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Chamber of Commerce Pro-Yucca Ads Are Misleading, Deceptive

July 8, 2002

Chamber of Commerce Pro-Yucca Ads Are Misleading, Deceptive

WASHINGTON, D.C. ? U.S. Chamber of Commerce ads in support of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump are misleading, the consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen charged today.

The radio ads have run over the past week in several states where U.S. senators are considered swing votes on the Yucca Mountain issue. A Senate vote is expected this week.

The main point of the Chamber?s ads is that the Yucca Mountain plan would “get [nuclear waste] out of our communities.” In fact, waste will remain at nuclear reactors throughout the country whether or not Yucca Mountain opens because the waste must cool for five years before it can be moved. If we continue to generate nuclear waste at the current rate, capacity limits at Yucca Mountain will be exceeded even before the repository could open. Also, far from removing waste from communities, the Yucca Mountain plan would send it through major cities in 44 states and the District of Columbia to get it to Nevada, making it susceptible to catastrophic crashes or terrorist attacks.

The ads also claim that the waste would be stored safely in Nevada. In fact, that is highly questionable. Yucca Mountain is located atop an aquifer, which is a source of drinking water, and in an earthquake zone. Even government officials have confessed that they haven?t figured out how to safely contain the waste for the thousands of years it will remain radioactive.

“With the Yucca Mountain project facing an uncertain future in the Senate, the nuclear industry has turned to its friends in the business community to help market this dangerous plan,” said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook, who today sent a letter to senators urging them to reject the dump. “But problems with the project extend far beyond the realm of marketing. The Senate should put public health and safety above the profit interests of the nuclear industry and reject the Yucca Mountain project.”

Several local Chambers of Commerce in Utah and Nevada have passed resolutions opposing the Yucca Mountain plan. The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, the third largest in the country, resigned from the U.S. Chamber last December to protest the national body?s pro-Yucca campaign.

The Alliance for Sound Nuclear Policy, a nuclear industry front group, also ran pro-Yucca ads last weekend. The Alliance has refused repeated requests by Public Citizen to disclose its funding sources and document the 26 million people it claims to represent.