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  • With Record Unemployment, Is Now the Time to Kill Yucca?

    Relying heavily on the slots and roulette tables to bring in revenue, it’s no surprise this recession hit Nevada’s economy especially hard:

    The Silver State’s unemployment rose to 12.5 percent in July, while joblessness in especially hard-hit Las Vegas surged to 13.1 percent. It’s the highest jobless rate both statewide and locally since the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation began tracking data in 1976.

    Bill Anderson, chief economist with the employment department, said Nevada remains mired in the longest, deepest recession since World War II, and recent labor-market trends don’t hint at any improvement. Joblessness in Nevada jumped 1.9 percentage points from April to June, the biggest three-month spike on record. Nevada shed nearly 28,000 jobs in the three-month period, including 15,000 jobs from June to July alone.”

    One way for Nevada to make up some ground would be to reengage the nuclear industry. Yucca Mountain, the most studied geologic nuclear materials repository in the world, would generate over 2700 jobs during peak operations. It is not just those jobs that are at stake. According to a report done by the Department of Energy, stopping Yucca will kill 4700 jobs in the region influenced by the project. Unfortunately, this is precisely what Congress and the Obama Administration is about to do. Darren Goode of CongressDaily reports,

    “House and Senate Democrats are well on their way to helping the Obama administration kill Nevada’s Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. Both chambers have approved FY10 Energy and Water Appropriations bills that match the administration’s $197 million request to let the Energy Department officially keep the project open on paper for a year while funding Energy Secretary Chu’s blue ribbon panel to develop an alternative plan for storing and managing nuclear waste.”

    But Yucca Mountain is just the beginning of the story when it comes to opportunity lost for Nevada. The state potentially holds significant leverage because of Yucca Mountain. Instead of rejecting the spent fuel repository, Nevada could have set itself up as the nuclear technology capital of the U.S. at a time when countries across the globe are looking to nuclear technology to meet their energy and environmental goals. Such a strategy could result in thousands of high paying, highly skilled jobs at the exact time that Nevada could use them.

    While no one can predict exactly what sorts of facilities would be built, there are plenty of examples to go by. For example, where better to build a nuclear fuel recycling facility then next to a spent fuel repository? Building a recycling plant, according to some estimates, would create 5000 jobs. As the U.S. builds more plants, it is certainly going to need more fuel, so how about an enrichment facility? One such plant in New Mexico will employ some 321 workers.

    And with these new opportunities, the residents of Nevada will need plenty of clean, affordable power, so how about some nuclear power plants? At over a 1000 workers per plant, depending on the number of reactors, we are talking real, long-term jobs. Furthermore, there are research and development facilities that could be built to support innovation in the nuclear industry.

    Nevada could be the nuclear capital of the world – if its politicians allow it so.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    18 Responses to With Record Unemployment, Is Now the Time to Kill Yucca?

    1. Frank McKinnon, Rosw says:


      Nuclear energy should be phased out as soon as possible. The nuclear industry has had more than 60 years to figure out how to safely dispose of nuclear waste. If it could be done, they would have done it by now.

      The facility that you mention in New Mexico (WIPP) is in an area where corrosive groundwater flows abundantly. It is not a good place to store radioactive materials. There will come a day, hopefully, before it is too late, when the radioactive materials that have been burried at WIPP will be dug up and transported to a better location.

      It is careless and irresponsible to play on the vulnerability of the jobless who have been misled by the sort of sinsiter rhetoric that is being used to promote nuclear energy and reprocessing nuclear waste.

      Before you continue promoting the nuclear industry, please study the harm that uranium mining, milling, enrichment and reprocessing has already done to people. There is some information regarding this on my web site http://www.frankmckinnon.com

      Although, this is not a personal attack,

      I don't expect you to publish this, because you are working for the Heritage Foundation. From what I have seen of the Heritage Foundation, caring about the suffering, injuries and deaths that will be caused by what it promotes doesn't seem to be happening.


      Frank McKinnon

    2. Judi Portland, Orego says:

      What are all the "smart" people in Washington, D.C. doing? Do they truly understand what their proposals are doing to our country?

      I sure hope we also can drill in our country for oil. I can't believe the Obama administration has agreed to loan money to Brazil to drill off-shore. I am aghast!

    3. Rod Adams says:

      Please tell me I am wrong – is this a Heritage Foundation blog post actually recommending a "make work" jobs program funded by the government?

      I am a big believer in used fuel recycling, but most of the raw material is on the other side of a very large mountain range from Nevada. Why would Nevada be a better location than someplace in the middle of the country – like Tennessee – that already has a large cadre of well qualified and trained people for the task of training additional workers?

      A private enterprise endeavor interested in used fuel recycling would not choose Nevada because of the major effort required to find the right kinds of people (get rich quick gamblers do not belong in nuclear energy enterprises) and the difficulty of moving the available raw material from its current location to the recycling center.

      Rod Adams

      Publisher, Atomic Insights

      Host and producer, The Atomic Show Podcast

      Founder, Adams Atomic Engines, Inc.

    4. Steven Tungate says:

      It's just baffling to me that our country the greatest country in the history of the world does not embrace nuclear technology as a means of alternative commerical fuel source. After decades of study proving that 3mile island wasn't the "China Syndrome" as it was protrayed in the cinema in fact ever emergency procedured worked flawlessly the film should be used as an advertisement on how safe the US nuclear program's are and we've only improved on them.

    5. Larry Dittmer, Illin says:

      Nuclear power is safer than coal power. My wife's grandfather died in a coal mine. A few hundred pounds fell from the ceiling. His fellow miners dug him out in a minute, but he suffocated. That is common in coal mines. The dangers of nuclear power equipment are real, but they don't compare with the danger of coal. I am a power engineer with 40 years of experience working on equipment.

    6. Russell Jones Fayett says:

      Why are we skirting around the truth when it so very obvious? The politicians are not representing all of us they are simply representing themselves and we keep electing them. How many examples of the government ignoring the will of the people will it take before America wakes up? Thanks to Heritage Foundation for your great work. Hopefully enough people will read and understand someday.

    7. Bobbie Jay says:

      This would be productive, profitable employment and IS NEEDED.

      "make work" is having staff at a hospital, there to point where the information is written on a sign, something people can figure out themselves) having a person in position to answer questions pertaining to the situation where the staff doesn't have the answer. Inefficient and this is experienced.

      Make work is something that once ran efficiently, now run inefficiently and costly by creating senseless employment or dividing one job to make five.

    8. Normca says:

      No nuclear, no coal, no fossil fuels, no drilling off the west and east coast – heck is anyone willing to make a sacrifice ? Oh – $2 billion to Brazil to drill for oil. The disposal site in NV – you voters in NV; get rid of Dirty, Smellie Harry [the guy who calls Americans - terrorists and wanted to lose a war]and then expand the dumps site while making it as safe as possible. Make work programs – shovel ready projects. If everyone keeps on whining about every set back; nothing will be accomplished – go live in Venezuela.

    9. Jack Spencer Jack Spencer says:

      Rod, You are WRONG! Oh so very wrong. The Heritage Foundation has an established track record of free-market public policy ideas regarding nuclear energy. This blog post simply states that much of the nuclear industry would very much like to see Yucca Mountain open and could be willing to place other commerical nuclear facilities in the area if Yucca were to open. We do not suggest that the federal government own, build or operate any said facilities. Quite the opposite. We believe that they should be completely privately owned, financed and operted.

      We don't make any judgements about whether such facilities should be built there. Likewise, we don't think that Washington politicians should be making those decision either. These should be decisions made between industry and host communities.

    10. Tim AZ says:

      I know it appears that Mao-Bama has extreme contempt for Nevada and he even singled the State out a few times. But the truth is he holds extreme contempt for America and everything it stands for. So don't take his extreme prejudices personally. We are all infidels in his eye's.

    11. John Roane Sarasota says:

      We better find a way to store it as it’s our future as long as they won't let us drill. We found new oil deposits that would yield 130 years of oil. Why do we need to continue to purchase and not developed our own?

      Given this as an interim measure we could then develop other sources at a safer and more cost effective manner.

    12. Frank McKinnon, Rosw says:

      We have the technology to produce all of our energy needs with the wind, the sun, and reusable water. Renewable energy has the potential to produce ten times as many good paying jobs as the conventional energy industry does.

      Oil is a good thing to have for making ashfault, plastics, etc… But we no longer need to use it as a fuel.

      Coal and nuclear energy are both very harmful to people.

      If you study the causes of most wars, during the past several decades, you will find that, in most cases, it involves an oil pipeline or nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.

      Renewable energy is just now becoming a priority, and it is exciting to see renewable energy projects across the country taking root.

    13. Jerry from Chicago says:

      The good people of Nevada need to keep the unemployment figures in mind at the next election. They can express their thanks to Harry Reid. And when the time comes, they can thank their Congressmen and Mr. Obama, as well.

    14. Nelson Lee Walker says:

      The best answer to this question and any other question is to throw Congress OUT!

      There is only one infallible, unstoppable way to get Term Limits in Congress: NEVER REELECT ANY INCUMBENT! AND DO IT EVERY TIME!

      Most folks think I am too unreasonable in asking everyone to NEVER REELECT ANYONE IN CONGRESS. They think it’s an extremist position. But that’s the whole point! Congress will never listen to us UNLESS we scare the bejesus out of them! To drive the point home, NEVER REELECT ANYONE IN CONGRESS, AND DO IT EVERY ELECTION!

      The closer we get to a “Voter’s One-Term Congress”, the closer we’ll get to real term limits on Congress, and a “Citizen’s Congress”.

      There is only one way to make term limits happen : The American voter must IMPOSE term limits on Congress by NEVER REELECTING ANYONE IN CONGRESS, AND DO IT EVERY ELECTION! In other words, don't let anyone serve more than one term. That's the only way to teach them that the voter is boss! The “one term limit” can be eased AFTER citizens get control of Congress.

      Congress will never allow us to constitutionally term limit them. Our only choice is to NEVER REELECT them. All of them!

      Remember too, it makes no difference who you vote for, as long as it is NEVER any incumbent.

      I believe that even a little success in a campaign to NEVER REELECT ANYONE IN CONGRESS would move us a long way toward a revolutionary change in American politics, much like 1776. Some of the reasons in favor of this approach:

      • It gives us a one-term, term limited Congress without using amendments

      • It would be supported by 70% of the country who want term limits for Congress

      • It is completely non-partisan

      • If repeated, it ends career politicians dominating Congress

      • It opens the way to a “citizen Congress”

      • It ends the seniority system that keeps freshmen powerless

      • It doesn’t cost you any money. But you MUST vote! Just don’t vote for an incumbent

      • It is the only guaranteed, infallible, unstoppable way to “Throw ALL the Bums Out”

      • It takes effect immediately on Election Day

      • If it doesn’t work, do it again and again! It will work eventually, I promise.


    15. Carol in az says:

      no job development.

      no infrastructure development.

      No stimulus $$$ for job recovery for Buss. Technology and private sector.

      Yesterday I learned that along with the thousands of jobless in America 400,000 more working Americans'will be losing their job this week and the next week and the next….across America.

      The second wave of forclosures from this crisis will be unpresented.

      Meanwhile no problem solving ,from D.C., speaking about this crisis.

      Imgiane the Gov't run program for taking care of all of these people and their families enrolled in, a Gov't run program that currently is, 36 trillion dollars in debt.

      Imagine the blindless, mindless acts of bipatisan indecison, to ignore the most basic problem in America which is putting Americans' back to work.

      Where is T. Roosevelt and FDR and the wisdom of history who both resovled the same problems.

      All the Health care drama has re-focus the attention away form these issues but why isn't the mainline press pounding out these stats every night and forcing our elected Reps., an our nation to take action over inaction.

      Frankly I'm surprise there have not been riots in major cities .

    16. Tim Az says:

      We have nothing to fear Mao-Bama just gave George Soros Billions of Tax payer's dollars to drill and develop oil wells in Brazil we are saved. I'm sure Goerge will give us a break on his oil.

    17. Vince Rinchiuso,Texa says:

      Seems to me that the U.S. would of really been better off if nothing was done by the current administration.People would still be working and America would still be "going on". Nuclear energy is not the only advanced energy source they have-one "place" is studying plasma energy.For instance they shot a laser into the plasma and in a 3 second burst created the equivalent in energy output to the total output of one year in the U.S. The heat created was hotter than the sun-by the way heat can be converted to electricity also.It was amazing what they devised to contain that amount of heat.All in all it seems to me at this time no matter what we be told,see or what happens one thing slowly at a time as in erosion—the "Agenda" will be put forth.Do you think you still have a choice -is it already in place??? Time will tell but in the end they will lose-it is written so it shall be done.

    18. Bill Nicholson K.C.K says:

      Kill it, and burn it.Give it up,YUCCA'S out dated already and it's not even finished.Cut the loses,support the President.

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