Yucca Mountain faces reservation blow

26 April 2007

Plans for a US long-term nuclear waste repository at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain have been set back after a local native American tribe withdrew permission for the waste to be transported over tribal lands.

The Walker River Paiute Tribe said that it no longer wanted the Mina rail corridor, which runs along the outskirts of tribal lands north of Walker Lake, to be included in an environmental impact study for a proposed rail route to the repository.

Tribal chairwoman Genia Williams said the tribe had decided to drop out of the process after reviewing information saying: “The tribe will not allow nuclear waste to be transported by rail through our reservation.”

The DoE is believed to favour a 500 km rail route that originates at Caliente in eastern Nevada but some suggest this would be more expensive and challenging to build than the 300 km long north-south Mina route, which could use old rail beds in some areas.

Yucca opponent the Nevada Senator Harry Reid issued a statement welcoming the decision saying: “The Tribe's decision is yet another blow to this project, which is on its last legs. It is time for the federal government to come to the realisation that on-site storage is the answer to America's nuclear waste challenges.”

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