Environews: Nuke repository back from the dead?

By Amy Brunvand

In 2012 President Obama shut down plans to build a high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, but President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget includes “$120 million to restart licensing activities for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and initiate a robust interim storage program.”

That’s a drop in the bucket for a multi-billion dollar project, but nonetheless on April 26, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on a bill to revive the Yucca Mountain project.

Over strong objections from the state of Nevada, the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act designated Yucca Mountain, Nevada as the site for the first national high-level nuclear waste repository (Utah dodged a bullet since a site near Canyonlands National Park was also under consideration). Representative Dina Titus (D-NV-1) spoke at the hearing calling Yucca Mountain a “failed project” and an “illusion of a solution.”

The Yucca Mountain facility would need to perform for at least one million years, but the area is geologically unstable, and Titus concluded, “Geologically, Yucca Mountain is not the solution to our radioactive waste problems, no matter how much money might be spent.”

This article was originally published on June 1, 2017.