|WASHINGTON - Days before President Bush was to visit Las Vegas, Democrats accused him of breaking his promise to Nevada by going ahead with efforts to establish the state\'s Yucca Mountain as the nation\'s sole nuclear waste repository.|
\"President Bush broke his promise to us here in Nevada with a speed and arrogance that is astounding,\" Richard Perkins, speaker of the Nevada Assembly, said in the Democrats\' weekly radio address.
When Bush was campaigning for president in 2000, Perkins said, he \"promised us here in Nevada that he would not rush to judgment on nuclear waste, that he would let science guide the administration\'s decision-making.\"
Instead, Perkins said Bush \"short-circuited the research going on at Yucca Mountain, he ignored the concerns of independent scientists and rushed to judgment.\"
Bush signed legislation last year long sought by the nuclear power industry to clear the way to build a repository for nuclear waste beneath Yucca Mountain.
That would lead to the transport of \"77,000 tons of deadly nuclear waste - currently stored safely at 131 sites across the country - over interstate highways and rail lines, through 43 states\" to the repository 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Perkins said.
With questions over how to protect the waste from accidents and from possible attacks by terrorists, he said transporting it long distances turns secured waste into \"a potentially dangerous \'dirty bomb-on-wheels.\"\'
Perkins also said there also are questions about the suitability of the Yucca Mountain site, which he said is in \"one of the most earthquake-prone areas in the nation.\"
With Bush slated to be in Las Vegas this week, Perkins said the president \"will be met by folks from across our state urging him to reconsider his decision, not just for the safety of the people of Nevada, but for Americans all across the country.\"
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE