March 02, 2021

Cortez Masto, Titus Lead Rosen, Horsford, and Lee in Efforts to Prevent Nuclear Waste Storage at Yucca Mountain

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Representative Dina Titus (D-Nev.-01), along with Senator Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Representative Steven Horsford (D-Nev.-04), and Representative Susie Lee (D-Nev.-03), re-introduced the Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act in the Senate and House. This legislation would ensure that state, local, and tribal governments are central to a permanent repository and storage program, and it would give Nevadans a meaningful voice in any plans to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. 

“From my first day in Congress, I made a commitment to safeguard the health of Nevadans. That is why I continue to oppose every attempt to breathe life into the failed Yucca Mountain project,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “For too long, the voices of our state, local, and tribal governments in Nevada have been silenced by a broken process. This legislation ensures that states like Nevada have a seat at the table when a permanent nuclear repository is proposed in their backyards. I was glad to receive a commitment from Secretary Granholm earlier this year to work together to develop safe, workable alternative solutions to the unsuitable Yucca Mountain site, and I’ll continue to work with the Administration and my colleagues in Congress to defeat misguided efforts to turn Nevada into the nation’s nuclear dumping ground.”

“Nevadans are strongly opposed to the storage of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. No state or community should have a nuclear waste dump forced upon its residents,” said Representative Titus. “After years of attempts by the federal government to revitalize this dangerous project, we finally have allies in the Oval Office and at the Department of Energy. This legislation should serve as a guide for the Biden Administration to find a new site to store nuclear waste based on local consent.” 

“The past 34 years of  failure have demonstrated that a forced nuclear waste siting process cannot work in our system of government,” said Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. “The Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act (NWICA) offers a workable path forward. Congress should immediately act to pass the NWICA and abandon the failed Yucca Mountain Project.”

“Nevadans have made it clear that we will not tolerate the storing of nuclear waste in our state,” said Senator Rosen. “The transportation and storage of nuclear waste poses significant threats to the health and safety of Nevadans, and this legislation will ensure that nuclear waste stays out of our state by requiring the consent of Nevada before any spending or construction is approved. I will continue to stand alongside my colleagues as we work to prevent Nevada from becoming the nation’s nuclear dumping ground.”

“For years, Nevadans have vociferously rejected dangerous plans to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. I will not allow Nevada to become a dumping ground for the nation’s nuclear waste,” said Congressman Steven Horsford. “The Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act will ensure that Nevadans have a voice in any plan to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. This legislation will protect the health and safety of Nevada families, safeguard our pristine wilderness, and allow our $40 billion tourism industry to rebuild.”

“Nevada has made it clear for decades that we refuse to become the nation’s nuclear dumping ground,” said Rep Susie Lee. “Year after year, bipartisan state leaders fight sustained attempts to fund the opening of Yucca Mountain. No state should have any nuclear waste forced on it. Instead, we need an open and honest process that includes our local government officials and community. That’s why I am joining my colleagues in re-introducing The Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act. This bill ensures that the federal government cannot make our state the nation’s nuclear dumping ground without its consent. I’ll continue fighting day in and day out to stop attempts to revive Yucca Mountain.” 


In 2013, the Department of Energy (DOE) published a strategy for implementing the 2012 recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) on America’s Nuclear Future. In December 2015, DOE requested public input on plans to develop a new consent-based process for siting facilities for nuclear waste storage and disposal based on BRC recommendations. At that time, DOE concurred with the recommendation from the BRC that a “phased, adaptive, consent-based siting process is the best approach to gain the public trust and confidence needed to site nuclear waste facilities.” DOE’s process culminated in a January 2017 report providing rationale for moving forward with a consent-based siting process for consolidated storage and disposal facilities for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

The Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act is based on the BRC’s 2012 recommendations and DOE’s previous consent-based siting report from 2017. 

This bill would allow for the expenditure of funds from the Nuclear Waste Fund for construction of a nuclear waste repository only if the Secretary of Energy has secured written consent from the following:

  1. Governor of the host state;
  2. Affected units of local government;
  3. Each contiguous unit of local government primarily affected by the repository; and
  4. Affected Indian tribes.