Tuesday, November 16 2010 1:42 PM EST2010-11-16 18:42:59 GMT
The issues surrounding the use of nuclear power are well known to Nevadans, largely because of the prolonged debate about waste storage at Yucca Mountain. While Nevada has no nuke plants, the state once again finds itself in the cross hairs of someone else's nuclear plans -- a proposal to build a power plant right next door.More>>
The DOE has given the green light to a massive cleanup project that will remove a mountain of radioactive garbage that sits on the banks of the Colorado River. George Knapp of the I-Team has followed this story since the '90s. More>>
Some 28 million people get their drinking water from the Colorado River. Anything dumped into the river goes into our valley water supply. So why has the federal government failed to clean up a pile of radioactive waste that sits directly on the river? More>>
A gigantic pile of radioactive dirt that sits right on the edge of the Colorado River may not get cleaned up after all. The public has until Friday to comment on the DOE's options. Read on for more information.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 8:13 PM EDT2013-06-19 00:13:36 GMT
PAHRUMP, Nev. -- A fight between senators in Washington, D.C., could resurrect the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear storage project in Nye County. Nye County leaders met Tuesday to support the openingMore>>
A fight between senators in Washington, D.C., could resurrect the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear storage project in Nye County.More>>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 1:22 AM EDT2013-06-19 05:22:23 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- US Thrill Rides LLC Incorporated has submitted plans to the FAA to create a 650-foot roller coaster near the Tropicana Hotel. The Florida based company is remaining tight lipped on any ofMore>>
US Thrill Rides LLC Incorporated has submitted plans to the FAA to create a 650-foot roller coaster near the Tropicana Hotel.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 10:49 PM EDT2013-06-19 02:49:28 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Clark County Fire Department is battling a fire at a house near Russell Road and Spencer Street. According to the fire department's website, the fire started at around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.More>>
A grass fire ignited a house in the 5400 block of Escondido Street, near Russell Road and Spencer Street, Tuesday afternoon.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 9:50 PM EDT2013-06-19 01:50:28 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officer has been relieved of duty after pleading guilty to charges of possession of a controlled substance. Officer Ramin Amely was charged with two felonyMore>>
A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officer has been relieved of duty after pleading guilty to charges of possession of a controlled substance.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:14 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:14:30 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Three major resort projects in Las Vegas could be the boost the local economy needs. The construction and hospitality industries have struggled since the recession, but signs of a reboundMore>>
Three major resort projects in Las Vegas could be the boost the local economy needs. The construction and hospitality industries have struggled since the recession, but signs of a rebound are emerging.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:08 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:08:21 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Clark County residents could soon be paying nearly 3 cents more a gallon for fuel, depending on a decision by county commissioners. The Nevada Legislature recently approved a bill that allowsMore>>
Clark County residents could soon be paying nearly 3 cents more a gallon for fuel, depending on a decision by county commissioners.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 6:18 PM EDT2013-06-18 22:18:45 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- A domestic violence nonprofit organization that helps rescue women from violent relationships, is now itself in need of saving. Safe Faith United might have to shut its doors July 1 becauseMore>>
A domestic violence nonprofit organization that helps rescue women from violent relationships, is now itself in need of saving.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 5:26 PM EDT2013-06-18 21:26:50 GMT
HENDERSON -- Imagine tens of thousands of children around the world learning to swim all at the same time. That's what happened Tuesday as part of "The World's Largest Swimming Lesson." The swimmingMore>>
Imagine tens of thousands of children around the world learning to swim all at the same time. That's what happened Tuesday as part of "The World's Largest Swimming Lesson."More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 3:33 PM EDT2013-06-18 19:33:34 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Motorcyclists and local authorities are using "Ride to Work" day to remind everyone to share the road. This year, there has been 16 motorcycle deaths in Nevada. John Cahill is an experiencedMore>>
Motorcyclists and local authorities are using "Ride to Work" day to remind everyone to share the road.More>>
LAS VEGAS -- A proposal to build a nuclear power plant in Utah could have a major impact on southern Nevada's water supply, since the plant would consume 50,000 acre feet of water per year -- water that would not flow into the Colorado River.
But there's another nuclear-related controversy in Utah with direct implications for Nevada. A gigantic pile of radioactive garbage is leaking into the river, a story the I-Team has been covering for 10 years.
When we first started reporting about the gigantic pile of muck back in the late 90's, there was little appetite for moving it away from the river. The most the government wanted to do was put a cap on it and leave it where it was. But that solution was pretty weak, and finally the huge mess is being moved away from the water supply.
Environmentalist Sarah Fields has waited years to see the massive earth-moving project on the banks of the Colorado. The target is a mountain of uranium tailings -- up to 16 million tons of trouble.
For decades, it has stood out like a sore thumb in the picturesque canyon country around Moab, Utah, a Mecca for hikers, bikers, and rafters whose dollars keep the local economy humming along.
The tailings pile is left over from the uranium boom of the 1950's. Every single day it leaches up to 120,000 gallons of radioactive gunk into the river, including arsenic and mercury. The problem is bad enough to create a zone of death in the Colorado River. If a catastrophic flood occurred, the entire pile could be washed into the river at once, so the muck simply had to go.
"It's a relief," said Fields. "It is a continuous source of uranium and ammonia and other contaminants going into the Colorado River and it would stay here forever."
It took years of pressure from environmental groups, and a few states, to coax the federal government into cleaning up the mess. The only western water officials who did not raise a fuss about the threat to the water supply were those of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, whose second in command told us 10 years ago not to worry about any radioactive material entering the river from the pile because it would "dissipate."
"Right. It's just really magic," said Fields. "It would be really tragic if it did go into the river. The floodplain of the Colorado River is not a secure place."
It will take 20 years and billions of dollars to move the entire pile. Already, two million tons of contaminated goo have been loaded into containers, hauled by trucks up to a rail line, and sent by train to Grand County, Utah for burial. Stimulus funds have paid for crews to work 24 hours a day, but that extra money is unlikely to be renewed. Residents worry the entire budget could be axed. The loss of so many workers would be tough on the Moab economy, but leaving the pile in place would be worse.
"It is a jolt for the economy, but I don't think that is the best economic model to create a big mess somewhere that 50 years down the pike you have to clean up, particularly at taxpayers expense," said Fields.
And what of the new storage site? Might that be a disaster in the making? The folks who live in the area are not exactly frightened.
"I will tell you that the native soil we are standing on is probably more radioactive than those tailings," said Mike McCandless with Emory County Economic Development.
Utah is uranium country. Residents have lived with natural radiation all their lives, so opposition to the tailings was minimal in Grand County. Thirteen miles away in Green River, locals are ready to welcome the first nuclear power plant to be built in the U.S. in decades. The tiny town is about to become ground zero in the national debate about nuclear power.
Opponents have tried to convince the locals that poisoned tailings are one of the least harmful legacies of nuclear energy, that the spent fuel can't be stored safely, and that a nuke plant would use too much water, endanger the river and imperil their future.
"We have had a bunch of people who were concerned and held a hearing basically trying to convince the community that you don't want this. And I don't know a better way to word this, but they were run out of town on a rail. They were basically asked to leave and worry about their own town," said McCandless.
SNWA has said in the past that the levels of radiation in Lake Mead are too low to even worry about -- way below federal standards -- and that they saw no need to make a big stink about the Moab muck pile since soundbites don't solve anything.
Support in Utah for the nuclear power plant is pretty strong, and if Nevada isn't involved in the debate yet, we'd better get a seat at the table pretty soon.