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E-M:/ Gubernatorial candidate positions on Yucca?



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Enviro-Mich message from Cyndi Roper <croper@cleanwater.org>
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According to George Weeks' July 9th Detroit News column ("Store waste in
one place, out of state"), gubernatorial candidates Granholm, Blanchard,
Posthumus and Schwarz have taken positions in SUPPORT of Yucca Mountain.
Although I was not surprised to learn of Posthumus' position -- which
reflects Engler's -- I was seeking confirmation on the other candidate
positions. 

Because Weeks supports the Yucca plan, the column portrayed David Bonior --
the only gubernatorial candidate who has publicly taken a position AGAINST
and voted AGAINST Yucca -- in a negative light. 

A few years ago, Bonior fought hard to keep plutonium shipments from going
through Michigan and on to Canada so it's not surprising that he took a
position against Yucca since a major objection of opponents -- like Clean
Water Action -- is the massive volumes of high-level nuclear waste that
would be shipped through communities all across Michigan.

Bonior clearly understands that the real debate needs to be about producing
clean energy and increasing efficiency. He believes we should be developing
wind power, manufacturing solar-powered shingles, and pursuing other
sustainable energy paths. Bonior speaks passionately -- and convincingly --
about  how Michigan can be a leader in new energy and cleanup technologies,
and he has outlined a plan for Michigan to become the Silicon Valley of the
Environmental Age.

Both Bonior and Stabenow (who was also portrayed negatively in the Weeks
column) took the time to listen to the facts about the "Yucca Plan for
Michigan".  While it is true that both have voted to support Yucca studies
in the past, their reviews of the scientific studies (and the
recommendations of the bodies overseeing the studies) have raised too many
questions in their minds to justify supporting the Yucca plan.

For those of you who have been following the debate closely (and it isn't
over just because Congress voted to approve yet another bailout of the
nuclear industry...this time it carries a $63 billion pricetag), the
following are a few key pieces of the"Yucca Plan for Michigan" that you
wouldn't know unless you had taken the time to review official government
documents produced by entities such as the U.S. Department of Energy
(U.S.D.O.E.), the U.S. General Accounting Office (U.S.G.A.O.), and
Congress' Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board:

1)	Yucca would NOT get the waste out of Michigan. The nuclear industry
certainly fooled (or one could use other terms to describe their success)
members of Congress, numerous editorial boards, and others into believing
this would be the case. According to the U.S.D.O.E.'s plan, by the year
2036 -- when Yucca is expected to be FULL -- it is estimated that
approximately 80% of the current amount of nuclear waste in Michigan will
still be here. So, clearly, the problem will not go away.

Further, because the nuclear utilities plan on operating their Michigan
reactors near St. Joseph, South Haven, and Monroe for years (and even
decades) to come, and they will continue generating high-level nuclear
waste at these facilities. This waste must be stored on-site for a minimum
of five years to cool (thermally and radioactively) before it can be
transported.

2)	The Yucca plan would actually move the waste CLOSER to the communities
of most Michigan residents. Go to www.mapscience.org and type in your home
address. The Yucca plan relies upon many hundreds of truck and train
shipments through the likes of Detroit, Ann Arbor, Bay City, Saginaw,
Flint, Lansing, Pontiac, Jackson, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, and
many more communities.

3)	The U.S.D.O.E.'s Final Environmental Impact Statement for Yucca Mountain
calls for NO LESS THAN 453 BARGE SHIPMENTS OF HIGH-LEVEL NUCLEAR WASTE ON
LAKE MICHIGAN. A projected 125 of these shipments would be barged from the
Palisades Nuclear Power Plant at South Haven north to the Port of Muskegon.
According to Weeks, Engler chided Stabenow for her opposition to the Yucca
plan, and he claimed that shipments won't happen until the U.S. and the
state government agree on a transit plan. Engler -- and others who argue
this position -- have clearly missed the point of this plan. Did officials
in Nevada have a voice in the government's decision to site the facility in
their state?

Amazingly, the "sound science" banner waving Congress is poised to approve
Yucca based on "weak to moderate science," according to the U.S. Nuclear
Waste Technical Review Board, a body created by Congress to oversee
U.S.D.O.E.'s scientific studies at Yucca. The Board also determined that
the science is full of large-scale uncertainties.

Further, U.S.G.A.O., the investigative arm of Congress, reported in
December that nearly 300 technical studies at Yucca are far from complete
and recommended that any site approval be postponed indefinitely.

In an action that was clearly based on politics and not on sound science,
U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham gave the go-ahead to Yucca just a few
weeks later.

Common sense and sound science dictate that the U.S.D.O.E. must go back to
the drawing board.

In the meantime, Michiganders are better off pressuring our elected
officials to make the nuclear industry protect us by securing the nuclear
waste they are so cavalierly storing on-site at Michigan's nuclear reactors.












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