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More Hearings Set on Nevada Nuclear Dump

November 23, 2001|From Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — The Energy Department will hold nine additional public hearings in December so Nevada residents can comment on the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, the department announced.

"I committed to actively seek increased opportunities for public involvement in the consideration of the Yucca Mountain project as a possible geological repository," Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said in a statement Wednesday.

The department extended the public comment period for 30 days on Nov. 14.

The additional hearings and extended comment period will provide residents an opportunity to register their comments on issues that have emerged since the public comment period closed Oct. 16, department spokesman Joe Davis said.

Congress has set Feb. 28 as Abraham's deadline for recommending whether Yucca Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is suitable for housing 77,000 tons of radioactive waste.

It is the only site being studied to become the nation's nuclear waste repository.

The added hearings will take place Dec. 5 in Las Vegas, Pahrump and Battle Mountain; Dec. 8 in Las Vegas, Reno and Ely; and Dec. 12 in Las Vegas, Amargosa Valley and Caliente.

The Energy Department has been exploring the mountain, studying its geology, designing the repository and engineering containment tunnels since the 1980s.

The agency has been collecting public comment on the proposal since May. Formal hearings were held in North Las Vegas, Amargosa Valley and Pahrump. Less formal hearings were held in each county in Nevada and in Inyo County, the California county closest to the site.

About 450 people commented at those sessions, the Energy Department said.

The department plans to ship radioactive waste from more than 100 commercial, industrial and military sites to Yucca Mountain beginning in 2010.

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