Can We Talk?
US Nuclear Energy Foundation
Our mission is to influence change in public opinion towards
“Our freedoms can only
January 15, 2007
State of Nevada
Ladies & and Gentlemen, distinguished participants:
My name is Gary Duarte, Director of US Nuclear Energy; a non-profit 501 (c)(3) foundation. By “Bringing Science to Citizens”, our mission is to make the science and engineering clear, and separate it from the personal judgments, which are the next step in the normal political process.
Science and Engineering can only tell us how something works, the consequences of accidents, and the odds that accidents may happen. The next step is deciding should we or shouldn't we - are the benefits worth the risks. Congress decides whether the benefits are worth the risks for the whole country. Former Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, when chairman of the House Committee on Science said, "Washington is a place where everyone says they want decisions made based on sound science-until it conflicts with what they want to do." It appears we have some of that here in Nevada.
Science proves that all life is a matter of risk. There is no perfection. We always deal with the odds of good and bad outcomes. 26 years a Nevada resident, I assume most people have a good idea of what odds mean. For example, what protects us from a commercial passenger jet crashing into this building and injuring or killing us? The roof and walls of this building are not strong enough. Why not? It is because the cost of a building like that is not worth it compared to the risk of a plane crashing into this particular building, or any particular building - even those close to airports.
For the proposed Yucca Mountain repository, science informs us that, yes, some bad consequences COULD happen, but the odds are so great, we might as well worry about being hit by a meteorite. Shipments of used fuel consist of ceramic pellets that are able to be air cooled. The pellets are in their original fuel tubes, and further canned and shielded. Even if there was an accident that dumped pellets on the ground, they would just lie there and be cooled by the air. Trace amounts of radioactive particles might be released into the air, but anyone's exposure would be insignificant compared to the radiation exposure they get from natural sources. Natural sources account for four fifths of the average exposure in this country! Practically all the rest is from medical procedures-exposure we voluntarily get because the risks are worth the benefits.
I propose that in all planning we stop saying "Not in my backyard" and ask "What is our fair share of society’s burdens." If having the Yucca Mountain repository is Nevada's fair share, I'm all for it because it is such an easy share. In addition to being our fair share, the repository will bring benefits to the State: economic, technological and educational. Congress has said Yucca Mountain is our fair share. If we don't want it, what is our fair share?
Nevada purchases nearly 50% of it electrical power out of state, 10% of that is from nuclear power generation. How can this be cost effective for our citizens?
Given an extremely minute risk probability . . . has any of us considered the potential value of the spent fuel planned for Yucca Mountain “when” we begin “reprocessing”?
Can anyone envision Nevada as America’s foremost radiation research and reprocessing center? There is no doubt in my mind that reprocessing will become a way of life in our future.
Could Nevada’s education infrastructure be directed toward supporting a nuclear technology industry? With a non biased logical approach to scientific probability and study could we “re-think” a future for Nevada’s citizens? I would like to challenge this committee to think about it. Thank you.
I am willing to try and answer questions.
November 19, 2007
After learning about the public DOE hearing schedule and public comment period, we took advantage of the opportunity to offer comments in person at the scheduled Reno meeting. Below is the full text of our address to the public hearing group.
Click on any of the photos to enlarge
“Why Yucca Mountain Needs Nevada’s Citizens”
Good evening: My name is Gary Duarte, Director of US Nuclear Energy, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) foundation. I have been a Sparks, NV resident over 25 years. “Our Mission is to Influence Change in Public Opinion Towards Knowledgeable Citizens About Nuclear Energy and Waste Repository Issues”.
l We strongly believe it is very important to educate our citizens based on “scientific majority” and we bring our message to the public via our scientific presentations” so that citizens can understand our need to advance nuclear technology in America. Nuclear energy and the Yucca Mountain repository have very far reaching progressive implications to the future economy, business diversification and technological future for the educational system and commerce growth in Nevada. Our goal is to help our citizens and economic community to understand a visionary potential for our future.
l In the US over the past 30 years 2,700 shipments of spent nuclear fuel have been completed safely by both government and industry, worldwide more than 70,000 metric tons have been transported in 20,000 casks. As responsible citizens, WE MUST think beyond OUR BACKYARD, city, state and even our US government! Spent nuclear waste is growing on a worldwide scale and America must participate in the transportation and storage technology as an expanding scientific resolution to these challenges.
l The construction of a railroad system for Yucca Mountain is a billion dollar project, an opportunity to diversify Nevada’s economy. It is also my understanding that the Department of Energy plans to allow a shared use of the system for other commerce transportation.
l The DOE indicates that the rail shipment method is the quickest and most preferred spent fuel transportation scenario. I agree with this choice and I urge Nevada’s citizens to support approval, funding and construction of this railroad as soon as possible.
l Nevada politicians, media and other factions of the state have opposed this nuclear repository for reasons other than pure science. Our mission is “Bringing Science to Citizens”. To empower them with sufficient knowledge to make informed “logical” decisions about the science study of Yucca Mountain.
l The media has not provided “equal time” to proponents of nuclear energy and the Yucca Mountain repository and this propagates a misleading representation of the issues to Nevada’s citizens and America.
l Opposition to the 20 year study of Yucca Mountain defies logic. We challenge any opposing people to “prove the instability of Yucca Mountain as a nuclear repository” to the “majority” of scientists who have proven it IS the best repository location choice for Americas nuclear waste material.
l Having toured Yucca Mountain in 2006, the scientific analysis applied to this “tuff” volcanic rock mountain is astounding. Anyone reviewing the science applied to studying this site who comes away pessimistic or in opposition to its construction has to be lacking in common since, average logic, or both and I challenge them to prove otherwise!
I urge the Department of Energy, and the citizens of Nevada to contact their representatives to move forward with approving the licensing and construction of the Yucca Mountain Project and its transportation railroad system.
I would like to compliment the DOE on the simplified repository design which reduces worker exposure and improves overall safety. Also, the modified transportation and disposal containers which also reduce waste handling procedures.
Anyone wishing further information can also contact US Nuclear Energy at www.usnuclearenergy.org and we will be happy to provide additional information for your review.
A Sincere effort of Major importance to America-Nuclear Energy!