SENATE VOTES TO STORE NUCLEAR WASTE IN NEVADA.Byline: Charles Pope Charles Pope VC (5 March 1883-15 April 1917) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Knight-Ridder Tribune News Wire
The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to designate Nevada's barren and politically powerless desert as the resting place for thousands of tons of 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 the nation's nuclear reactors.
Despite the 65-34 vote, however, one of the country's most complex and emotional environmental questions is far from resolved. The Senate fell two votes shy of the number needed to override a veto promised by President Clinton, and the House has yet to act on the measure.
Beyond Congress, other obstacles, both legal and technical, continue piling up much like the waste itself.
The 30,000 tons of radioactive waste in 41 states is growing at a rate of 2,000 tons a year, and many reactors will begin reaching capacity over the next 10 years. Utilities face the prospect of building temporary storage facilities to keep operating, or shutting down in extreme instances.
The issue is something Congress would rather avoid, but because spent fuel rods and other highly radioactive waste remain lethal for 10,000 years, only the government has the resources and the stability to deal with the problem.
``Politically, this is a hellacious hel·la·cious
1. Distasteful and repellant: hellacious smog.
2. Slang Extraordinary; remarkable: a hellacious catch of fish. issue to work on,'' said Bill Magavern, a lobbyist for the environmental group Public Citizen, which opposed the Senate bill. He cited the dangers of transporting the waste long distances by train and truck, and said there is no proven method for storing the wastes safely.
``The pitch from other senators is, if it doesn't go to Nevada, it could come to your state. `NIMBY' is alive and well in the Senate,'' he said, referring to the abbreviation abbreviation, in writing, arbitrary shortening of a word, usually by cutting off letters from the end, as in U.S. and Gen. (General). Contraction serves the same purpose but is understood strictly to be the shortening of a word by cutting out letters in the middle, for ``not in my back yard.''
Largely because of that sentiment, there was never any doubt during the lengthy debate that the bill would pass. The only question was whether it would gain more than the 63 votes a similar measure got last year.
Supporters were encouraged that they could collect enough votes after Washington state, South Carolina South Carolina, state of the SE United States. It is bordered by North Carolina (N), the Atlantic Ocean (SE), and Georgia (SW). Facts and Figures
Area, 31,055 sq mi (80,432 sq km). Pop. (2000) 4,012,012, a 15. and Tennessee were exempted from being considered for the temporary site. Those states have been suggested as locations for interim storage sites because they are home to large Energy Department nuclear weapons plants.
With those states mollified, Nevada was left essentially alone.
The bill passed Tuesday directs the government to begin building an interim storage site at the Nevada Test Site The Nevada Test Site is a United States Department of Energy reservation located in Nye County, Nevada, about 65 miles (105 km) northwest of the City of Las Vegas, near . , a reservation where nuclear bombs have been detonated for decades. That facility would accept waste until a permanent repository at 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 , Nev., is finished.
Clinton and Nevada's two senators - Democrats Harry Reid and Richard Bryan Richard Hudson Bryan (born July 16, 1937) was Governor of the U.S. state of Nevada and a United States Senator from Nevada. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
Bryan was born in Washington, D.C. - argue that designating a temporary site before a final decision on the suitability of the permanent facility is foolhardy fool·har·dy
adj. fool·har·di·er, fool·har·di·est
Unwisely bold or venturesome; rash. See Synonyms at reckless.
[Middle English folhardi, from Old French fol hardi : because it removes an important incentive to find a permanent location.
``You all have seen bad legislation in your day, but this is the worst,'' Reid declared.