"Preferred" Yucca Rail Route Avoids Reno

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Monday evening Nevadans spoke out about the proposed Yucca mountain nuclear repository. In order to get a license for the facility, the Department of Energy is required to gather comments -- A public hearing was held at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.

"We have studied this thoroughly it's probably the most thoroughly studied piece of real estate in the world," Allen Benson of the United States Department of Energy said.

That piece of real estate is in a rural area of Nye County. And documents relating to the spent nuclear fuel storage facility planned for site were up for discussion.

Members of the public looked at a preferred rail route for transporting nuclear or radioactive materials to Yucca Mountain. Trains carrying the material would run through Caliente, and across the state to Yucca -- Not traveling through Reno.

The DOE says the schedule of trains would be a secret except to first responders. But some worry there could be an attack.

"You could have a some kind of an attack planned there, and I don't like to think about that but it could happen," Marge Sill of Reno said.

According to the DOE, trucks carrying the material may travel on highways in the Truckee Meadows.

In addition to the transportation plan, members of the public were asked to consider the impacts of the underground storage facility itself.
Critics its too costly, and there's potential for an accident.
Others say the science at Yucca is sound.

"The majority of scientists both private and public who studied that environment believe it is the safest and the best location in the United States of America for it, let's go," Gary Duarte of Sparks said.

Nye County Commissioner Gary Hollis says back home, people seem to give more attention to issues like roads and animal control, than the Yucca Mountain facility. He says it may even create job and prove beneficial.

"I will be a shot in the arm for Nye County, you gotta understand... the Nevada Test Site is in Nye County also and ever since 1950, Nye County hasn't been getting much economic development from Nevada Test Site," Hollis said.

But according to the Nevada Attorney General's Web site, the state of Nevada does not support the Yucca Mountain project. One of the reasons given is that train and truck transportation routes would near more than one hundred million people.

A train route through Reno is still on the table. But Walker River Paiute Tribe lands are needed for that plan. A DOE official says the tribe isn't in support.

Written comments can be submitted to the DOE unitl January 10, 2008. Visit http://www.ocrwm.doe.gov for more information.