By Daniel Walker Guido. Residents of Nevada are united in their opposition to plans by the federal government to bury the most toxic garbage mankind has ever produced--77,000 tons of highly radioactive waste generated by 103 nuclear power plants--in a mountain 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, the fastest growing housing market in the country.

"Not in my backyard" is the battle cry of those opposed to the project; they cite environmental and health concerns as grounds for their fight. Polls show more than 80 percent of the state's population is against the plan.

Irene Porter, executive director of the Southern Nevada HBA, also is opposed to the nuclear waste storage. In a recent letter to the U.S. Department of Energy, Porter expresses concern that "additional health consequences or a nuclear waste related accident along the transportation corridor would have severe ramifications on public health, safety, and property values in southern Nevada." With significant growth expected in that region, Porter asked how future residents could be protected from health and environmental risks presented by the storage site. Some 70 percent of the state's residents live near Yucca Mountain, she notes in her letter.

Locals are worried that the underground storage in supposedly air-tight containers could eventually break down and leak, contaminating nearby water.