Skip to main content
Featured Legislation

Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act

Spent nuclear fuel sits idle in 121 communities across 39 states because the country lacks a permanent geologic repository to dispose of the waste.

The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act provides practical reforms to the nation’s nuclear waste management policy to ensure the federal government’s legal obligations to dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste are fulfilled.

In the 115th Congress,  the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, by a vote of 49-4 on June 28, 2017.  Then on May 10, 2018, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act passed the House by a vote of 340-72.

“At the end of the day this bill is good for taxpayers, communities, and ratepayers…It’s now time for the federal government to fulfill its obligation and permanently dispose of the spent nuclear fuel sitting in our states, alongside our lakes, rivers and roadways. The time for action is now and we intend to roll up our sleeves to get this done.”

– E&C Republican Leaders Greg Walden, John Shimkus, & Fred Upton

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. 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

Vice News Spotlights Yucca Mountain Efforts

Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Republican Leader John Shimkus (R-IL) took VICE News behind-the-scenes of a bipartisan congressional delegation tour at the Yucca Mountain site to highlight his ongoing work to find a permanent solution to America’s nuclear waste storage problem.

What They’re Saying

Put Yucca Mountain to work. The nation needs it.
By: Washington Post Editorial Board

Revive Yucca Mountain: Illinois has more nuclear waste than any other state, all of it in temporary storage
By: Chicago Tribune Editorial Board

There’s no great answer for nuclear waste, but almost anything is better than perching it on the Pacific
By: LA Times Editorial Board

Harry Reid and the Horse he Rode in on: Trump should revive the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain
By: Wall Street Journal Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot

Revival of Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project overdue
By: The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board

Open the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository 
By: Ronald Bailey, Science Correspondent,

Feds should proceed with Yucca Mountain
By: Aiken Standard Editorial Board

To read member op-eds in support of the legislation, click here.



115th Congress Resources


One-Page Bill Overview

Two-Page Summary

Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding the Nuclear Waste Fund

Understanding Interim Storage

The Cost of Inaction

Background on the Transportation of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Nuclear Waste

Committee Report

Text of Legislation

Bill Cosponsors

State by State Fact Sheets courtesy of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) including statistics on generation, usage, spent nuclear fuel storage, and amount contributed to the federal Nuclear Waste Fund are available HERE.



On March 5, 2018, Subcommittee on Environment Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) led a group of bipartisan members of the House of Representatives in a Special Order on the House floor outlining the importance of getting the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act signed into law.  View the highlights below:

Video Summary of the NWPAA:

Letters of Support

Joint Letter from the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition, Decommissioned Plant Coalition, Nuclear Infrastructure Council, and the American Nuclear Society (May 2018)

Joint Letter from the American Public Power Association, Edison Electric Institute, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and the Nuclear Energy Institute (May 2018)

AFL-CIO (May 2018)

Americans for Tax Reform (May 2018)

ClearPath Action (May 2018)

North America’s Building Trades Union (May 2018)

Council of State Governments Midwestern Radioactive Materials Transportation Committee  (Feb. 2018)

Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition (June 2017)

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (Oct. 2017)

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Oct. 2017)

Nuclear Energy Institute (Sept. 2017)