In her latest efforts to bring attention to radioactive waste management, Mayor Carolyn Goodman of Las Vegas led the US Conference of Mayors in Honolulu to adopt a resolution urging the US government to reassess its vision towards dealing with radioactive waste. The conference has been issuing similar resolutions in past years, requesting more information about planned routes, quantities, and timing of shipping of radioactive waste to Nevada for disposal. The resolution stressed that the availability of information will ultimately improve coordination between all the bodies involved yielding to efficient and safe management of radioactive waste. The conference sees the federal government’s responsibility in containing radioactive waste as it’s hazardous to most forms of life and to the environment in general.
Radioactivity decays over time but meanwhile needs to be isolated and confided in appropriate disposal facilities for a certain period until it is no longer a threat. Facilities in southern Nevada such as Yucca Mountain, along with hundreds of other sites across the United States were designed as storage points to contain radioactive waste materials until it decays.
In its latest edition, the US Conference of Mayors is questioning the safety and transparency of the process of safe disposal of radioactive waste. During the conference, Mayor Goodman said, “we will continue to stand together on key issues, such as the secret transport of nuclear waste through the nation.” For over 20 years, Goodman opposed the storing of high-level nuclear waste Yucca Mountain repository. The remote Nevada site was designed by Congress in 1987 as the site for the nation’s nuclear waste produced by power plants all over the states.
Nevada’s radioactive waste storage facility
Yucca Mountain is currently 1 of 121 sites scattered all over the United States. Till this day the government has failed to take control of Yucca Mountain in order to store nuclear waste as it faces opposition from Nevada’s politicians and environmental activists. The area has recently witnessed earthquakes felt across Las Vegas. According to state statistics over “621 seismic events greater than 2.5 magnitudes within a 50-mile radius occurred around the site over the past 43 years.“ Placing Nevada 4th all over the US in terms of seismic activity. Clearly making it a dangerous site in terms of storing radioactive waste.
Lobbying for safe disposal
Ironically the resolution was publicised a few short days before Nevada National Security Site received news from the Energy Department of mistakenly shipping reactive nuclear material. A behaviour that caused anger and mistrust from state and local officials in terms of how the government manages radioactive waste transportation and storage. Hence the resolution is requesting from the federal government to treat and store radioactive waste at their current site, or at least to start a transparent conversation with state and local communities. The mayor’s conference is planning to use the resolution as a foundation in lobbying the federal government.