Press Releases

WASHINGTON – On the same day that the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation that authorizes $30 million to store defense nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) announced that the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s Energy and Water Appropriations bill excluded 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. Earlier this year, 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 an April letter to U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Diane Feinstein (D-CA), 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. The letter is available HERE. 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.

“While the House of Representatives was busy this morning authorizing funding to store high-level defense nuclear waste in Nevada, I was working to squash their ongoing efforts to breathe life into the failed project. I’m pleased to report that I was successful - the funding bill approved by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee today does not fund a single dollar for Yucca Mountain,” said Heller. “Whether it’s successfully keeping Yucca Mountain out of the government’s spending measure or working with the chairmen of relevant committees to ensure that no funding is authorized for the failed project, I will continue to serve as a roadblock to the U.S. House of Representatives’ relentless pursuit to revive Yucca Mountain. I will never get tired of reiterating my opposition to turning Nevada into our nation’s nuclear waste dump. A consent-based approach like my Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act is the only long-term viable solution to our nation’s nuclear waste problem. Period.”

Last year, the House of Representatives advanced funding that would restart the licensing process at Yucca Mountain. However, Heller was able to successfully ensure that the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s Energy and Water Appropriations bill did not include any funding for the project.

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 this bill is dead on arrival 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


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