82°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Bill seeks to put Yucca Mountain back on the agenda

WASHINGTON — A bill being prepared in Congress seeks to put Yucca Mountain back on the table as lawmakers seek to break a gridlock over managing and disposing of the nation’s nuclear waste.

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., said Tuesday legislation he is writing could be ready for House floor votes by the summer. He said details still were being formed. Nuclear industry officials familiar with the effort say it could include financial incentives for Nevada to drop its long-held opposition to the once-proposed repository, provisions to complete a site license review and land withdrawals needed to advance the project.

Edward Davis, president of the Pegasus Group, a consulting firm, said Monday at a conference sponsored by the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management that he was told the Yucca legislation was “one of the top three or four priorities” of the House Energy and Commerce Committee this year.

But at the same conference, Energy Department assistant secretary Peter Lyons said the Obama administration remains opposed to the Yucca site, calling it “unworkable.”

“We need to work toward new solutions,” Lyons said, but needs Congress to change the law so alternatives can be explored.

Shimkus, whose state generates the most electricity from nuclear power and holds the most nuclear waste at six power stations, is regarded as the leading proponent of reviving the Yucca Mountain program that was mothballed five years ago by President Barack Obama. He is chairman of the House environment and the economy subcommittee.

The proposed legislation comes as new talks get underway to overcome gridlock that has stymied nuclear waste legislation in recent years. Shimkus said it could become part of a compromise that would advance interim storage of nuclear waste accumulating at power plants around the country, as well as a permanent repository.

When it comes to Yucca Mountain, “we can move almost anything on the House floor and I think have a pretty good vote,” Shimkus said. Test votes in recent years showed better than two-to-one support for the project even though it largely exists only on paper after being dismantled.

Shimkus and other Yucca proponents say Obama effectively threw out 30 years of studies and $15 billion of development work at the Nevada site. Critics charge the project was forced on Nevada and the site is unsafe and risky.

The House and Senate now are controlled by Republicans, and the leading opponent of Yucca Mountain, former Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., now is leader of the minority. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and James Inhofe, R-Okla., who became chairmen of energy-related committees, said last week that nuclear waste was among the issues on their agendas.

In the Senate now, “You don’t have a majority leader that obviously kind of bans all discussion,” Shimkus said, referring to Reid. “That’s the difference, at least there can be some discussion.”

Reid was not available on Tuesday but experts say he still wields considerable power as leader of the Senate minority. He repeatedly has vowed that the Yucca project will never become a reality as long as he is senator.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Wild summer storms whip through Pahrump

As monsoonal moisture made its way across the southwestern portion of the United States over the last couple of weeks, much of the severe weather had missed Pahrump, until the night of Sunday, July 25 when a substantial summer thunderstorm finally broke over the valley, dumping rain and bringing fierce winds that wreaked havoc in certain parts of town, all the while illuminating the dark sky with streaks of lightning for a period of several hours. The storm let up in the late-night hours but revived with ferocity the next day and though wind speeds did not match Sunday’s, the storm on Monday brought even more rain than the previous night and resulted in extensive flooding throughout Pahrump.

New mask mandate effective on Friday, commissioners to discuss Nye County policy on August 3

Whether or not a person has been fully vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19, come Friday, July 30, all residents and visitors in a dozen Nevada counties, including right here in Nye County, will be required to once again don a face mask when they are in public indoor settings.

Man allegedly exposes himself at Pahrump bar

A local man was taken into custody after allegedly exposing himself to a bar full of patrons and driving under the influence.

Purple Heart Day ceremony set for Pahrump Veterans Memorial

Pahrump and Nye County as a whole are both well-known for their support of the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces and every year sees multiple military ceremonies to honor those who have proudly put on a uniform and offered their service in defense of the nation.

Nye County gold mine project acquired

Eminent Gold Corp. has acquired an option to purchase the Gilbert South Project located approximately 26 miles west of Tonopah, according to the press release.

ANGELICA PULIDO-HULL: Try a new Pahrump local shopping experience

The month of July is dedicated to local and independent retailers across the country. Before the end of the month, choose a Pahrump retailer you have not shopped at before to visit and show your community small business support.

Ringle wants recall

Beatty businessman Ed Ringle is looking to start a petition to recall two members of the Beatty Water and Sanitation Board of Trustees.

Nevada reimposes indoor mask mandate in high-transmission areas

Clark County would be affected by the directive from Gov. Steve Sisolak, which aligns with a new recommendation earlier in the day from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.