Yucca Mountain on the national stage
Playing the Yucca Mountain card on a national stage, as Sen. Harry Reid did Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention, seems like a bit of a risk.
After all, most people in the country would just as soon see nuclear waste dumped in Nevada rather than their home states.
Nevadans’ attempts to make it a national issue – shipping the radioactive material across country will expose more people to potential risk than leaving it where it is, one argument goes – haven’t exactly excited the masses, either.
Placing a Yucca Mountain plank in the national platform does, however, illustrate just how important Nevada ranks as a battleground stake in the Nov. 2 presidential election.
The risk nationally is small, because few people around the country will decide between John Kerry and George Bush on a single issue that mainly involves a faraway state. In Nevada, though, it makes a clear distinction between the candidates that may well tilt the scales.
So there you have it. Bush gave the green light to nuclear-waste storage; Kerry won’t let it proceed.
Except that, like most of the issues out there, what Nevadans and fellow Americans really want to know is: What’s your solution?
We don’t want nuclear waste in Nevada any more than anybody else. We know it took a political whipping for Nevada to be designated the one and only site to be studied. We know the rules of “sound science” changed in the middle of the game.
But nobody has proposed an alternative solution, including Kerry. Nobody is even studying one. Where would the billions of dollars collected for nuclear-waste disposal be spent?
It isn’t enough to swing a little temporary political clout to get it “killed” temporarily. We still need a better idea.