The Latest: House approves bill on Nevada nuclear waste dump via Star Tribune

WASHINGTON — The Latest on legislation to revive the nuclear waste dump at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain (all times local):

11:26 a.m.

The House has approved an election-year bill to revive the mothballed nuclear waste dump at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain despite opposition from home-state lawmakers.

Supporters say the bill approved Thursday would help solve a nuclear-waste storage problem that has festered for more than three decades. More than 80,000 metric tons of spent fuel from commercial nuclear power plants sit idle in 121 communities across 39 states.

President Donald Trump’s administration has proposed reviving the long-stalled Yucca project 100 miles (161 kilometers) northwest of Las Vegas, but the plan faces bipartisan opposition from the state’s governor and congressional delegation.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry has said the U.S. has a “moral obligation” to find a long-term solution to store spent fuel from its commercial nuclear fleet. Trump’s budget proposes $120 million to revive the Yucca project.

 “We can no longer kick the can down the road,” Perry said last year.

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican who is locked in a close race for re-election, blasted the upcoming vote as “an exercise in futility.”


Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen, Heller’s likely opponent in the general election, has filed an amendment that would delay any licensing activity for Yucca Mountain until the White House Office of Management and Budget conducts a study of the economic effects from alternative uses of the site.

“I’m using every tool at my disposal to put an end to this administration’s reckless plans to turn Nevada into a dumping ground for highly radioactive nuclear waste,” Rosen said in a statement.

She called Yucca a “failed project” and “complete waste of time and taxpayer money.”


While the fight over Yucca resumes, lawmakers say they hope to make progress on a plan to temporarily house tons of spent fuel that have been piling up at nuclear reactors around the country. Private companies have proposed state-of-the-art, underground facilities in remote areas of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico to store nuclear waste for up to 40 years.

The nuclear industry has said temporary storage must be addressed since the licensing process for Yucca Mountain would take years under a best-case scenario.

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