April 22, 2002
The IBEW officially added its voice to the chorus of those supporting Yucca Mountain, Nevada as the site for the nations spent nuclear fuel.
IBEW Utility Department Director Jim Dushaw testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality on Thursday. He called on Congress to take action over the objections of Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn, who vetoed President Bushs recommendation to open the desert mountain facility last week.
"We believe that in the range of alternative solutions, none compare well with the Yucca Mountain plan, which intends to place spent fuel and nuclear waste where the potential for any harm and any access is tightly controlled and monitored," Dushaw told members of Congress. "If plants start closing down due to a lack of spent fuel storage space, jobs will disappear and consumers, for no compelling reason, lose a real contender for low-cost electricity in the newly competitive electric supply industry."
The U.S. House of Representatives is likely next week to vote in favor of overriding Gov. Guinns veto. Many people in Nevada are clearly concerned about the possibility of becoming the nations official repository for nuclear waste material, and a bipartisan trio of members of Congress spoke out Thursday against it. But not everyone in the state has such concerns. Dushaw read aloud a portion of a letter signed by Las Vegas Local 357 Business Manager David Jones.
"No one wants a waste site but everyone expects electricity," Jones said in the letter to members of Congress. "No one wants a chlorine plant next door, but everyone expects safe drinking water. No one wants a tank farm nearby, but we all drive cars. Today we will light our homes, sip water and drive the kids to soccer games in well-placed confidence. None of this would be possible without the basic infrastructure that supports our society. Nuclear power and Yucca Mountain are important parts of this continuum."
The IBEW has 15,000 members working at 74 nuclear plants, which Dushaw said was among the safest industrial work environments in the United States. The site at Yucca Mountain has been studied for 24 years at a cost of $4 billion, said Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham. Spent nuclear fuel now occupies temporary storage sites at nuclear facilities in 39 states, space that is quickly filling. If Congress override Nevadas veto the action will trigger an independent review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Yucca Mountain and The Waste Disposal Dilemma - Aug 2001 IBEW Journal
1999 IBEW Nuclear Conference Members Visit Yucca Mountain - Feb 2000 IBEW Journal