NRC schedules meeting on possible Yucca Mountain Waste Repository

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has scheduled a meeting with local citizens May 24 in Mesquite, Nevada, to provide an overview of its activities related to the possible future high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

May 11, 2001—The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has scheduled a meeting with local citizens May 24 in Mesquite, Nevada, to provide an overview of its activities related to the possible future high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

The meeting will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Mesquite City Hall. NRC representatives will discuss the agency's independent oversight function and its role in regulating the transportation of high-level waste. They will also be available to answer questions.

In 1987, Congress passed a law naming Yucca Mountain as the nation's only high-level nuclear waste storage site. The site would receive both nuclear power plants and defense waste.

Stormwater flowing down Yucca Mountain has been a point of concern recently for Las Vegas residents, according to a report from the Las Vegas Sun newspaper.

Despite the concerns, no proof has yet been found of any radioactive contamination off the site, DOE said.

The struggle between proponents and opponents of the Yucca Mountain plan is intensifying as the rise in natural gas prices makes nuclear power a more attractive choice for new generation. The fact that the Bush administration is behind nuclear power as a long-term energy source means that the country will need a permanent nuclear waste dump, Vice President Dick Cheney said Tuesday in an interview with CNN news. .

A U.S. Geological Survey study showed flash flooding in the area which includes Yucca Mountain and the Test Site could close highways and interfere with above-ground repository work. The report said during flash flooding the normally underground Amargosa river could flow above ground, possibly causing stormwater to travel as far as Death Valley in California.

The report was bases on analysis of stormwater data during two large storms in 1995 and 1998.

An environmental impact study will look at USGS' stormwater observations. In the meantime, the comment period for DOE's draft proposal on the repository site has been extended to June 15.

To avoid heavy stormwater runoff, the DOE said it will build facilities away from flood-prone areas and divert runoff into constructed channels. DOE said it will release a final environmental impact study at the end of 2001.

To see a copy of the DOE's Yucca Mountain reports, visit http://www.ymp.gov.

For more information on the issue, visit www.lasvegassun.com.

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