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Nuclear waste hurts tourism

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I read Congressman Hansen's column published by the Deseret News on July 26 with heightened interest. Mr. Hansen bemoaned the fact that President Clinton vetoed a bill that would have required the state of Nevada to become the nation's trash receptacle for nuclear waste against the state's adamant objections.

Mr. Hansen claimed that the president's veto was an "election year flip-flop," when in reality, President Clinton has promised the state of Nevada since the 1996 presidential election that he would not sign any measure that required Nevada to permanently store nuclear waste, which he honored.

Yucca Mountain is far from being a safe site to locate a permanent nuclear waste repository. Yucca Mountain sits along a geologically active fault line and is only 75 miles away from the Las Vegas valley that is currently home to approximately 1.5 million people. Further compounding the problem is the fact that groundwater in the Yucca Mountain area eventually finds its way into Lake Mead.

While I can appreciate Mr. Hansen's objection to nuclear waste being stored in Utah, he makes the same fundamental argument that Nevadans make. The storage of nuclear waste within Nevada's borders would be devastating to the state's economy, which relies almost entirely upon tourism. Also, the shipping of nuclear waste thousands of miles to Nevada via the nation's highways and railways creates a strong likelihood of accidents and a multitude of terroristic opportunity.

I strongly object to Mr. Hansen's snide reference to President Clinton's veto as a "gift to Nevada Sen. Harry Reid." Sen. Reid should be commended for his valiant efforts to protect Nevadans from the dangers of storing nuclear waste and for his fierce opposition to the nuclear power industry.

Steven Douglas Brown