The introduction April 19 of the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, a comprehensive solution for the nation’s nuclear waste management policy, is a great development toward having the science heard and the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository moving forward.
Nye County is pleased that Congress is moving forward with a bill to address some of the concerns the State of Nevada has with the Yucca Mountain project.Coupled with the announcement that a hearing is scheduled for this week by the House Energy and Commerce environment subcommittee, this is evidence that the Congress will be moving ahead aggressively on Yucca Mountain and the State of Nevada should get engaged in the process.
The legislation, which would strengthen the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, addresses many of the concerns brought forth by the state and Nevada’s federal lawmakers, including a provision that specifically says that the waste shall avoid moving through Las Vegas.
Another change for Nevada is the acceptance of benefits shall not be considered consent and the State can get benefits tied to hosting the nuclear repository. Under the existing law, when the State vetoed the repository it gave up its right to benefits.
The bill also allows Nevada to be the site of an interim storage facility, a change from the original Act.
Yucca Mountain, which is located in Nye County, was designated as the permanent nuclear waste disposal site by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act in 1982. Nuclear waste continues to be stored temporarily at various locations around the country while the promise of Yucca Mountain has been delayed too long by political science. To date, $15 billion has been spent to prepare the site to accept nuclear waste.
The Yucca Mountain nuclear repository would bring federal dollars to Nevada, create well-paying science and construction jobs, and improve the state’s infrastructure. The project would also strengthen national security, a role Nye County and Nevada has always taken the lead in through the past eight decades.
Dan Schinhofen is chairman of Board of Nye County Commission.