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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                          (Las Vegas, Nevada) 
For Immediate Release                                    October 1, 1999


Yesterday's nuclear accident in Japan is a tragic reminder that we must do everything in our power to ensure safe, responsible handling of radioactive materials. Upon reviewing Senate Bill 1287, regarding potential nuclear waste disposal at Yucca Mountain, I have determined that it would not adequately ensure the protection of public health and safety. If this bill is presented to me in its current form, I will veto it.

I am encouraged that this latest Senate bill, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1999, does not seek to authorize interim storage of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain before a thorough scientific analysis of the site has been completed. That would be an unconscionable mistake, and I have consistently opposed such proposals in the past. However, the bill would take away the existing authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to protect public health and safety. It is vital that this authority be preserved.

I urge the Congress to join with me in opposing this legislation and ensuring that we fulfill our responsibility to protect this and future generations.