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Nuclear waste shipments raise concerns for Nevada politicians

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Updated: 7/16/2013 3:20 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Nevada's elected officials seem to have more questions than answers about a large shipment of radioactive uranium that could be coming to southern Nevada soon.
  
Nevada politicians are hoping to meet with the Department of Energy this week.

That's only a guess at this point but Congresswoman Dina Titus thinks enough of them have made enough noise to finally get the Department of Energy's attention.

Titus sees parallels between the fight against this uranium and the newly-revisited fight over Yucca Mountain in Washington.

As a group of house Republicans in Washington fight to re-open and re-fund Yucca Mountain, a fleet of Nevada politicians are fighting a shipment of nuclear waste

Congresswoman Dina Titus says the two issues go hand-in-hand.

“Because the DOE doesn't have Yucca Mountain is kind of quietly changing the rules for low-level waste at the test site and every time they do that,” Titus said. “You say oh this is just a little bit worse-a little bit worse--a little bit worse: pretty soon it's pretty high.”

"Not-in-my-backyard" is exactly how Titus feels about 403 canisters of radioactive uranium that could be coming to Nevada’s desert soon.

Titus thinks the DOE re-labeled this uranium as "low-level waste" in order to make it fit "Nevada national security site" standards.

“And they have come in backdoor to bring in waste that shouldn't be here because it's not safe,” Titus said.

Transportation of the uranium is another concern Titus doesn't want the nuclear waste passing through downtown Las Vegas on I-15.

“One little accident could have devastating impact over our economy which is just now picking up,” Titus said.

On June 20 Governor Brian Sandoval wrote a letter to the DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz and has heard nothing--so Sandoval sent a second letter on Friday saying, "I have received no official communications and now write again to request this important meeting as soon as possible."

“With all of us providing a united front Ibelieve the DOE is going to have to answer,” Titus said.

More congressional delegates are speaking out, too.

We heard from Congressman Joe Heck today who says the waste should “avoid densely-populated, high traffic areas at all costs.”

Congressman Steven Horsford telling News 3 he "cannot support a project that does not guarantee the safety of Nevada residents.”

The Department of Energy is reviewing the long list of questions and concerns. A meeting could be scheduled as soon as this week but until then--it appears this shipment remains at a standstill.

Governor Sandoval won't yet say if he'll go as far to stop the shipment but he has the power to do so.

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