Energy Dept. Reviews Hazards Posed by Military Aircraft at Yucca Mtn.

Increased military flights over Nellis Air Force Range and the Nevada Test Site will require revising hazard calculations about the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, the U.S. Department of Energy announced yesterday. Earlier this week, a military jet crashed on the Nellis range, the third crash in as many years within a roughly 30-mile radius of Yucca Mountain. The U.S. Air Force has told the Yucca Mountain planners that it intends to increase the number of test flights in the relevant airspace, which “will certainly have an effect on probabilities [of accidents],” said Paul Harrington, system engineering leader for the DOE’s Office of Repository Development. Nevada Nuclear Project Agency officials doubt that Yucca Mountain can safely withstand a crash, and say military operations and nuclear waste storage are incompatible. In other Yucca Mountain news, Democratic presidential contender Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) told Nevadans yesterday that he would not go forward with the n-waste storage plan “if I feel it’s not safe.”