Nevadans will get hearing on new Yucca standards

Nevada Senators Harry Reid and John Ensign have been promised there will be a Las Vegas hearing on new proposed radiation standards for Yucca Mountain.

One of the more recent setbacks dealt to the nuclear waste-dumping project was a court order requiring much stronger radiation standards than proposed by the Bush administration. Based on that ruling, the Environmental Protection Agency is working on a new standard for total radiation that the public can legally be exposed to by Yucca. Public hearings will be required before that standard is implemented.

Reid, the Democratic minority leader, and Ensign, a Republican, issued a joint statement Monday saying EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson has promised them a hearing in Las Vegas so the public can join the comment process.

The senators said they expect EPA to "fulfill their responsibility of making public safety and sound science a top priority and to include any opposition and concerns when setting the final limit for radiation exposure."

They also asked for hearings in Reno and Amargosa Valley or, at minimum, a satellite feed to those locations to enable Nevadans outside Las Vegas to participate.

"Finally, we urge you to personally attend the hearing so that you can hear and see the depth of Nevadans' opposition to a weak radiation standard that does not meet the National Academy of Sciences guidelines, thus needlessly exposing them to public health risks," the letter to Johnson stated.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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