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Nevada senators push for “zero funding” for Yucca Mountain

Updated December 1, 2020 - 5:21 pm

Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., are pushing for no funding for licensing the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository site in the fiscal year 2021 federal budget.

Cortez Masto and Rosen head toward the Senate Subcommittee Appropriations on Energy and Water, to reiterate that Yucca Mountain is a geological and geographical territory in which no nuclear waste should ever be dumped as it contains hazardous material that can potentially harm Nevadans.

“The Yucca Mountain site is both a geologically and geographically unfit site to house the nation’s nuclear waste, and its selection as the nation’s sole high-level nuclear waste repository was the result of a flawed decision-making process that ignored science and the will of the state,” wrote the senators. “Nevada will not agree to house the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear waste. If the last three decades have taught us anything, it is that a nuclear waste facility cannot and should not be forced upon an unwilling host state.”

This has been a longtime battle for Nevada’s congressional delegation. Earlier this year, Cortez Masto, Rosen, Reps. Dina Titus, D-Nev., Steven Horsford, D-Nev., and Susie Lee, D-Nev., re-introduced the S.649 Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act to the United States Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill dictates that the Department of Energy must refrain from using funds that involve disposing nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste in Nevada. The bill also urges the DOE to stop funds for any repository activities, unless both the DOE and the state come to an agreement in which any activity does not affect any jurisdictions and Indian tribes.

But this is not the only efforts that Nevada senators have done to stop nuclear waste from heading to the state.

Last year, senators Rosen and Cortez Masto, along with the entire Nevada delegation, introduced the Jobs, Not Waste Act to both chambers. The bill would prohibit the secretary of energy from licensing, development, planning and any type of construction to dump nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.

“Time and time again, Nevadans have said loud and clear that we do not want a dangerous nuclear waste repository in our backyard. Yucca Mountain is not only unsafe, but it’s also a complete waste of hard-earned taxpayer money,” said Rosen. “This bipartisan bill would prohibit the Department of Energy from moving forward with its dangerous and costly nuclear waste repository plan and would require Congress to explore alternative options for Yucca Mountain, such as turning the site into a data storage center or into a facility used by our military for unmanned aircraft systems.”

According to the senators, this bill can help create jobs without threatening the health of Nevada families.

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