Northern Nevadans got their chance to voice opinions on a plan which could bring high level nuclear waste through downtown Reno. The Department of Energy held a public hearing at Lawlor Events Center on the proposed "Mina corridor" route to the nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain.
The route that has been under consideration for sometime is called the Caliente Corridor, bringing the waste in by rail through southern Nevada. But that route is difficult and expensive.
An alternative route would use the Union Pacific main line along the I-80 corridor through Northern Nevada. That route crosses the Walker River Paiute Indian Reservation at Schurz in Mineral County, and the tribe told the DOE years ago it would not allow the waste to cross tribal lands. Recently however, the present tribal council has signaled its willingness to reconsider and the DOE has jumped on that possibility.
If approved and built, it means the nation's nuclear waste would be shipped through northern Nevada. West Coast waste., and perhaps even some from the south would come through downtown Reno. The rest would be shipped through towns like Winnemucca and Elko.
This development had barely registered on the public's radar screen until we first reported it early this month. In fact, the DOE only added a hearing in Reno, when local officials protested they were not being heard. The hearing runs from 4:00 to 7:00 tonight at Lawlor Events Center.
This hearing won't be last time the public gets to address this issue. There is a lot of study ahead, but the DOE is moving on this proposal. We learned this morning they've applied the the Bureau of Land Management for temporary withdrawal of public lands along the route to allow them to study it.