Nevada Appeals to Federal Court to Stymie Nuke Waste Site

Nevada is digging in its heels and promising a bitter fight to keep the nation’s high-level nuclear waste from being shipped to an underground storage facility at Yucca Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Last year, President Bush signed a bill designating the site as a permanent nuclear-waste repository, but next month Nevada will ask a federal appeals court to block that move. The federal government is trying to consolidate the most dangerous nuclear waste — from nuclear power plants, Navy ships, and research reactors — in one spot; such waste is currently stored at 77 temporary sites in 31 states. Nevadans, understandably, don’t want their state to become the nuke-waste dumping ground for the rest of the nation; they argue that the Yucca Mountain site is unsuitable and that shipping waste in from around the country is just asking for accidents and terrorist attacks. Bush’s position on the issue could affect his electoral prospects; he carried Nevada in 2000, but a recent poll in the state found only 26 percent of voters saying they were planning to vote for Bush in 2004.