Residents Frustrated About Nuclear Waste Shipments - 8 News NOW

Residents Frustrated About Nuclear Waste Shipments

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LAS VEGAS -- A deal is in place to bring radioactive materials to the Nevada National Security Site.

Las Vegas residents say they received no warning about the pending deal. That prompted many to attend a meeting Wednesday night by the U.S. Department of Energy and the State of Nevada.

The Nevada National Security Site sits 65 miles northwest of the Las Vegas valley. The facility is highly guarded and contains a very long history of nuclear development and testing.

Department of Energy officials say it's the perfect place to dispose of deadly nuclear waste.

"It is an arid environment. It has very low rainfall, and it has a very deep water table, so the conditions are ideal for disposal of this waste," Frank Marcinowski of the Department of Energy said.

Plans call for as many as 100 canister shipments to arrive from Tennessee as early as next year. The routes are confidential, because the nuclear material could be used to make weapons if it falls in the wrong hands.

"Additional security will be added to these particular shipments by a DOE program that will provide armed guards to escort these shipments to the site," Marcinowski said.

Department of Energy officials tried to answer questions about the materials ending up in the Silver State. Some residents aired their frustrations about the plan.

"I don't trust this being brought in. I don't like that this is being used as a dumping ground, and we deserve better," resident Morgan Blakely said.

Many concerned residents are worried about the contamination of ground water and health effects. Project leaders said there is little to no chance of the material getting out, and that the waste will be safely stored underground.

Others think the plan is a gamble Nevada should take.

"The State of Nevada is due money on this, not a little money, a lot of money, and that's what we want. We want their money to pay for this storage, for this storage container," business owner John Baietti said.

Governor Sandoval and other Nevada leaders oppose the plan, saying it opens the door to more waste coming to our state.

The Department of Energy plans to bring 400 canisters of waste to the site. The DOE wanted to start the shipments as early as January, but no firm timeline is in place.

Another public meeting takes place Thursday at 5 p.m. in Pahrump.

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