NATIONAL SURVEY SAFE ENERGY COMMUNICATION COUNCIL GREENPEACE, USA NUCLEAR INFORMATION AND RESOURCE SERVICE NUCLEAR WASTE CITIZENS COALITION

For Immediate Release: Contact: Mary Myers, SECC Thursday, January 18, 1996 (202) 483-8491

NATIONAL SURVEY SAFE ENERGY COMMUNICATION COUNCIL GREENPEACE, USA NUCLEAR INFORMATION AND RESOURCE SERVICE NUCLEAR WASTE CITIZENS COALITION

  FINDS OVERWHELMING OPPOSITION TO CONGRESSIONAL PROPOSAL FOR “INTERIM STORAGE” & TRANSPORTATION OF NUCLEAR WASTE VOTERS WANT INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF NUCLEAR WASTE PROGRAM BY MORE THAN TWO TO ONE

Washington, D.C.- American voters overwhelmingly oppose the intent of legislation now under consideration in Congress that would create a so-called “interim” or temporary storage site for nuclear waste near Yucca Mountain in Southwestern Nevada. According to a new national survey, a lopsided 70 percent to 27 percent of the U.S. electorate wants Congress to immediately form an independent commission to find new solutions to storing radioactive waste instead of transporting spent nuclear fuel across our highways and railways to a temporary storage site in Nevada. “Members of Congress are so far out of touch with voters, they risk being out of a job if they continue to push this quick-fix scam for the serious problem of nuclear waste storage,” said Scott Denman, Executive Director of the Safe Energy Communication Council, a national energy watchdog group. The nationwide telephone survey was conducted December 1-10, 1995 among 1,000 registered voters by Research/Strategy/Management, Inc. of Lanham, Maryland, headed by Dr. Vincent Breglio, a noted Republican pollster whose clients have included Presidents Reagan and Bush and the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Commissioned by the Safe Energy Communication Council, Nuclear Information & Resource Service and Greenpeace, USA, the survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. The survey was commissioned to determine voters’ support for two Congressional legislative proposals. One proposal, embodied in H.R. 1020, sponsored by U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), would create an interim or temporary storage site in Nevada for spent fuel from the nation’s commercial nuclear reactors until a permanent dump site is established. The other proposal, presented in S. 544, sponsored by U.S. Senator Richard Bryan (D-NV), would create a two-year moratorium on federal nuclear waste program activities and establish an independent, blue-ribbon commission to evaluate current efforts to find new, comprehensive solutions to the dilemma of radioactive waste storage. “H.R. 1020 does not provide answers: indeed it doesn’t even address the right questions. More than 150 organizations, numerous legislators, and the American public have called for a fresh look at our nation’s radioactive waste policy. Rather than embark on costly and dangerous band-aid fixes, we need to implement a blue-ribbon, truly independent commission to re-examine all of our nuclear waste programs, ” said Michael Mariotte, Executive Director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service. The groundswell of opposition to the proposal to build a temporary dump and transport spent fuel by rail and truck to the site in Nevada is strong across all demographic groupings, with small variations in actual percentages. Whether respondents were independent or party voters, male or female or living in the East or the West, the polling data found uniformly deep and broad rejection of the concept to transport waste to a temporary site. “We’re gratified that the polling data show that the American people will not support Congressional bills that embody an irresponsible and phony “solution” to the problem of nuclear waste,” said Fred Millar, Washington, D.C. Coordinator of the Nuclear Waste Citizens Coalition. “It is clear that a massive nuclear waste transportation program across 43 states during a 30-year period would ignite a firestorm of citizen opposition.” According to analysis conducted for the State of Nevada, released in January 1995, spent fuel from all commercial nuclear reactors would be shipped through 43 states to the proposed Nevada site. For 30 years, a steady stream of 6,217 truck loads and 9,421 rail shipments bound for Nevada would traverse the U.S. highways and railways. This transportation nightmare is one part of a flawed nuclear waste program that has been criticized by the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. General Accounting Office, the Congressionally-established Technical Review Board, and the University of Southern California in reports that call for a comprehensive review of the federal high-level radioactive waste program. “This new survey underscores what we’ve known all along: Americans are wisely turning their backs to the nuclear power option and do not support shipping poisonous radioactive wastes by train or truck across the nation’s transportation arteries,” said Bill Walsh, Energy Coordinator, Greenpeace, USA. — 30 — Copies of the synopsis of the nuclear waste survey question and related demographic data as well as copies of the full poll results can be obtained by contacting SECC, 1717 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 805, Washington, D.C. 20036, (202) 483-8491. The Poll Question: Q: Congress is considering changing the nuclear waste law. Two plans are being proposed. *Plan A under consideration would permit the transportation by rail and truck, in the near future, of radioactive waste from nuclear reactors around the country to a temporary, above-ground storage site in Nevada until a permanent solution can be found. *Plan B under consideration calls for the immediate formation of an independent review commission to find new solutions to storing radioactive waste before any of it is transported around the country. Which of these plans do you support? A: Plan A – Temporary Storage 26.6% Plan B – Independent Review Before Moving Any Waste 69.7% Don’t Know 3.7% For Immediate Release: Contact: Thursday, January 18, 1996 Mary Myers, (202) 483-8491 Statement of Scott Denman, Executive Director Safe Energy Communication Council Our message today is clear: while the nuclear industry wants a quick fix to the problem of nuclear waste storage, voters want a solution their grandchildren can live with. American voters overwhelmingly oppose the intent of legislation now being debated in Congress that would create a so-called “interim” or temporary storage site for nuclear waste near Yucca Mountain in southwestern Nevada. According to a new national survey, a lopsided 70 percent of the U.S. electorate wants Congress to immediately form an independent commission to find new solutions to storing radioactive waste instead of transporting spent nuclear fuel across our highways and railways to a temporary storage site in Nevada. Only a small minority (27 percent) favor the temporary option. Members of Congress are so far out of touch with voters, they risk being out of a job if they continue to push this flim-flam scam instead of dealing with the serious problem of nuclear waste production and storage. The groundswell of opposition to the proposal to build a temporary dump and transport spent fuel by rail and truck to the site in Nevada is strong across all demographic groupings, with small variations in actual percentages. Whether respondents were independent or party voters, male or female or living in the East or the West, the polling data found uniformly deep and broad rejection of the concept to transport waste to a temporary site. In a broader context, the complete survey found that virtually 60 percent of voters were more likely to vote for candidates for Congress that shared their views on energy issues. This should be a warning to Congressional incumbents and challengers alike. In particular, three-fourths of independent voters (78 percent) are more likely to vote for a candidate who shares their view on these issues. The larger poll also found that, in addition to opposition to shipping nuclear waste to a temporary site in Nevada, seven out of ten voters (72 percent) opposed the expenditure of more federal funds to develop a new generation of commercial nuclear reactors. Furthermore, voters believe that nuclear power research and development funding should be the top priority for cutting the federal energy budget, while energy efficiency and renewable energy resources should be the top priority for receiving taxpayer support. Once again, the public has demonstrated its infinite capacity for common sense. The only real solution to the problem of more nuclear waste is to stop making it. Voters want a comprehensive review by an independent commission to find new solutions to the serious problem of storing the nuclear waste we have now. American voters want an energy policy that relies on sustainable technologies, not the production of more nuclear waste. This polling data unequivocally shows that voters reject the concept to find a hasty and unsafe solution to the problem of nuclear waste. — 30 — The Safe Energy Communication Council (SECC) is an coalition of national energy, environmental and public interest media organizations working to increase public awareness of the ability of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources to meet an increasing share of our nation’s energy needs, and of the serious economic and environmental liabilities of nuclear power.

For more information, contact: SECC, 1717 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 805, Washington, D.C., 20036, (202) 483-8491.