RENO, Nev. (AP) - Bruce Breslow, a former Sparks mayor and
television sportscaster, said Tuesday that in his new job as head
of the state Nuclear Projects Office he'll continue Nevada's fight
against federal plans to open the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste
"The state policy is not changing toward a new direction," said Breslow, who currently works in commercial real estate and serves on the Sparks Planning Commission.
"My primary goal is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Nevada as it relates to the Yucca Mountain project."
Gov. Jim Gibbons, who grew up in Sparks, appointed Breslow late
Monday to replace longtime nuclear projects director Bob Loux, who
is resigning after disclosures that he gave himself and his staff
unauthorized pay raises.
"I know Bruce to be a good and a fair man," Gibbons stated. "I trust his leadership of the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects will bring new ideas and a renewed level of tenacity to the fight against locating the nation's nuclear dump in Nevada."
Loux faces a hearing in early January before the Nevada Ethics
Commission. He spent 23 years as the top state official working to block federal plans for building a nuclear waste dump at Yucca
Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Breslow, 52, was among three finalists recommended for the job by the Nuclear Projects Commission, chaired by former U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan.
The other finalists, Tim Hay and Keith Tierney - both lawyers with experience in utility or environmental law - received unanimous recommendations from the six commission members present when finalists were chosen. Breslow received four.
Bryan on Tuesday said he felt Hay was most qualified, but added that Breslow was highly motivated.
"Bruce's background is less extensive than the other two, but Bruce had demonstrated a real enthusiasm for the job," Bryan said. "In his oral presentation, he had a grasp of the issues, and I think that was impressive."
Hay, former state Consumer Advocate, declined comment on Breslow's appointment.
Tierney, an economist and Reno lawyer who worked with state and
local governments on other proposed federal programs in Nevada,
including the MX Missile project in the late 1970s, said he was
disappointed in the outcome.
"I wish Mr. Breslow a lot of luck," he said.
Breslow, who hasn't been to the Yucca Mountain site, dismissed any suggestion he was unqualified for the job.
"I've done this a few times before," he said of his transition. "People questioned whether I could make the leap from sportscaster to mayor."
During his eight years as mayor, the city developed Victorian Square, now a hub for special events, and successfully sued to clean up the former Helms pit, now the site of Sparks Marina and a big retail and entertainment development.
Under his tenure, he said, the city embraced master planned communities and lower property taxes by refinancing debt.
"I had to learn how to do union negotiations, police, fire, public works ... and I left Sparks in good hands," he said.
Breslow also served on the Nevada Transportation Services Authority and as chairman of the Nevada State Employee Management Committee, appointed to those posts by former Gov. Kenny Guinn.
"They've all been great opportunities to quickly grow," Breslow said of his experiences, adding that he will do the same in his new job.
"I will immediately immerse myself in this, work with the attorney general's office, agency staff, a myriad of expert witnesses and attorneys to get up to speed as quickly as possible and help them develop strategies going into the most important phase of the Yucca Mountain fight - the DOE's application hearing," he said.
Breslow said he had the opportunity to tour Yucca Mountain when he was mayor, but "chose not to at the time."
"After I catch up, get up to speed as quickly as possible, it would obviously be an important trip to take," he said. "First I need to set up an office and immerse myself in knowledge."
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)