Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) issued the following statements applauding the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) move to explore a consent-based siting approach to the storage of nuclear waste. The DOE announced today that it will relaunch a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit input from states, local leaders, Tribes, and the public on identifying an interim nuclear waste storage facility using a consent-based siting process. Today’s announcement reaffirms this Administration’s commitment to work with Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen and all affected stakeholders. Both President Biden and Energy Secretary Granholm have pledged not to deposit nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in response to the urging of Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen.
Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen will continue to ensure that the voices of Nevadans are heard during this important public comment period, and reiterate the need to codify consent-based siting into law through actions such as those proposed in their Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act.
“When it comes to the storage of nuclear waste, everyone impacted deserves a seat at the table,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I applaud the administration’s move to consider a consent-based siting approach, and am sure that the vast majority of Nevadans who oppose storing dangerous nuclear materials in their backyard will make their voices heard during this process. I’ll keep working in Congress to block any attempts to store nuclear waste at the failed Yucca Mountain project.”
“I’m glad to see the Department of Energy is actively taking steps to make good on its promise not to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain,” said Senator Rosen. “Seeking public input on how to move forward with consent-based interim storage is another step in the right direction towards ensuring Nevada never becomes the nation’s nuclear waste dump. I have consistently fought to oppose storage at Yucca Mountain and will continue to work with the Nevada delegation, Secretary Granholm and the Department of Energy on forward-thinking alternative storage solutions.”
President Obama first proposed a Request for Information (RFI) in 2017 to gather public input on a consent-based siting process, but this effort was ultimately halted by the Trump Administration. Today’s announcement will restart this important process and is a step forward in Senator Cortez Masto and Rosen’s work to ensure that Nevada isn’t forced to permanently store nuclear waste.
Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen are leading efforts in the Senate to oppose nuclear waste disposal at Yucca Mountain. Under President Trump, Cortez Masto successfully fought the Administration’s efforts to restart the Yucca Mountain licensing process. Both Senators have kept funding for the failed site out of every major Senate appropriations bill, have successfully fought back against legislative attempts to dump nuclear waste in Nevada, and are leading legislation in the Senate, the Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act, to codify a consent-based siting process into law. Energy Secretary Granholm has expressed her support for this legislation, and for a consent-based approach that acknowledges that Yucca Mountain is an unworkable site to store the nation’s nuclear waste.