ELKO, Nev. (AP) - Elko County has joined a half dozen other rural Nevada counties that are not ready to close the door on jump-starting proposals to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain 90 miles north of Las Vegas.
County commissioners approved a resolution Wednesday to reopen discussions about the nuclear-waste repository long opposed by Nevada’s governor and congressional delegation.
Nye County Commissioner Dan Schinhofin told the panel his county believes Yucca Mountain is a safe place to store the radioactive waste. He encouraged them to consider the economic benefits such an operation could bring to the state.
The resolution urges the relicensing process move forward with a detailed review of the application, according to the Elko Daily Free Press (https://tinyurl.com/pkg9pef ). White Pine, Churchill, Esmeralda, Mineral, Lander and Lincoln counties have supported similar resolutions in the past.
Commission Chairman Charlie Myers says it doesn’t mean they back the plan, only that they are open to hearing the scientific evidence.
“At some point in time, we’re probably going to be asked to take a position,” Myers said. “And how in the world can we take a position if we don’t have the information to make a good decision?”
Commissioners said they wanted to be clear that their willingness to listen shouldn’t be construed as contrary to the position of Gov. Brian Sandoval and others opposed to Yucca Mountain.
When asked to reconsider the state’s opposition in August 2012, the governor reiterated the extensive bipartisan unity on the matter in a letter to the legislative committee on high-level radioactive waste.
“Studies by the State of Nevada and others over the past three decades have shown that Yucca Mountain is an unsafe place for disposing of dangerous spent nuclear fuel and other highly radioactive wastes because the site is incapable of isolating the waste from people and the environment for the extremely long time period necessary,” he wrote.
Commissioner Jeff Williams said dumping nuclear waste in one’s backyard is not an “appetizing” idea, but he said the state should allow all information to be scrutinized.
Information from: Elko Daily Free Press, https://www.elkodaily.com
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