Yucca Mountain coverage biased

  Dear HCN,

Nobody has more distrust of the government in affairs radioactive than I do. My credentials are impeccable. My brother and I both had occurrences of thyroid cancer 20 years after leaving Richland, Wash., where we grew up at the Hanford plant in the '40s and '50s. Most likely we were contaminated by drinking milk laced with radioactive iodine that emanated from the plant that supposedly released no radioactivity.

Even in this context, I am very disappointed in your article on Yucca Mountain (HCN, 7/2/01: Can Nevada bury Yucca Mountain?). It was unacceptably biased in a NIMBY sort of way. Certainly there are very important sides of the story that are missing, such as the threat that will face our nation if we don't use the Nevada site. Your writers seem to be immersed in the Nevada propaganda machine, fueled in part by some very poor and misleading science on the part of Nevada consultants. Of course, the federal scientists haven't covered themselves with glory either, especially in the early days of the project.

There is plenty of blame and shame to go around in this controversy and some of the background politics are downright frightening. But you do the environmental movement no favor with blatant one-sidedness and you insult the intelligence of your readers seeking to be educated on a topic.

Orrin H. Pilkey
Durham, North Carolina
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