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Yucca Mountain: A project only Toxic Avengers can love

Today, the office of Nevada Attorney General and Executive Cougar of state law, Catherine Cortez Mastro, filed a formal petition asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reject the DOE’s application for a license to build the enormous-friggin’ nuclear waste dump 90 miles north of the Las Vegas Valley. While the distance from the city to the dump is marginal at best, especially considering the seismic activity like the 1992 magnitude 5.6-magnitude quake that shook the area or the 4.7-magnitude one that shook the area in 1999, it’s probably only a matter of time until “the big one” hits and sends tons of toxic nuclear waste downhill, right into Vegas.

And while I’m a huge fan of the idea that our everyday citizens could possibly be turned into hordes of Toxic Avenger-like beings roaming the strip and downtown looking to fight crime and rid the city of the homeless, the odds are more likely we’ll all just end up dying in painful, horrible cancer-filled deaths -- sparing us the glory (or anything else) of being featured in any future Troma films.

Among the report, some of the more “glaring” deficiencies in the mountain dump are:

-- Lack of a final radiation health protection standard against which the DOE’s proposed repository is to be evaluated.

-- Lack of final NRC repository licensing regulations.

-- Absence of a final design for the repository.

-- Absence of final design information for the multipurpose canister system that is intended to store, transport and dispose of spent fuel.

-- Reliance on engineered barriers (thousands of titanium drip shields) for meeting health and safety standards that DOE does not intend to install in the repository until 300 years after waste has been emplaced, assuming they can be installed at all given the scarcity of titanium and the staggering costs involved.

Is emplaced even a word!? Never mind that, though, the fact that there’s no “final design” leaves us to think only one thing: Perhaps the DOE is actually looking at turning us all into hideously wicked awesome crime-fighting anthromorphic creatures to, you know, fight terrorism or illegal immigration -- something like that.

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Aaron Thompson

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