Environment | National

Timbisha Shoshone Tribe protests Yucca Mountain nuclear report






A view of Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Photo from Department of Energy

The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe slammed a new environmental analysis for the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada.

Chairman George Gholson said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission failed to adequately consider the impacts to his people. Nuclear waste could contaminate the water that supplies the reservation but the agency concluded that the tribe "would not experience disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects" from the project.

“We’re asking down the road to accept the possibility of contamination,” Gholson told the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects, a state agency that also has been critical of the project, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. “We can’t pick up our reservation and move it.”

The NRC released a final supplement to the environmental impact statement for Yucca Mountain on May 5. The report notes that the tribe's surface and groundwater rights have been confirmed by Congress through the Timbisha Shoshone Homeland Act.


Nearly two dozen tribes are located near the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada. Source: Department of Energy

According to the NRC, the groundwater flow path from Yucca Mountain leads to Death Valley National Park in California, where the tribe's reservation is located. But the report claims that the potential contamination would be very low, a conclusion that was also reached by the Department of Energy.

The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe isn't the only one impacted by the waste facility. Nearly two dozen tribes in Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado and Utah are in the area.

The site itself is located on land that was promised to the Western Shoshone people under the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley. Plans call for the storage of 77,000 tons of highly radioactive waste there.

Get the Story:
Nevada panel, tribe call out NRC on Yucca groundwater contamination concerns (The Las Vegas Review-Journal 5/10)
Leader: New Yucca Mountain report ignores impact on tribe (AP 5/10)

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