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Details under wraps in possible plan to move nuke waste near Vegas

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Updated: 4/26/2013 7:18 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- No one wants nuclear waste in their backyard, especially when you invite the world to play on your block like we do here in Las Vegas.

The feds are looking to dispose of some nuclear waste, and they're eyeing the old Nevada Test Site, now called the Nevada National Security Site. It's raised concerns for lawmakers who don't want the waste traveling across the country or stored so close to Las Vegas.

Unfortunately we didn't get a lot of answers today but the common denominator in all of this is that

As a result, plans to move that waste to Nevada are still up in the air. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory's building 3019 is currently home to hundreds of canisters of the dangerously radioactive materials known as uranium-233 and uranium-235. The feds want to dispose of it and they've set their sights on the old Nevada Test Site as an ideal place to do it.

The big problem is: how do you move the weapons-grade radioactive material?

Kathleen Bienenstein, the chair of a state group that oversees waste management at the Nevada National Security Site, says the department of energy is still trying to figure out the logistics of how to move the dangerous material.

“That's up in the air, things like that -- making sure everything is secure and making sure there's an exact place for this at the site,” Bienenstein said.

Most of the details are being kept under wraps. The Nevada department of conservation and natural resources says they're waiting on information from the DOE before making anything public. Nevada congressional delegates, including Harry Reid, Steven Horsford, Dean Heller, Mark Amodei, and Joe Heck, did not respond to requests for comment

Representative Dina Titus' office was the only one to respond. The office said they're monitoring the situation very carefully and confirmed the DOE hasn't finalized any plans.

Bienenstein says they do have an idea what the waste would be transported in: a series of canisters to reduce the amount of radiation being emitted.

“They're in canisters that are double sealed,” Bienenstein said. “They're canisters within canisters within canisters.”

Environmental groups say the waste is too much of a risk to stash in our backyard. the Sierra Club of Las Vegas believes its current home in Tennessee is where it needs to stay, because shipping the waste puts the environment and people at risk.

Bienenstein is part of the Nevada Site Specific Advisory Board. The board feels the process would be relatively safe, and have given it their blessing. Bienestein tells us the board wants to address the community's concerns at their next meeting on May 15 at the Atomic Testing Museum.

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