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Does Public Citizen Support Opening Yucca Mountain?
Support by Public Citizen for opening a permanent storage facility for spent nuclear fuel would be the logical conclusion of the concerns they expressed at a July 28th Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) meeting. The meeting focused on the “Recommendations for Enhancing Reactor Safety in the 21st Century” report by the Commission’s Japan Task Force.

PC complained at the meeting that “the task force fails to address the risks associated with spent fuel pool vulnerabilities.” The consumer watchdog correctly noted that “Fuel pools were designed for the temporary storage of a limited number of spent fuel assemblies” and discussed hazards that could be posed if a disaster resulted in the loss of water in the cooling pools.

PC’s concerns should lead to them calling for the federal government to open Yucca Mountain or a similar repository – a storage solution for which nuclear utilities and their customers have paid tens of billions of dollars in federal fees to fund.

Unfortunately, instead of seriously addressing the policy issues associated with the safe long-term storage of spent nuclear materials, Public Citizen retreated into the realm of fantasy. PC’s favored energy stance is for the US to “phase out nuclear power in favor of sustainable, safe, efficient and renewable energy.” Needless to say, Public Citizen provided no details as to how these unnamed energy sources would provide generating capacity equal to today’s nuclear facilities, the cost of building them, or the various safety hazards and trade-offs that are inevitably associated with exploitation of any source of energy.

One of President Johnson’s Great Society programs was Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), now part of AmeriCorps. In 1967, VISTA began using the recruitment slogan, “If you're not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

Coupling dogmatic opposition to virtually all industrial-scale energy production modes with an instance on vacuous “policies” that balance sheer nonsense with a complete lack of substance means that, by Great Society standards, Public Citizen has chosen to be part of the problem.

See Public Citizen Statement

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