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ENVIRONMENT REPORT - Yucca Mountain Proposed Nuclear Waste Area

作者:Jerilyn Watson 发布日期:6-29-2001

This is the VOA Special English Environment Report.

The Environmental Protection Agency has set limits for the radiation permitted to leak from a proposed nuclear waste burial center in the state of Nevada. The action will help decide whether the federal government can build the nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain.

The dump would be used to bury about seventy-thousand tons of nuclear waste. The waste includes used nuclear fuel from power centers and waste from the production of nuclear weapons. The waste is now stored at power centers around the country.

Yucca Mountain is owned by the federal government. No one lives there. It is in an extremely dry area more than one-hundred-forty-five kilometers northwest of Las Vegas.

The administration of President Bush believes a nuclear waste dump should be developed there. It says this dump is needed to permit an increase in nuclear power centers. Federal officials support more use of nuclear power because of the nation's energy problems. But Nevada state officials strongly oppose the plan. The dispute about Yucca Mountain has continued for almost twenty years.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently established radiation limits for groundwater, air and soil near Yucca Mountain. Both sides claimed that the agency ruling helped their cause. Department of Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham says his agency can meet the new requirements. Mister Abraham says the government may continue with the project by the end of the year.

But the two United States senators from Nevada oppose the project. They say the new restrictions will help efforts to block it. And the new Senate majority leader says the Senate will not pass legislation to build the nuclear waste dump.

The federal government says Yucca Mountain is a good place for a nuclear waste dump because of its lack of population and low rainfall.

But opponents say Yucca Mountain is near inactive volcanoes. They say earthquakes also have taken place in the area. And they say the nuclear waste would have to be transported through forty states to reach the proposed dump. They fear accidents could happen during this travel.

This VOA Special English Environment Report was written by Jerilyn Watson.

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