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Public Citizen to Energy Department: Push Yucca Mountain Off the Gang Plank

March 16, 2005

Public Citizen to Energy Department: Push Yucca Mountain Off the Gang Plank

Statement by Joan Claybrook, President of Public Citizen

Today’s announcement that falsified information may have been used to evaluate the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump sheds further light on the mismanagement of this entire bungled process. 

It is of grave concern that the U.S. Geologic Survey may have falsified computer modeling data about Yucca Mountain. Given the fact that this data is related to water infiltration and climate – which affects the ability of the site to safely contain the waste – the entire scientific basis of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) license application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission could be undermined.

This is further proof that the government has relied on manipulated data, not evidence-based science, in reviewing the only site being considered for a national dumping ground for the country’s 77,000 tons of nuclear waste, which remains highly radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. 

In 1998, more than 200 public interest organizations petitioned the DOE to “immediately disqualify the Yucca Mountain, Nevada site and declare it unsuitable for further consideration as a high-level nuclear waste repository” due to the finding of chlorine-36 at elevated levels deep within the mountain.   The finding indicated that water flows through Yucca Mountain quickly, contrary to the prediction of the government’s water infiltration models of the site.

Coupled with a string of bad news recently for the DOE, this most recent development should be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.   Inaccurate information about highly dangerous radioactive material continues to plague the Yucca Mountain project, confounding the public, the Congress and the government managers.  It is past time for Congress to stop wasting billions of dollars on this project once and for all.