Yucca Mountain Johnny appears at the top left and right side of each page within the Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain Youth Zone. Clicking his head on the site plays an audio greeting.
updated 5/25/2006 10:41:50 AM ET 2006-05-25T14:41:50

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. is no fan of Yucca Mountain Johnny.

She tried Wednesday to stop the Energy Department from using the cartoon character on a department Web site designed to inform children about nuclear waste.

“This character was created by taxpayer money to convince elementary school children that nuclear waste is a good thing,” she complained, and “to promote the proposed nuclear waste repository.”

“What’s next? Will the Department of Health and Human Services recruit Joe Camel?” she said, referring to the former cartoon mascot of Camel cigarettes.

Berkley, an ardent opponent of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump planned for 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, tried to get an amendment into a $30 billion energy and water projects spending bill that would bar money being used for the DOE youth-oriented Web site featuring Yucca Mountain Johnny.

It was defeated 271-147.

“Nobody questions the accuracy or truth of what’s on the Web site,” countered Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas.

Rep. David Hobson, R-Ohio, said Yucca Mountain Johnny “may have a place in teaching kids ... We may differ where that place is.”

“Right now just this name is an offense to the people of Nevada,” shot back Berkley.

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