-Lincoln County Impact Alleviation Committee. The issue would then come back to the Lincoln County Commission next month.

But commissioners stressed they didn’t want to rush the Donohue committee in making its recommendations.

In 1995 the commissioners and the Caliente City Council passed a joint resolution asking that the federal Department of Energy ship any spent nuclear fuel through Nevada on rail and that a transfer station be located in Lincoln County so waste could be loaded onto trucks headed for the Nevada Test Site.

The resolution called for the federal government to pay $1 million a year to Lincoln County before the first shipment, then $2 million annually when the shipments began. It asked for a $100 million trust fund to cover future costs.

The Nevada Legislature had previously passed a law outlawing the shipment of nuclear waste in Nevada.

After Lincoln County’s action in February 1995, Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa filed suit against those who had approved the resolution. She initially sought removal from office of those who backed the plan, but nobody was ever recalled.