Kids weigh in on waste.Byline: SCOTT MABEN The Register-Guard
Highly radioactive waste radioactive waste, material containing the unusable radioactive byproducts of the scientific, military, and industrial applications of nuclear energy. Since its radioactivity presents a serious health hazard (see radiation sickness), disposing of such material is a from Oregon's only nuclear power plant one day may travel through Eugene on its way to a large storage site in southern Nevada.
Opponents say that's a terrifying ter·ri·fy
tr.v. ter·ri·fied, ter·ri·fy·ing, ter·ri·fies
1. To fill with terror; make deeply afraid. See Synonyms at frighten.
2. To menace or threaten; intimidate. plan fraught with risks to public health and the environment, and they're accelerating efforts to kill the proposed Yucca Mountain Yucca Mountain, mountain in the SW Nevada desert about 100 mi (161 km) northwest of Las Vegas. It is the proposed site of a Dept. of Energy (DOE) repository for up to 77,000 metric tons of nuclear waste (including commercial and defense spent fuel and high-level nuclear waste repository 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas Las Vegas (läs vā`gəs), city (1990 pop. 258,295), seat of Clark co., S Nev.; inc. 1911. It is the largest city in Nevada and the center of one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the United States. .
"There will be accidents by rail, there will be accidents by road. The question is how severe and what's going to happen," said John Hadder of Citizen Alert, a Nevada-based environmental group. "It may be small, but the consequences are very large."
Hadder and others spoke Wednesday to about 80 eighth-graders at Jefferson Middle School Jefferson Middle School is a middle school located in Jefferson City, Tennessee. The middle school is home to the football team the Elks, which has won more conference champs than any other middle school in Tennessee. in south Eugene as part of a tour of cities nuclear waste might pass through. The event was co-sponsored by Oregon PeaceWorks, an anti-nuclear and anti-war group.
The students are studying the Yucca Mountain issue for a social studies assignment and will write letters to their U.S. senators saying what they think should be done.
"I think it's not very safe," said Wesley Watkins, 14. "Anything can happen, like a storm" that could trigger an accident and a leak of the lethal cargo.
The House recently voted to override the Nevada governor's veto of a federal decision to designate Yucca Mountain as the nation's largest nuclear waste dump. Oregon 4th District Rep. Peter DeFazio Peter Anthony DeFazio (born May 27, 1947) is an American politician. He serves as a Democratic U.S. Representative from Oregon, representing the 4th Congressional District and is currently serving his 11th term. has been a longtime critic of the project.
The Senate is set to vote this summer. If it approves the repository, it would take workers more than a decade to excavate the underground burial site and prepare for delivery of waste. Spent nuclear fuel Spent nuclear fuel, occasionally called used nuclear fuel, is nuclear fuel that has been irradiated in a nuclear reactor (usually at a nuclear power plant) to the point where it is no longer useful in sustaining a nuclear reaction. rods from the defunct Trojan Nuclear Power Plant Trojan Nuclear Power Plant was a pressurized water reactor (PWR) nuclear power plant in Rainier, Oregon, United States, and the only nuclear power plant to be built in Oregon. north of St. Helens could be moved starting in 2015.
Sen. Ron Wyden Ronald Lee Wyden (born May 3, 1949) is Oregon's senior United States Senator. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Early career and personal life
Wyden was born in Wichita, Kansas to Edith Rosenow and Peter H. , D-Ore., likely will vote against the project out of concern that transportation safety hasn't been fully addressed, his staff said. Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., is leaning toward voting for it, spokesman Chris Matthews said.
"You have two options: Vote to keep nuclear waste in Oregon or transport it through Oregon to a safe, state-of-the-art storage facility," Matthews said. "That's really what the question comes down to. It's a tough call, to a certain extent."
Fuel rods from Trojan, previously owned in part by the Eugene Water & Electric Board, and millions of gallons of liquid radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash., could be safely stored on site for decades while the government develops a better plan for permanent disposal, Hadder said, adding, "There's a lot of unanswered questions about the transportation."
One is the strength of the 20-foot-long waste casks that would carry spent fuel on the journey to Yucca Mountain. Opponents say the U.S. Department of Energy hasn't done sufficient testing to determine how well the casks would withstand the impact of a freeway accident, train derailment derailment /de·rail·ment/ (de-ral´ment) disordered thought or speech characteristic of schizophrenia and marked by constant jumping from one topic to another before the first is fully realized. or fire.
They also say the shipments could become moving targets for terrorists bent on causing a nuclear disaster in the United States. One shoulder-mounted rocket launcher could take out a truck or rail car loaded with tons of dangerous waste, they say.
The exact routes and transportation methods in Oregon have not been selected. However, federal authorities have looked at two primary corridors in analyzing the potential impact of more than 3,000 truck shipments or more than 600 train shipments through the state.
One is along Interstate 84, by road or rail, east from Portland through communities such as The Dalles dalles
The rapids of a river that runs between the steep precipices of a gorge or narrow valley.
[French, pl. of dalle, gutter, from Old French, from Old Norse dæla.] , Pendleton and La Grande. The other is by rail south from Portland through Salem and Eugene, then over the Cascades via the Willamette Pass and down through Klamath Falls.
Nationwide, 77,000 tons of highly radioactive waste could be moved from 131 commercial nuclear power reactors and federal nuclear weapons sites along scores of routes and through 44 states to Yucca Mountain, the Department of Energy estimates. The project would span 24 years, with shipments coming within one-half mile of 50 million Americans.
Students at Jefferson also heard from Lavon Rose, whose father runs one of the country's largest pistachio pistachio (pĭstăsh`ēō, pĭstä`shēō), tree or shrub (of the genus Pistacia) of the family Anacardiaceae (sumac family). The species that yields the pistachio nut of commerce is P. farms about 10 miles from Yucca Mountain.
Rose said she worries that the underground storage compartments, which will sit above a massive aquifer, eventually will contaminate con·tam·i·nate
1. To make impure or unclean by contact or mixture.
2. To expose to or permeate with radioactivity.
con·tam·i·nant n. water supplies for Las Vegas, Los Angeles and other areas.
"I don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. why people aren't screaming and shouting and jumping up and down about this," she said, then turned emotional as she spoke about the health risks to children there and along the transportation routes.
"This is serious business, and it's about to happen," Rose said. "Register your resistance to this plan."
While students generally appeared alarmed by the ominous warnings, some also expressed a sense of futility.
"I definitely don't think it's a good thing," said Natalie Danielson, 14, "but it's kind of hard for eighth-graders to do anything about it. We can tell our parents, but that's about it."
Even if the Yucca Mountain project can be stopped, Danielson added, nuclear waste still will be present at all the places it has been generated and stored.
"I think they should wait until it's safer to transport this stuff," she said.
Pete Mandrapa, who teaches eighth grade at the school, said the students studying the Yucca Mountain debate also researched what federal agencies and the nuclear industry say in defense of the plan. "They're looking at the issue from multiple perspectives and critically evaluating it," he said.