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Congress works to revive long-delayed plan to store nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain via USA Today

WASHINGTON – The federal government’s dormant plan to store nuclear waste in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain is showing signs of life amid a new push by the Trump administration and some members of Congress to revive the long-delayed project.

But opponents, including Nevada’s two senators, already are mobilizing to halt the project’s momentum, again casting doubts on the nation’s efforts to establish a nuclear waste repository.

“Nevada does not want to turn into a nuclear waste dump, and as long as I’m in the U.S. Senate, I’ll make sure that Yucca Mountain remains dead,” said Sen. Dean Heller, a Nevada Republican who is facing a tough re-election challenge this fall.

The House voted 340-72 last month to direct the Department of Energy to resume the licensing process for a nuclear waste facility in Yucca Mountain, a remote section of the Mojave Desert that sits about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

[…]

Some 80,000 metric tons of spent fuel are being stored at nuclear power plants in 121 communities in 39 states because no repository has been developed for its permanent disposal. That’s enough to fill a football field 10 yards deep if stacked end to end and side by side.

The Trump administration favors storing the nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain, and the president’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year includes $120 million to revive the stalled project.

But Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, and members of Nevada’s congressional delegation continue to resist, arguing that turning Yucca Mountain into a nuclear dumping ground poses health and environmental risks and could harm the state’s tourism industry.

[…]

Heller and the state’s junior senator, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, are threatening to block the House bill from moving in the Senate. Heller already has put a hold on the legislation.

“A state without a single nuclear power plant should not have to shoulder the entire nation’s nuclear waste burden,” Heller said.

Cortez Masto pronounced the bill “dead on arrival” and called the Yucca Mountain project “a massive waste of taxpayer dollars.”

Meanwhile, funding to revive Yucca Mountain remains in doubt.

Read more at Congress works to revive long-delayed plan to store nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain 

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