Press Releases

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) today denounced the U.S. House of Representatives for passing its fiscal year 2019 Energy and Water Appropriations bill because it directs $267.7 million to support the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Last month, Heller announced that he successfully worked with the U.S. Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee to exclude funding requested by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to support and fund licensing activities at the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository

In April, Heller strongly urged Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) not to fund the Administration’s budget requests related to Yucca Mountain. In his letter, Heller expressed his strong opposition to the $120 million request in DOE’s budget to revive Yucca Mountain, stating that the failed project has already wasted billions of taxpayer dollars. That same month, Heller expressed his concern to Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Feinstein about the $48 million request in NRC’s budget for Yucca Mountain, and he encouraged them to instead devote resources to consent-based siting for the storage of nuclear waste. In his letter, Heller cited his correspondence with NRC Chairman Svinicki regarding safety concerns as well as his request for a commitment from the NRC to implement procedural safeguards. The letter is available HERE.

“Once again, the U.S. House of Representatives has attempted to revive Yucca Mountain, and once again – I’ll stop them in the U.S. Senate. Not only has the U.S. House of Representatives passed multiple bills that include funding to bring nuclear waste to Nevada, they have also passed legislation that would expedite it,” said Heller. “Just as the House has ramped up its efforts to turn Nevada into a nuclear waste dump, I’ve doubled down on my efforts to stop them at every turn. Under my watch in the U.S. Senate, Yucca Mountain is dead. Plain and simple.”

In addition to working with the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee to block funding for Yucca Mountain, Heller also successfully ensured that the U.S. Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) excluded the $30 million to store defense nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. The U.S. House of Representatives approved its version of the NDAA with $30 million authorized to revive Yucca Mountain on May 24th, 2018.

Also in May, the U.S. House of Representatives approved on a bipartisan vote the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, H.R.3053, legislation to jumpstart Yucca Mountain and direct the NRC to decide whether to approve construction of the waste repository within 30 months. Heller reacted by saying he will stonewall this bill in the U.S. Senate, and he urged a consent-based approach, such as his bipartisan Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act. This legislation permits the construction of a nuclear waste repository only if the Secretary of Energy receives written consent from the governor of the host state, affected local officials, and affected Indian tribes.

Heller’s previous work to stop Yucca Mountain from being funded: