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House Panel to Subpoena Yucca Mtn. Worker

June 14, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A congressional committee will subpoena a former worker on the Yucca Mountain project who is at the center of a controversy over document falsification at the proposed nuclear waste dump.

The House Government Reform Committee will issue a subpoena Tuesday demanding a committee appearance and documents from Joseph Hevesi, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist in Sacramento, Calif., according to an announcement late Monday from Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev.

``Mr. Hevesi has, to date, refused to cooperate with the subcommittee in its congressional investigation,″ said a statement from the House Government Reform subcommittee on the federal work force, which Porter chairs.

Hevesi, a hydrologist, was a principal author of e-mails written between 1998 and 2000 by scientists studying how water moved through the proposed waste dump 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

In the e-mails to colleagues, Hevesi discussed making up facts, deleting inconvenient data and keeping two sets of files _ ``the ones that will keep (quality assurance) happy and the ones that were actually used.″

The e-mails were made public by the Energy Department in March, and the inspectors general of the Energy and Interior departments have been investigating. No conclusions have been announced.

Hevesi did not immediately respond Monday to phone messages left at his office and home.

Hevesi is still a USGS hydrologist, but he no longer workers on Energy Department or Yucca Mountain projects.

The subpoena will require Hevesi’s appearance at a subcommittee hearing June 29, along with all documents in his possession related to Yucca Mountain.

The e-mail controversy has contributed to delays on the project, which is planned as a national repository for 77,000 tons of high-level commercial and defense nuclear waste, to be buried for 10,000 years and beyond in the Nevada desert.

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