Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) today committed to continue fighting the Administration’s efforts to restart licensing activities at Yucca Mountain after a proposal to revive the project was once again included in the President’s budget request.

“Despite Congress’ refusal to fund the Yucca Mountain project, the Administration is once again prioritizing it. Whether it’s the threat that Yucca Mountain poses to the people of southern Nevada or its potentially catastrophic effect on our tourism economy, I’ve made it clear why Nevada does not want to turn into the nation’s nuclear waste dump,” said Heller. “Under my leadership Congress has not appropriated funding for licensing activities at Yucca Mountain as requested in the last budget, and I’m going to continue to fight to make sure that this project doesn’t see the light of day.”  

Last April, Heller testified before a U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment hearing on legislation to revive Yucca Mountain. During the hearing, he urged the consideration of his Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act, bipartisan legislation that permits the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to authorize construction of a nuclear waste repository only if the Secretary of Energy has secured written consent from the governor of the host state, affected units of local government, and affected Indian tribes.

Even though the House of Representatives advanced funding aimed at jumpstarting Yucca Mountain, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s Energy and Water Appropriations bill did not include any funding for the project.

Heller added, “A state without a single nuclear power plant should not have to shoulder the entire nation’s nuclear waste burden. Instead of pursuing a failed project that has already cost taxpayers billions of dollars, the Administration should refocus its efforts on the only sustainable path forward: a consent-based approach.”

Efforts to revive Yucca Mountain have already wasted billions of taxpayers’ dollars and it is estimated that the final bill could add up to more than $96 billion for the total system life cycle cost for the failed project. In addition to the project’s enormous cost to the federal government and promised litigation from the state of Nevada to fight any license application, Heller has highlighted the project’s economic consequences to the state and potentially crippling effect on its tourism economy as well as its threats to public safety

More background on Heller’s fight against Yucca Mountain: