Yucca Mountain

I'm going to break with the Democratic Party here, and say that I'm for sending our nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Why? Because, despite what the protesters will tell you, Nevada is largely a wasteland. I should know, I lived there for 5 years.

Nevada is largely desolate, and, with the exception of Las Vegas, it's not the kind of land that people are clamoring to live on. The Federal government still owns a large chunk of the state, and they used to detonate nuclear bombs on it and under it. If you were given the task of choosing a location for the nation's nuclear waste, you'd want to choose someplace with a small population, stable seismic history, and ability to be defended from sabotage. Nevada meets all those criteria, and is practically the only place that does. Due to its legacy as a nuclear testing ground, it's perfect.

My parents live in the state, and they're against the Yucca Mountain plan. Why? When I asked my mom why, she said Nevada didn't produce any of the nuclear waste, so they don't think they should store it. While Nevada is blessed with the Hoover Dam, and all the electricity that comes with it, occasionally you have to look at the greater good, and in this case, that means putting all of our nuclear waste into one highly defensible and stable location, where it can be properly stored, monitored, and handled. Yucca Mountain is the best location we have.

A lot of the other fear-mongering comes from the job of transporting the nuclear waste to the storage location. This has been done for years, the DOE has been shipping nuclear waste around for a long time, with no problems. The casks that have been developed to contain the nuclear waste are almost indestructible, they're designed to survive horrific crashes, drops from large heights, fires, being submerged in water, you name it.

This is the legacy of nuclear power, you get nuclear waste, but it's relatively small and easy to contain, compared to what you get from burning coal, or other non-clean energy sources. I'm also a proponent of expanded nuclear power within the U.S. It's (relatively) clean, it's efficient, it's safe, and reliable. After Chernobyl, the thought of a nuclear plant in their state fills many with dread, regardless of the fact that our light-water reactors simply aren't possible of that type of meltdown. When our water boils off, the reaction stops, it doesn't escalate out of control, it's a fundamentally different design.

Until we've got more efficient clean energy generation capabilities, nuclear power is going to remain necessary, and we're going to need someplace to store all the waste. Yucca Mountain is the best place.