I’ve been going on for some time now about the nuclear industry, the possibility of more nuclear power stations going online, and especially what to do with radioactive waste that’s been piling up for 50 years.
The answer to the waste situation was supposed to have been Yucca Mountain, a remote natural structure some 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. Since it’s inception nearly 25 years ago, Nevadans have fought creation of a long-term storage facility in their back yard.
I wanted to know more about Nevada’s opposition to the Yucca Mountain project, so I picked up the phone and talked with Robert Loux, Executive Director of the Agency for Nuclear Projects in Nevada. He’s been going head-to-head with the DOE and other agencies for a long time, and has some interesting things to say about the project and the DOE.
As you know, Department of Energy officials have announced layoffs at the unfinished facility, and it appears Yucca Mountain may not fulfill it’s promise as a high-level nuclear waste repository. That told me Nevada’s been pretty successful in its fight against the government, and I felt it was time to learn more.
The interview was long, and has been separated into three segments, each covering a specific area of Nevada’s concerns about the project.
In the 1st, Loux explains his office and it’s responsibilities, then tells why the state is so critical of the DOE and it’s practices.
The 2nd interview concerns the regulatory process, and he talks about the mountain’s unsuitability due to earthquake faults, the threat of young volcanoes, and that water and air move freely through the structure.
In the 3rd segment, Loux addresses transportation issues connected with Yucca Mountain and why, at this point, there is no hope of getting large amounts of spent fuel to the facility in the next ten years, if ever.
A 4th segment is yet to be announced. I have calls in to the Department of Energy, and to Nevada Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), author of a bill awaiting action that would put a dagger through the heart of Yucca Mountain and make nuclear facilities responsible for their own waste products.
So we start with Mr. Loux introducing himself and the responsibilities of his agency.
Here is a link to the State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects.
A link to the Government Accounting Office information mentioned in today’s interview.