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Nev.: Nuke Waste To Stay Around US

February 25, 1999

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) _ Nuclear waste would remain stored at 77 sites around the country _ instead of at a temporary site in Nevada _ under a Clinton administration plan, the state’s political leaders said Wednesday.

Members of the state’s congressional delegation and Gov. Kenny Guinn said U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson was expected to present the idea at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing Thursday.

Richardson had met earlier in the week with Guinn and Sens. Harry Reid and Richard Bryan, both Democrats.

Guinn said Richardson would back the idea of dry-cask storage of such wastes at 77 sites throughout the nation where the wastes are generated.

Energy Department spokesman Stu Nagurka had no comment late Wednesday about the plan.

Reid spokeswoman Jenny Backus said Reid was cautious ``but it looks pretty good. It would take Nevada from fighting two battles, on temporary storage and a permanent dump, to one battle on the permanent dump.″

The Department of Energy wants to create a permanent dump at Yucca Mountain, northeast of Las Vegas. Pending completion of that project, waste was to have been temporarily stored at the Nevada Test Site.

But Wendy Dixon, the Las Vegas-based manager of the Energy Department’s environmental review for Yucca, said at an informational meeting Tuesday in Reno that the expected alternative of keeping the waste where it was generated was under strong consideration.

The DOE effort to build the dump has been pushed heavily by the nuclear energy industry for several years and has been fought just as vigorously by Nevada.

The Yucca Mountain site is not expected to be available until at least 2010.

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