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.



61 Organizations Oppose Nuclear Waste Language in Year-End Legislation

As posted at NRDC's website.

Letter from 61 organizations [including Beyond Nuclear] opposing attempts to push the contentious licensing of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in year-end legislation. While we acknowledge that the national failure to deliver a final resting place for highly toxic, radioactive nuclear waste that will be dangerous for millennia is of profound concern, we urge Congress not take this deeply unwise course of action for the reasons laid out in the letter.

See the letter at this direct link.


Nevada Balks at Feds’ Plan to Transport Plutonium for Storage Near Vegas and Yucca Mountain

As reported by Paul Roupe at Courthouse News.

The one metric ton of plutonium is weapons-grade. The targeted storage site is the so-called Nevada National Security Site, formerly called the Nevada Test Site.

Full-scale nuclear weapons were detonated at the NTS between 1951 and 1992 (including more than a decade of above-ground testing; one-third of underground tests nonetheless leaked to the atmosphere), resulting in countless cases of disease and death downwind.

The NNSS is located in Newe Sogobia, Western Shoshone Indian land, as acknowledged by the "peace and friendship" Treaty of Ruby Valley, signed by the U.S. government in 1863.

The NNSS is also located near Yucca Mountain, also long targeted -- for the permanent dumping of high-level radioactive waste from both commercial atomic reactors, as well as the DOE nuclear weapons complex.

A major aspect of Nevada's lawsuit challenges the U.S. Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration's lack of transportation safety and security planning, a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).


Yucca Mountain and Consolidated Storage Part of the Federal Shutdown Funding "Game"

(Thank you to Don Hancock of SRIC in NM for calling our attention to this news.)

As reported by George Cahlink, Geof Koss, Jeremy Dillon and Kellie Lunney, at E&E Daily:

House Energy-Water Appropriations Chairman Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) said last week that discussions continued with the Senate to send some funds to Yucca Mountain, the stalled nuclear waste repository in Nevada.

But Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the Senate Energy-Water Appropriations panel, said last week she is still pushing an interim nuclear waste storage plan in return for funding for Yucca
Mountain in fiscal 2019. "They want money for Yucca, but I think that's a problem," she told E&E News.

The prospect of Yucca funding in the spending bill has caught the attention of Nevada's Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Sen.-elect Jacky Rosen.

See the Cortez Masto and Rosen letter, here.


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