Luther Carter's proposal to send highly radioactive nuclear waste to Nevada {Outlook, Nov. 15} is based on many misleading and faulty assumptions. Mr. Carter would have his readers believe that there is no danger in transporting, packaging and burying the most poisonous substance on earth -- a technological adventure that is untried and untested.

Mr. Carter assumes that the Nevada site will be safe even though the testing of the site has not yet begun. He assumes that geologic disposal is the best way to permanently isolate nuclear waste, despite the danger of transporting nuclear waste across the country. None of the transportation casks in use today has ever been tested under real crash conditions. Furthermore, Mr. Carter fails to consider the availability of possibly better alternatives such as dry-cask storage at reactors.

Mr. Carter assumes that nuclear waste canisters can be ''designed to last tens of thousands of years,'' even though geologists expect them to last only a few decades underground. Nuclear waste drums that were buried in the '60s are already leaking at West Valley and Idaho National Engineering Labs. Mr. Carter assumes that the inventory of commercial nuclear waste will triple by the turn of the century and that we therefore need to find a burial site quickly. However, the continued production of nuclear waste is being opposed by a growing number of citizens, and the amount of waste is likely to be far less than he projects.

Instead of sacrificing safety for the sake of speed, Congress should pass legislation such as that introduced by Rep. Morris Udall (D-Ariz.) to stop the Department of Energy's nuclear repository program and establish an independent review commission to examine the entire nuclear waste issue.

Mr. Carter claims that Congress would be ''courageous'' to rush ahead without enough information. However, the complexity of this problem demands reasoned consideration. Congress must not rush into a hasty fix of a problem that will last at least 10,000 years. MARK KNAPP Energy Policy Analyst Critical Mass Energy Project, Public Citizen Washington