Yucca Mountain

The City’s Position
The city of Las Vegas is opposed to the licensing and construction of a high-level nuclear waste repository in Nevada and transportation of radioactive waste through the Las Vegas Valley. Risks to the public from potential transportation accidents, acts of terrorism and sabotage are unacceptable to the city.  The city supports on-site storage of spent nuclear fuel at existing power plant sites and the research and use of alternative renewable energy sources. 

On Sept. 6, 2000, Mayor Oscar Goodman and the Las Vegas City Council passed resolution R-85-2000, declaring the city a Nuclear Free Zone.  The resolution opposes legislation that would allow the transportation, storage or production of spent nuclear fuel, high-level fuel radioactive waste within the city. 

The Las Vegas City Council wants to preserve the integrity of the city’s future by keeping the public informed and encouraging citizen involvement on this important issue. 

Impacts to the City
The transportation of nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain will have a tremendous impact on the city. The total projects cost to all public safety agencies in the Valley over the lifetime of the shipping campaign are costly and does not include the total public safety costs to the city. The city can also expect to see property value losses along the transportation corridor and a decrease in tourism if an accident involving high-level waste occurs in the area. 

Public Safety
In the event of a radiological emergency in or near the city, significant impacts could result to the agencies charged with protecting the health, safety and welfare of our citizens and visitors. Additional costs to fire, police and emergency management public safety agencies could create a burden in the billions of dollars. Additionally, public perception related to the fear of dangers connected to man-made radiation and exposure to nuclear waste could severely impact the tourism industry. Any news about the transportation of radioactive materials in Las Vegas could damage the reputation and economy of the city.

Transportation of High Level Nuclear Waste to Nevada
This is not only a Nevada issue; it is a national safety issue. Since most of the waste is generated elsewhere, most of the waste will be traveling across country. Currently, interstate highways and existing rail lines are the default routes for transporting the waste.  Unless alternative routes are designated by the individual states, the nation’s highway system and rail systems will be used by heavy-haul, legal-weight trucks and rail cars to ship waste.  For our local area, this includes Interstate 15, the U.S. 93, the U.S. 95, Interstate-215 and state highway 60.

In December 2006, Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Ross introduced a resolution encouraging cities to determine the public safety impacts resulting from transportation of high level nuclear waste that was adopted by the National League of Cities. This resolution strongly encouraged all cities along the proposed spent nuclear fuel shipping routes to conduct similar public safety fiscal impact studies so that their public safety agencies will be prepared to respond should an accident involving high-level nuclear waste or any other hazardous material occur. Additionally, it urged the United States Congress to provide adequate funding to all cities along the proposed spent nuclear shipping routes for the purpose of conducting such studies.

In June 2002, the United States Conference of Mayors passed a resolution urging the United States Senate to postpone approval of the Department of Energy Yucca Mountain Repository until critical transportation issues are resolved and a comprehensive, safe and permanent solution to the entire nuclear waste storage problem is determined. 

States Along Proposed Nuclear Waste Transportation
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Latest Developments about Yucca Mountain
In January 2010, the Obama Administration established a Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (commission) through the Department of Energy. The purpose of the commission is to conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, including all alternatives for the storage, processing and disposal of civilian and defense used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste. 

The 15-member commission was tasked with preparing an interim report that considered a range of technology and policy alternatives, an analysis of the scientific, environmental, budgetary, economic, financial and management issues for each alternative. The commission, in association with state regional groups that work on high-level waste policy, will be hosting public meetings to solicit feedback from state, local, tribal perspectives and members of the public on the draft commission report released on July 29, 2011. 

What YOU Can Do!
The city encourages residents to speak up on Yucca Mountain by contacting your Nevada federal representatives in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives at http://www.nevadadc.org/delegation.htm .