Critical Yucca Mountain Action
Contact: Kalynda Tilges, Citizen Alert, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2002
President Bush has approved Yucca Mountain for highly radioactive
Senate Poised To Vote On Yucca Mt. Project
Once the veto is sent to Congress the project is dead unless both
houses vote to override the veto by simple majority. Congress has 90
days after the veto is issued to vote on a "resolution of repository
siting approval," which represents the veto override vote.
Congressional resolution on the Yucca Mountain Project is expected by
the end of July.
Before any vote we need to get as many senators in congress to vote
with Nevada against the "resolution of repository siting approval."
This is a crucial time to become activists to defeat the Yucca
Mountain Project in congress. It is vital that we support our
elected officials and contact people outside of Nevada. We are in a
good position to stop the project. The facts speak for themselves,
and the case against Yucca Mountain is strong.
Our best chance to defeat the Yucca Mountain Project is in the
Senate, primarily by raising awareness on the transportation of the
waste, because Yucca Mountain is in everybody's back yard. Inside
you will find a national transportation map and a contact list of
senators by state. Please contact everyone you know outside of
Nevada. Have them contact their senators and tell them to uphold
Nevada's veto. The Yucca Mt. Project is not safe, for Nevada or the
Nation. Those senators need to hear from their own constituents to
vote against the "resolution of repository siting approval."
Specifically, what you can do:
(1) Send letters of support to our elected officials in opposition
to the project. (see sample letters)
(2) Convince people in other states to tell their senators to uphold
Ideal timeline for action item (2):
Now: make a list of people and their phone numbers you know who do
not live in Nevada; this will be your potential calling/writing list.
Now to June 15- send out letters to your lists with an introductory
note indicating why you have sent the letter, a copy of the
transportation map, the Yucca Mountain facts on the back page, and
the information on their senators.
June 15 to June 30-call your lists to make sure the information
made it and see if they have contacted their senators. If long
distance calls are a hardship feel free to set up a time to use
Citizen Alert phones.
TOLL FREE NUMBER TO CONTACT SENATORS! 1.888.554.9256
This number will connect you to someone who will then patch you
through to the appropriate senator.
Feel free to use the fact sheet included here. A detailed
transportation map is available for viewing and download at
Citizen Alert if you need more of anything.
Las Vegas, NV 89114
Voice: 702.796.5662 Fax: 702.796.4886
Sample letter to Nevada Congressional Delegation
Thank you for all your work opposing the Yucca Mountain Project. I
know it is a difficult battle in Washington DC with many other
senators who apparently want nuclear waste to come our state. I
think a lot of people outside Nevada don't know how this project will
impact them, so many of your colleagues may be voting without all the
facts or think that Yucca Mountain will solve our radioactive waste
problem. We know Yucca Mountain is not safe and transporting the
waste needlessly subjects people across America to potential
radiation exposure. I encourage you to do all you can to inform your
colleagues and use your best skills in DC to put an end to this
dangerous project. I am one of the majority of Nevadans who support
your efforts to shut down the Yucca Mountain Project.
Sample letter for someone writing to their congressional delegation
outside of Nevada
I am writing to ask you to support Nevada Senator Harry Reid in
upholding Nevada's veto of Yucca Mountain as a federal repository for
high-level nuclear waste. It is my understanding that Yucca Mountain
is not a safe place for nuclear waste. I know the Department of
Energy (DOE) has recommended Yucca Mountain, but I do not believe all
of the bases are covered. It would not be the first time an agency
of the federal government proposed something that isn't right. The
"60 Minutes" report dated March 17, 2002 revealed the inability of
the DOE to properly manage its own weapons production sites.
As you can see from this map, there will be waste coming through our
state for many years at a much greater rate than has ever been
transported before. Apparently, these transportation containers will
be leaking radiation as they move through our state; I don't like
that much. We are unprepared for a serious accident here. According
to the DOE there will be thousands of these shipments over 20 to 30
years, which seems like a big terrorist threat. How can we possibly
guard these shipments from attack? Further, I understand that the
waste can be stored safely where it is made with no additional risk.
[If you live in one of the following states; OR, UT, WY, IN, OK, KY,
WV please add this sentence: We don't even make any of the waste
here, why should we be exposed to the risks of transporting this
Please vote against the "resolution of repository siting approval" on
Yucca Mountain as a national nuclear waste repository.
Complete list of Senators and their contact information.
YUCCA MOUNTAIN: NOT SAFE FOR NUCLEAR WASTE
Yucca Mountain is 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas Nevada, the fastest
growing city in the nation. Twelve miles from the proposed
repository is a community that contains the state's largest dairy
farm, which provides milk to over 30 million people in the
southwestern U.S. Overwhelmingly, Nevadans reject a nuclear dump at
Yucca Mt., and people nationwide are concerned over the possibility
of nuclear waste being transported through their communities.
Congress should vote NO on the resolution to make Yucca Mountain the
nation's first high-level nuclear dump.
THE PROPOSAL: 1) transport 77,000 tons of highly radioactive waste
(about 11 billion curies)1 from commercial and military sites through
43 states to Yucca Mt. Nevada. 2) once at Yucca Mt., the waste will
be transferred into disposal casks and loaded into a facility less
than 500 ft. above a pristine aquifer, the lifeblood of many desert
communities (including the dairy farm). By law, the repository is
required to isolate the radioactivity for 10,000 years.
POLITICS OVER SCIENCE: Serious shortcomings of the site have been
found. To avoid disqualification of Yucca Mt.:
- EPA had to write Yucca Mt. specific standards, since the
radioactive carbon-14 releases from the repository would exceed the
existing EPA standards
- DOE had to rewrite its rules (site suitability guidelines)
because the estimated groundwater travel time from Yucca Mt.
was fast enough to be a disqualifying condition in the original rules.
Even with the above changes the DOE's repository performance analysis
has been called into question:
- In a Sept. 18, 2001 letter, from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's
(NRC) Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste to NRC chairman Meserve
concluded that the DOE models did not provide a basis for estimating
- On Jan. 24, 2002, the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (NWTRB)
stated: "... the Board's view is that the technical basis for the
DOE's repository performance estimate is weak to moderate at this
INTRINSIC PROBLEMS WITH YUCCA MT. AS A REPOSITORY:
- Yucca Mt. is in a volcanic area, where an eruption could cause
catastrophic release of radioactivity.
- The region is a class 4 earthquake zone, second only to California
and Alaska in seismic activity.
- Water will infiltrate the repository and can move radioactivity to
drinking water in 100 to 500 years.3
- Yucca Mt. is estimated to provide only about 0.3% containment of the
waste over the 10,000 years, the other 95% will be by the disposal
casks; contrary to the NWPA's intent that the site is to provide
- The geochemical environment of the site is oxidizing, and will
corrode the metal containers.
- 50 million people live within one-half mile of the transportation
routes for the estimated 53,000 truck shipments or the 10,700 mostly
rail shipments.2 About 35 times more waste would be shipped each
year than has ever previously been transported.3
- People near transportation corridors will receive regular radiation
exposures - from 6 to 960 millirem1 annually depending on distance
from the routes and number of shipments.2, 3
- There will be dozens to hundreds of accidents. A severe accident in
an urban area would cause latent cancer fatalities - 312 or 356-4323
and cost $63-108 billion.3
- Consequences of a successful terrorist attack in an urban area:
latent cancer fatalities - 152 or 6-1653; and cost - $13.5 to 20.9
- People near transportation corridors should expect a reduction in
CURRENT STATUS: On February 15, 2002 President Bush submitted
DOE's Yucca Mt. recommendation to Congress. Nevada vetoed the
decision. If Congress overrides Nevada's veto, the DOE would be
required to file a license application for the repository with the
NRC within 90 days, even though a December 2001 GAO report stated
that the DOE would not be ready to submit a site recommendation until
2006. The House just overturned the veto, the Senate is expected to
vote by the first week in July.
ALTERNATIVE TO YUCCA MT.: Yucca Mt. provides no solution to the
problem of nuclear waste since there will always be spent fuel in the
cooling pools as long as the plants operate. Improved on-site
facilities can be built, which the NRC says would be safe for
decades. The DOE has offered to pay for these on-site facilities out
of the Nuclear Waste Fund, but the utilities companies have not
accepted this proposal.
1 one curie = 37 billion radioactive emissions per second; for
comparison, Three Mile Island released about 5 curies and Chernobyl
is estimated at 80 million curies. 10 millirem exposure is roughly
equivalent to one chest x-ray.
2 Department of Energy, Final Environmental Impact Statement,
3 State of Nevada independent contract studies
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