Washington, D.C. – Today, 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) introduced the Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act in the United States Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation ensures Nevadans have a voice in any plan to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, and provides a voice to all states who are otherwise opposed to permanently storing nuclear waste in their communities.
“Every year, Nevadans are forced to deal with attempts by Washington to force nuclear waste into their backyards,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Yucca Mountain is unsafe, scientifically unsound, and a total waste of taxpayer dollars, to the tune of $19 billion so far. That’s why I’ve introduced this legislation, which will ensure the voices of Nevadans are finally heard and which requires the consent of local communities in any discussion on our country’s nuclear waste storage future. I want to be clear: I will oppose Yucca Mountain with every procedural and legislative tool available to me in the Senate, and I’ve secured the commitment of Senate Democratic Leader Schumer to work alongside me in this fight.”
“Today we are sending a clear message to President Trump and Secretary Perry that the State of Nevada remains firmly opposed to nuclear waste storage within our borders,” said Rep. Dina Titus (NV-01). “The Trump Administration’s attempt to treat our state as the dumping ground for the nation’s nuclear waste is based on dirty politics, not sound science. No state or community should have a nuclear waste dump forced upon them. I’m reintroducing this legislation as part of our strategy to put an end to the Yucca Mountain project once and for all.”
“As governor, I will vigorously fight efforts to turn Nevada into America’s nuclear dumping ground,” said Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. “I want to thank our congressional delegation for introducing this legislation to ensure Nevadans have a seat at the table for any discussion of our country’s nuclear waste storage plans. Together with Nevada’s representatives in Congress, my administration will continue to stand up against unwanted attempts to store nuclear waste in our backyards.”
“It is past time for the federal government to accept that Nevadans reject this Administration’s proposal to move forward with turning our state into the nation’s repository for nuclear waste,” said Senator Rosen. “This legislation ensures that the federal government cannot make a state the nation’s nuclear dumping ground without its consent. I’ll continue fighting every way I can to stop any attempt to revive Yucca Mountain.”
“I refuse to sit by and watch my community be used as a dumping ground for the nation’s nuclear waste,” said Rep. Horsford (NV-04). “Yucca Mountain is an ongoing threat to the safety of Nevada families and to the Silver State’s $40 billion tourism industry. I will continue working with Governor Sisolak, Attorney General Ford, and our state’s congressional delegation to fight federal efforts to force nuclear waste into our communities.”
“Nevada is not the nation’s dumping ground for nuclear waste, but year after year our state has had to fend off repeated attempts to make that a reality,” said Rep. Susie Lee (NV-03). “The continued pattern of trying to force the storage of nuclear waste onto our state needs to change. We need an honest and open process—one that works with local government officials and communities, rather than ignores them. That is why I’m joining the rest of my Nevada colleagues in introducing The Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act. We can and should change the process to make it one that is built on trust and transparency.”
The Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act requires the consent of the Governor, affected local governments and impacted local tribes in order to spend money from the Nuclear Waste Fund for the construction of a nuclear waste repository.
In 2013, the Department of Energy 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. 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 open process ensures that states have a meaningful voice in the process and that no state will be forced to accept nuclear waste against its own will. Adopting a consent-based solution, such as through the Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act, supports a science-based approach that instills confidence in the process, and builds upon a process truly based on performance standards, trust, and transparency.
Full text of the bill is available here.