Note: LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — President Donald Trump's budget proposal for 2020 calls for restarting licensing at the long-dormant Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. The White House released its budget plan to Congress for the 2020 fiscal year, asking for $31.7 billion in funding for the U.S. Energy Department. See Comments by Congressman Steven Horsford.
Washington, D.C. – This month Representative Dina Titus of Nevada’s First Congressional District introduced the Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act in the U.S. House of Representatives with the support of Representative Steven Horsford of Nevada’s Fourth Congressional District and Representative Susie Lee of Nevada’s Third Congressional District. U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced the same legislation in the U.S. Senate with the support of Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV).
This legislation ensures Nevadans have a voice in any plan to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain and provides a voice to all states who are otherwise opposed to permanently storing nuclear waste in their communities. Congresswoman Titus has filed similar legislation in previous sessions of Congress, which originated as a joint effort with then-Senator Harry Reid (D-NV).
“Today we are sending a clear message to President Trump and Secretary Perry that the State of Nevada remains firmly opposed to nuclear waste storage within our borders,” said Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). “The Trump Administration’s attempt to treat our state as the dumping ground for the nation’s nuclear waste is based on dirty politics, not sound science. No state or community should have a nuclear waste dump forced upon them. I’m reintroducing this legislation as part of our strategy to put an end to the Yucca Mountain project once and for all.”
“Every year, Nevadans are forced to deal with attempts by Washington to force nuclear waste into their backyards,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Yucca Mountain is unsafe, scientifically unsound, and a total waste of taxpayer dollars, to the tune of $19 billion so far. That’s why I’ve introduced this legislation, which will ensure the voices of Nevadans are finally heard and which requires the consent of local communities in any discussion on our country’s nuclear waste storage future. I want to be clear: I will oppose Yucca Mountain with every procedural and legislative tool available to me in the Senate, and I’ve secured the commitment of Senate Democratic Leader Schumer to work alongside me in this fight.”
“As governor, I will vigorously fight efforts to turn Nevada into America’s nuclear dumping ground,” said Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. “I want to thank our congressional delegation for introducing this legislation to ensure Nevadans have a seat at the table for any discussion of our country’s nuclear waste storage plans. Together with Nevada’s representatives in Congress, my administration will continue to stand up against unwanted attempts to store nuclear waste in our backyards.”
The Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act requires the consent of the Governor, affected local governments and impacted local tribes in order to spend money from the Nuclear Waste Fund for the construction of a nuclear waste repository.
In 2013, the Department of Energy published a strategy for implementing the 2012 recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) on America’s Nuclear Future. In December 2015, DOE requested public input on plans to develop a new consent-based process for siting facilities for nuclear waste storage and disposal based on BRC recommendations. The Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act is based on the BRC’s 2012 recommendations and DOE’s previous consent-based siting report from 2017.
This open process ensures that states have a meaningful voice in the process and that no state will be forced to accept nuclear waste against its own will. Adopting a consent-based solution, such as through the Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act, supports a science-based approach that instills confidence in the process, and builds upon a process truly based on performance standards, trust, and transparency.