Thursday, March 19, 2009

Yucca Mountain and "What Might Have Been"

Bob McCracken from Nye County in Nevada has kept track for years a list of benefits Nevada could have enjoyed for hosting used nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain. In response to the Obama Administration's recent decision to cut funding to Yucca Mountain, Bob decided to lay it all out on what might have been:

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The original Yucca Mountain legislation included a provision by which Nevada could negotiate with the federal government for benefits as compensation for accepting the repository. Nevada totally ignored this provision.

* If Yucca Mountain had been built, its construction would have generated thousands of high-paying jobs in Southern Nevada and hundreds of permanent positions once the facility was in operation.

* Nye County could have collected large sums for property taxes on Yucca Mountain and its associated support industries into the indefinite future. So large was the Yucca Mountain project, one could have purchased the entire Las Vegas Strip and more for its planned cost.

* At one point Nevada was informally offered the superconducting supercollider, the world's largest particle accellerator, that the United States wanted to build 20 years ago, valued at between $4 and $10 billion, for accepting Yucca Mountain.

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* Nevada was also offered a high-speed super train between Los Angeles and Las Vegas as part of the supercollider offer. Its value would have been at least $5 billion, probably closer to $10 billion. Think what that would have done to bring in the tourists and alleviate area transportation woes. The train could have seeded America with advanced train technology; instead, that is the domain of Europe and Asia. Go overseas if you want to ride a fast train.

* At one point, Nevada was offered a multi-billion-dollar nuclear medicine and energy research facility to be connected with UNLV and housed on the Nevada Test Site for accepting the repository. That, like the other offers, was dead on arrival. How many cancer patients would be alive today if the offer had been accepted?

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* Nye County could have been a world-class site for development and dissemination of science and technology information on nuclear power and other clean energy sources.

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And the list goes on ...

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