April 30, 2019

Cortez Masto Releases Hold on Department of Energy Nominees

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today announced she would lift her hold on all Department of Energy nominees after securing an agreement with Energy Secretary Rick Perry on the removal of a half metric ton of plutonium from the state of Nevada.

“Today I’ve released my holds on all pending Department of Energy nominees following an agreement with the Department of Energy that the Department will commence the removal of the weapons-grade plutonium that was secretly shipped to Nevada beginning in 2021. Along with Governor Sisolak, Nevada Attorney General Ford, Senator Rosen and our federal delegation, I’m proud to have fought to secure an agreement from Secretary Perry that the Department of Energy will meet any future statutory requirements for plutonium from South Carolina by shipping that plutonium directly to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico. Nevadans didn’t create this waste and we shouldn’t be on the hook for storing it in our state against our will. While I thank Secretary Perry for working with me on this issue, make no mistake that we will have additional fights ahead of us. I’ll continue to do all I can to hold the Department of Energy accountable, and ensure we fight against any attempt to ship nuclear waste to our state. In May, I look forward to continuing this dialogue with Secretary Perry and NNSA Administrator Gordon-Hagerty to ensure Nevadans are heard and this administration respects their will.”


Secretary of Energy Rick Perry committed in writing to begin the removal of the half metric ton shipment currently in Nevada in 2021 and conclude in 2026, and to not ship any additional plutonium from South Carolina to Nevada. Additionally, Senator Cortez Masto secured a commitment from Secretary Perry to conduct a tour of the Device Assembly Facility on the Nevada National Security Site in May. The Senator and Secretary will be joined on that tour with National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty as well as fellow Nevada Senator, Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.).