Mari Keller Sebeth: Liddick column misleading
November 25, 2009
Morgan Liddick’s desperate attempt at pinning yet another Republican farce on President Obama regarding the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Disposal Project (YM or YMP) is despicable.
Mr. Liddick wants us to believe that the storage facility is completed, but in fact the licensing application for construction of the repository was not submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) until June, 2008, and it will take at least years to approve. The only facilities constructed at YM were for site testing purposes.
To dismiss Nevada’s objections to the site as simple NIMBYism shows ignorance of the facts. The state of Nevada was fully within its rights under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA) to veto the YMP in 2002.
The Department of Energy (DoE) has deferred the repository opening from 1998 to 2003 to 2010 and now, 2017. The NWPA was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan and required the DoE to enter into the contracts with nuclear facilities to take possession of their radioactive waste by January 31, 1998.
The DoE declared the YM site “viable” in 1997 despite a lack of vital information needed to make official recommendation. In 2000, Presidential Candidate George Bush promised the people of Nevada that “sound science” would be his criteria for approving the YM site.
President Bush was exceedingly irresponsible when he approved the YMP in 2002 while 293 technical problems identified by the NRC concerning the geology of the site, the life expectancy of the storage containers, and the performance of the repository remained unresolved. Perhaps this decision had more to do with the $13.8 million the nuclear power industry contributed to federal candidates in 2000, and the $25 million spent in lobbying efforts in one year after the elections in support of the YMP.
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“Sound science” required a quiet dismissal of reports indicating that USGS documents were falsified. It required that a few buildings be relocated after another earthquake fault line was discovered in 2007 to run underneath the facility, and it determined that evidence of surface water seepage into the exploratory tunnel was not important. Any amount of moisture in the storage tunnels would present the risk of corrosion to the storage casks.
Finally, Mr. Liddick wants us to believe by omission that the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) is a proposal put forth by the Obama administration to “discuss, dither, delay, deflect responsibility … “In reality, the GNEP is part of the Bush Administration’s Advanced Energy Initiative, a major policy shift announced in the 2006 State of the Union Address. Since then, 25 countries have become GNEP partners. Apparently, the rest of the world does not think that collectively, we have the “brains of a newt.”
As always, Mr. Liddick continues to be misleading in his never ending effort to discredit anyone who does not concur with the Republican agenda.