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Opponents of Yucca Mountain Nuclear Dump Rally in Washington

April 16, 2002

Opponents of Yucca Mountain Nuclear Dump Rally in Washington

Representatives of More Than 100 State-Based Organizations Join Lawmakers, National Organizations Urging Congress to Sustain Nevada “Veto”

WASHINGTON, D.C. ? More than 100 representatives of state-based environmental, disarmament and public interest groups joined members of Congress, national organizations and District of Columbia residents at a rally on Capitol Hill today, urging Congress to reject the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear dump.

“This proposal threatens the health, safety and environment of Americans nationwide, not just in Nevada,” said Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club. “We urge Congress to stand up for public health and the environment by voting ?no? on this dangerous plan.”

Speakers raised concerns about the safety of nuclear waste transportation. Tens of thousands of deadly nuclear shipments would travel on the roads, rails and waterways of 44 states and the District of Columbia en route to Yucca Mountain if dump program moves forward.

“This risky transportation scheme cannot be justified,” said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen. “Nuclear waste transportation casks have not been properly tested to ensure they won?t release radiation in a crash. A serious accident or terrorist attack could be catastrophic.”

Behind the crowd at today?s event loomed a full-sized inflatable model of a nuclear waste transportation canister. Participants held signs that read “Stop Yucca Trucks” and depicted highway signs of routes identified by the Department of Energy (DOE) as likely nuclear waste shipment thoroughfares.

In February, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham recommended that 77,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste from commercial nuclear power plants and U.S. Department of Energy weapons facilities be buried at Yucca Mountain, about 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nev. Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn issued a Notice of Disapproval on April 9, effectively vetoing the plan. Congress could override Nevada?s veto with a majority vote in both Houses. A vote is expected in the coming months.

Anna Aurilio, legislative director for U.S. Public Interest Research Group, announced the release of a new television advertisement opposing Yucca Mountain nuclear shipments, which will begin running today in Vermont.

Other speakers at today?s event included U.S. Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.); U.S. Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) and Jim Gibbons (R-Nev); Martin Butcher, director of Physicians for Social Responsibility?s Security and Nuclear Program; Chris Townsend, political action director for United Electrical Workers; Gerald Pollet, director of Heart of America Northwest (Seattle, Wash.); and Chris Williams, executive director of Citizen Action Coalition of Indiana.

Participants were to meet with senators and Senate staffers today.