Senate Joint Resolution No. 4

Urging the Congress of the United States
not to enact the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1999.

1-2 Senate Joint Resolution No. 4–Senators James, Porter, Titus, Rawson, Carlton,1-3 Amodei, Care, Coffin, Mathews, McGinness, O’Connell, O’Donnell, Raggio,Rhoads, 1-4 Schneider, Townsend, Washington and Wiener

February 8, 1999

1-7 Joint Sponsors: Assemblymen Perkins, Buckley, Cegavske, Gibbons, Williams, 1-8 Anderson, Angle, Bache, Berman, Carpenter, Chowning, Claborn, Collins, de Braga, 1-9 Evans, Freeman, Giunchigliani, Gustavson, Hettrick, Humke, Koivisto, Lee, Manendo, 1-10 McClain, Mortenson, Neighbors, Ohrenschall, Parks, Price, Segerblom, Thomas, Tiffany 1-11 and Von Tobel

Declared an Emergency Measure

SUMMARY — Urges Congress not to enact Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1999. (BDR R-1449)
FISCAL NOTE: Effect on Local Government: No.e ffect on the State or on Industrial Insurance: No.

Whereas, Few environmental challenges have proven more daunting than the problems posed by high-level nuclear waste; and

Whereas, The proposed Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1999 is a disastrous response to these problems and if enacted would attack state authority, create massive taxpayer liabilities and unwisely require an "interim" storage facility for high-level nuclear waste which would directly threaten the environment; and

Whereas, By requiring construction of an "interim" storage facility at the Nevada Test Site, the proposed Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1999 would require the unprecedented shipment of high-level nuclear waste through 43 states endangering the lives of fifty million American citizens who live within one-half mile of the proposed transportation routes; and

Whereas, Although there is the expectation that high-level nuclear waste at reactors will eventually have to be moved, the provisions of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1999 exacerbate the risk of this dangerous activity; and

Whereas, Despite the serious flaws with the proposed Yucca Mountain site, studies are being conducted to determine whether the site is capable of hosting a permanent repository for high-level nuclear waste, but if enacted, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1999 would prejudice those studies by explicitly revoking federal regulations that establish guidelines for determining the suitability of the site; and

Whereas, Upon the revocation of such regulations, requirements for establishing the characteristics of the site, such as the time it takes for water to travel and climactic stability, would be eliminated, thereby undermining the integrity of any determination regarding the suitability of the site for the storage of high-level nuclear waste; and

Whereas, A major cause for concern in designating the Nevada Test Site as the "interim" storage facility is the high seismic activity that has been taking place in the area, including seven earthquakes just last month at 3.0 or greater with three jolts recorded at a magnitude of between 4.3 and 4.7 that struck at the eastern edge of the site; and

Whereas, Geologists have expressed concern over this seismic activity stating that these recent earthquakes are part of a swarm of tremblors that have occurred along the Rock Valley Fault zone, including a 5.8 magnitude quake on June 29, 1992, at Little Skull Mountain, which knocked out windows, cracked walls and brought down ceiling panels at a fields operations center approximately 12 miles from the site of the proposed repository; and

Whereas, Federal law directs the Environmental Protection Agency to enact regulations to protect the environment from repository radiation releases, but the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1999 prohibits all efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency to carry out this responsibility; and

Whereas, The reality is that the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1999 would create a single performance standard that would allow annual radiation exposures of up to 100 millirems to an average member of the surrounding population, a level four times the amount allowed by regulation for storage facilities; and

Whereas, The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1999 contains broad preemptions for environmental legislation including a provision stating that any state or local law that is "inconsistent" with the requirements of the proposed Act is preempted; and

Whereas, This proposed Act does not allow the Environmental Impact Statement to question the size, need or timing of any "interim" storage facility nor does it allow any questions relating to alternative locations or design criteria; and

Whereas, The proposed "interim" storage facility site will have a capacity of 40,000 MTUs which is sufficient space to store all of today’s commercial nuclear waste and the license is to be a 100-year renewable license which suggests that this proposed "interim" storage facility is expected to become permanent;

Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate and Assembly of the State of Nevada, Jointly, That the members of the 70th session of the Nevada Legislature do hereby urge the Congress of the United States not to enact the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1999, H.R. 45; and be it further Resolved, That the Nevada Legislature is opposed to any further consideration of the use of the Nevada Test Site as a national site for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste; and be it further

Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate prepare and transmit a copy of this resolution to the Vice President of the United States as the presiding officer of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and each member of the Nevada Congressional Delegation; and be it further Resolved, That this resolution becomes effective upon passage and approval.


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