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Safest Place for Nuclear Waste? Yucca Mountain


06.13.19

WASHINGTON, DC– Yucca Mountain in Nevada, designated over 30 years ago to store spent nuclear fuel, continues to be the safest solution to this national issue.

Nuclear power is affordable, safe, reliable, and emission-free. Any plan to address climate change must include nuclear power. If you want to address climate change, if you want to keep American the dominant energy power in the world, if you support science and the law.… then, you should support Yucca Mountain.

The U.S. needs a robust nuclear fleet and a permanent home for the spent nuclear fuel sitting in 121 communities across 39 states. A permanent solution is needed for this national challenge.

CBS This Morning did a segment on Yucca Mountain and how the U.S. has grappled with solving this decades long challenge. The co-anchor said,“You don’t want to wait til it comes to a crisis point where you have to have it somewhere by next weekend”.

More from CBS This Morning

Congress designated Yucca Mountain as the location for a national permanent nuclear waste repository back in 1987. A test tunnel was dug but never licensed.

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso is now pushing legislation that would restart the licensing of Yucca Mountain, a process the Obama administration put on hold almost a decade ago after opposition from a bipartisan group of Nevada politicians.

“It is an isolated location which has the right geology which can make the difference for safe use of nuclear power and storage of nuclear waste for generations and generations to come,” said Sen. Barrasso. 

In addition to Senator Barrasso, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) – the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment – has been a key leader on this issue. Mr. Shimkus has led the fight to complete the licensing review for Yucca Mountain.

Background

On May 14, 2019, Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and John Shimkus (R-IL) introduced H.R. 2699, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019. The legislation is similar to H.R. 3053 from the 115th Congress, which passed with an overwhelming majority, 340-72. Specifically, the legislation:

  • Assists in the resolution of the pending permanent repository license, which will allow the formal licensing process to determine if the Yucca Mountain site can be licensed and constructed;
  • Reforms a broken financing mechanism to protect ratepayers and assure the Department of Energy (DOE) has adequate funding to construct and operate a multi-generational infrastructure project;
  • Directs DOE to move forward with a temporary storage program to consolidate spent nuclear fuel from sites with a decommissioned reactor while work on the Yucca Mountain repository progresses, and prioritizes the transfer of spent fuel from seismically active areas to interim sites;
  • Provides the State of Nevada and local stakeholders the opportunity to engage with the Federal government as the host State for the repository; and
  • Protects our nation’s national security priorities by providing the most expeditious pathway to remove “defense-waste” from DOE sites
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