Letter: hazardous waste at Yucca Mtn. | NevadaAppeal.com

Letter: hazardous waste at Yucca Mtn.

by S. Swafford

An open letter to Sen. Frank Murkowski of Alaska to critique a portion of his presentation to Congress on March 5, 1999, regarding his bill S1287.

You mentioned that the National Academy of Sciences suggested that Congress should be the decision-maker to determine the level of radiation exposure standards for Yucca Mountain, and you also refer to the safety record of past nuclear shipments. Last week in Missouri, a truck loaded with chemicals was involved in a serious accident. You might try reading “Hazardous Materials on the Rails.” The teamsters union received a special grant to do this report that described in detail the chemical accidents that occurred in 1997. Then tell me again how safe it is to ship nuclear hazardous waste through 43 states to Nevada.

In the event of an accident, sir, do you realize the potential release of radiation, how harmful that would be to the health of the public? Bear in mind that the smallest amount of radiation can destroy reproductive cells of both male and female and can cause serious diseases in future generations. “Non fatal radiation injuries are especially hazardous because, within a period of years, a single cell injured in this way has the potential to initiate cancer or a leukemia,” as seen in the publication “Poisoned Power” by Drs. John W. Gofman and Arthur R. Tamplin.

Senator, are you aware that Pahute Mesa was the scene of a number of atomic bomb tests, and that the Department of Energy is now concerned that contamination of ground water is moving slowly off site?

Senator Murkowski, the question and answer repertoire between yourself and Senator Sessions during your presentation to Congress was well rehearsed and is at least deserving of a Yucca Mountain Academy Award.

SHIRLEY SWAFFORD

Carson City