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Indy Q&A: Harry Reid on why coal industry is doomed, Yucca Mountain still dead and his pick in Nevada’s gubernatorial primary via The Nevada Independent

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Q: Is there someone in the Senate Democratic caucus or in Nevada’s delegation who can fill your shoes and draw that line in the sand over investments in solar?

A: Well I certainly hope so. I hope the whole Nevada delegation — look at what it’s done for Nevada. We have 31,000 renewable energy jobs in Nevada. We have more solar per capita than any other state in the union. So all they have to do is look at what it’s done for Nevada. As Governor Sandoval mentioned today, and as we all know, solar alone — $7 billion worth of financial gain to our state.

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Q: Congressman John Shimkus from Illinois is going to be in Reno next week. He’s tried to make revitalizing and restarting the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository a big priority. The administration has included money for it in its proposed budget. You’ve been at the front line of opposing Yucca Mountain. You said a year or two ago that it was dead — do you still hold that opinion?

A: The answer is yes. Take a look at Yucca Mountain. What is out there? Nothing. A hole in the side of a mountain. All the equipment has been junked. (Former Energy Secretary Ernest) Moniz will tell you that. That’s when I first learned it. They’ve ground up all the equipment, and sold it for scrap metal. No one knows, as the (Congressional Budget Office) announced recently, how much it would cost to restart Yucca Mountain. They don’t know, because the contingencies are so high. A hundred billion dollars? A hundred ten billion? Lots of money — where are they going to get the money for that?

They’ve already established that on-site storage is safe, dry cask containment. They established a long time ago you can’t ship this stuff all over the country. With terrorism, where it is today, that would be an easy one to cause a lot of trouble with these canisters of nuclear waste.

Q: The moves that Congressman Shimkus and Energy Secretary Rick Perry have taken, do they concern you at all in terms of them trying to restart this project?

A: Does it concern me? What concerns me is their lack of recognizing reality. There’s a couple of the same people who don’t believe in climate change. They’re part of the same crowd that doesn’t allow us to study what’s happening in our world today. Think about this. The three latest hurricanes, they have created already 350 billion dollars worth of damage, and we can’t study? So, sure I’m concerned. I’m concerned because they’re not playing with a full deck of reality.

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