Yucca Mountain

Yucca Mountain, the Nevada-based, scientifically flawed and politically unjust proposed high-level radioactive waste repository has now been canceled. However, pro-nuclear forces in Congress have not abandoned Yucca and funding is still allocated to the project.



Trump does a one-eighty on Yucca dump 

This Las Vegas Review Journal political cartoon celebrated the Obama adminstration's decision to cancel the Yucca Mountain Project as "unworkable" in 2010. 1987 was the year of the "Screw Nevada" bill -- the amendments to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 -- that singled out Yucca Mountain as the only location in the U.S. to be further considered for a geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste dumping. Since taking office, the Trump administration has worked to resurrect the Yucca dump zombie. (Be sure to count the toes!)President Donald J. Trump has been requesting from Congress hundreds of millions of dollars per year in taxpayer (and ratepayer, via the Nuclear Waste Fund) funding, to restart the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing proceeding for the Yucca Mountain, Nevada high-level radioactive waste dump scheme. The Obama administration declared the Yucca Mountain Project "unworkable" in the face of adamant opposition by the State of Nevada (not to mention the Western Shoshone Indian Nation, whose land Yucca is, by treaty rights), and its U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) moved to withdraw the license application entirely.

But since taking the White House, Trump et al. have been attempting to resurrect the Yucca dump zombie. (See image, left -- and be sure to count the toes! They have been seen to twitch from time to time, since Trump took office!)

Energy Secretary Rick Perry made a surprise, unannounced visit to Yucca Mountain itself early in his tenure, an alarming sign showing the level of the Trump administration's desire to dump 70,000 metric tons of highly radioactive waste in Nevada ASAP.

To top that, later in 2017, Perry blurted out at a U.S. House budget hearing that Yucca could serve as a centralized interim storage facilty for commercial irradiated nuclear fuel, even prior to the permanent burial site being approved by NRC. The withering response by the State of Nevada and its U.S. congressional delegation was so immediate, and intentse, that Perry had to backpedal his shoot-from-the-hip remarks right away.

Now Trump himself has traveled to Elko, Nevada last weekend, on very short notice, to campaign for Dean Heller, U.S. Senator from Nevada -- the most vulnerable Republican in the chamber running for re-election this Nov. 6th. Heller has long opposed the Yucca dump -- the position nearly a prerequisite for running for elected office in Nevada, from U.S. Senator to dog catcher.

So Trump's sudden announcement at the campaign rally, that he's now opposed to the Yucca dump, begs the question -- does he mean it? Is he lying? Is this but a short-lived bait and switch? Will Trump return to his pro-Yucca dump advocacy on Nov. 7th?!

Responses to Trump's 180-degree reversal of policy (thanks to the State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Project's What's News page for this compilation of media coverage) have been immediate, and pointed:

Nevada Independent - After Trump comments opposing Yucca, Cortez Masto asks administration to remove project from budget - Daniel Rothberg

Las Vegas Review-Journal - Nevada Democrats urge Trump to keep Yucca Mountain mothballed - Gary Martin

KUER NPR Utah - Utah Legislator Wants Colleagues' Support Opposing Yucca Mountain Repository - Judy Fahys

Heritage Foundation Daily Signal - What to Make of Trump's Remarks on the Proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear-Waste Repository - Katie Tubb [Please note that the Heritage Foundation is pro-Yucca dump, just as it is pro-nuclear power, despite the hypocrisy by the Heritage Foundation of supporting such industries that depend so much on massive public subsidization. So much for free market capitalistic principles!]

KSNV News3LV - President Trump does an about-face on Yucca Mountain stance - Gerard Ramalho


Recusal of NRC Commissioner David Wright


Environmental coalition urges Congress to defund environmentally unjust nuke waste dumps

As fast and furious congressional votes on annual appropriations regarding energy-related matters take place on Capitol Hill, Beyond Nuclear has joined with scores of allied environmental and environmental justice organizations in urging the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to stop funding for both the Yucca Mountain, Nevada permanent burial dump scheme, as well as the de facto permanent, surface storage, "parking lot dumps" targeted at the New Mexico/Texas borderlands. These commercial irradiated nuclear fuel dump schemes have long targeted low income, and/or people of color communities: Western Shoshone Indian land at Yucca Mountain, NV; and already heavily polluted (from fossil fuel and nuclear industries) Hispanic communities near the Holtec/Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance, NM, and Waste Control Specialists, LLC, TX so-called "centralized interim storage facilities" (CISFs). In fact, Holtec International's previous attempt at "temporary storage" for highly radioactive waste ("Private Fuel Storage, LLC," or PFS) was targeted at the tiny, low income Skull Valley Goshutes Indian Reservation in Utah, blocked by a tireless nationwide EJ coalition campaign, led by Skull Valley traditionals Margene Bullcreek and Sammy Blackbear. In fact, southeast NM has previously been targeted for a CISF, at the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation, but traditionals Rufina Marie Laws and Joe Geronimo led the successful opposition that blocked it. The nuclear establishment -- the nuclear power industry itself, Congress, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), etc. -- has long been guilty of "radioactive racism," targeting scores of Native American reservations and lands for such dumps, but thus far have been blocked by traditionals like Grace Thorpe of the Sauk and Fox Reservation in Oklahoma.

What can you do to help stop such environmentally unjust radioactive waste dumps? Contact your U.S. Rep., as well as both your U.S. Senators, and urge them to block the Yucca dump, as well as CISFs. (You can also be patched through to your members of congress by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.) The opening of either the Yucca of CISF dumps would launch unprecedented large numbers of highly radioactive waste shipments, by road, rail, and/or waterway, through most states (including high-risk impacts on a large number of Native American reservations). And please continue to submit comments to NRC in opposition to the Holtec/ELEA CISF targeted at southeastern NM, by the July 30th deadline.


Heller, Rosen tangle over who can stop Yucca Mountain revival


Past resolutions against the Yucca Mountain, Nevada proposed dump

Get your local community to pass a resolution opposing nuclear waste shipments through it! - Sample Resolution

Several jurisdictions have passed resolutions or taken other action against dangerous and unnecessary radioactive waste transportation based on the sample below. These include:


  • United Transportation Union (2/25/1999) ;
  • Gary, IN 6/1/1999;