LAS VEGAS (AP) — Radioactive well-water contamination could threaten some 1,400 people in a rural farming community if federal regulators allow the nation’s deadliest nuclear waste to be buried in the Nevada desert, state officials said in a report issued Friday.
A 53-page document submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission derides environmental assessments of the proposed Yucca Mountain repository as legally inadequate. It also characterizes the project itself as “an unworkable waste management plan at an unsafe repository site.”
The state says groundwater studies don’t properly address the danger to people in nearby Amargosa Valley or the cultural and spiritual effect that construction of the repository would have on Native Americans.
George Gholson, chairman of the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, submitted additional comments Friday accusing commission officials of failing to evaluate effects that building the project would have on tribal members.
“Radioactive contamination of groundwater and springs … affronts the Timbisha’s way of life, is disrespectful to cultural beliefs, and constitutes an environmental justice infringement on the rights of a sovereign nation,” the letter said.
The documents amount to the state staking its legal ground to oppose the Yucca Mountain project. They came on the last day of an environmental study comment period ahead of yet-to-be-scheduled licensing hearings and amid calls from some in Congress to restart the long-mothballed project.
Commission officials didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
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