YUCCA MOUNTAIN, Nev. --Things have a grand scale out here. The Nevada Test Site adjacent to this mountain is bigger than Rhode Island but smaller than Nellis Air Force Base, which also is adjacent. Hence, carving a nuclear waste repository in this mountain's innards, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is really a small worry and should be generally disregarded.

The Bush administration says that sound science proves this: aridity, heat, something about durability, hey, we have no reason to doubt the Bush administration when it comes to science, especially not when it comes to predicting short-term consequences of its actions waste that will last 10,000--and probably even 80,000--years.

Sure, geologists ramble on about weather patterns changeing and leaks and stuff, and claim that geologic disposal of nuclear waste is feasible in rock less porous to water than this mountain is -- in granite deposits of a sort found from Minnesota to North Carolina. For me as a non-scientist living in the DC metropolitan area, North Carolina is in my back yard. For Nevadans who are not scientists, all they want to hear is: Not in my back yard.

I say screw 'em. Nevada is mostly back yard: 92 percent of the state is owned by the federal government. Normally, I would be opposed to this blatant intrusion of the federal government, but in this case a little heavy-handedness on the part of the feds is warrented because Nevada has a history of being put to unusual uses.

For instance, Nevadans built a gaudy future from the marriage of divorce and gambling. Some states had competed for the "migratory divorce" business -- people shopping for the most permissive laws. In 1931 Nevada crushed competitors by enacting a six-week residency requirement for divorce and by legalizing gambling. It's certainly not what we have in mind when it comes to Federalism, and shows that there's a bunch of unchristian heathens out there who deserve a few centuries of depleted uranium to remind them of their shortcomings.

This not notably decorous state rests on what it decorously calls "gaming," an industry that prospers from people not understanding risks with thrown dice or shuffled cards. Therefore, Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman is foolish for opposing a risk that will stick around for 80 millenia. Besides, Las Vegas is already the Newark of the West.

Union Pacific freight trains rumble less than a half a mile behind many of the 75,000 hotel rooms on the Strip. Some tank cars contain chlorine gas and other hazardous materials. As long as we can continue to hide the risks associated with these sorts of transports, building a rail line to transport current and future radioactive waste around Las Vegas suburbs should be no problem.

The fact is, we need to produce more, not less, nuclear waste, and Nevada is just on the wrong side of the issue on this one. We get to make decisions that will impact their region for millenia and don't need to provide them with any guarantees of safety. In fact, being the wise man that I am, may I impart these three truths unto my readership [I can't even make this shit up, folks, so here's a direct quote]:

"America must store nuclear waste more safely, can never prove perfect safety forever and hence cannot store waste anywhere it will be welcomed. An axiom: Put all your eggs in one basket and" get the f*ck outa there as fast as you can!

Minor editing on The Yucca Mountain Basket by George Will.