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.



Vigilance needed to block federal funding for Yucca dump

Yucca Mountain, NevadaCongressional Republicans, such as U.S. Rep. Fred Upton from southwestern Michigan, have been trying hard to attach a rider to year-end budget legislation to keep the federal government operational, that would fund Yucca Mountain, Nevada (see photo, left) high-level radioactive waste dump licensing proceedings, to the tune of $60 million. Yucca is Western Shoshone Indian land, so the dump would not only illegally violate the Treaty of Ruby Valley of 1863, it would also be an environmental injustice. However, the U.S. Senate's Continuing Resolution (CR), passed yesterday, contains no such Yucca dump funding. If the U.S. House passes the Senate's CR, and President Trump signs it into law, then no Yucca dump funding would be added, at this time at least. But that's a big if -- the latest news at press time reports that Trump appears to oppose signing the legislation, and U.S. House right wingers are either AWOL (having lost their re-elections, they just left D.C.), or excoriating Trump for even considering signing it. 
Meanwhile, Trump's Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, appears to be doing some creative accounting, trying to identify unspent funding across the vast Department of Energy, to put towards Yucca dump licensing -- to the tune of $120 million worth. When it comes to radioactive waste transportation, we all live in Nevada. 44 states, many major cities, and the vast majority of U.S. congressional districts, would be traversed by high-level radioactive waste truck and train shipments (see 2017 entries), as well as surface water barge shipments. Please take action. Contact both your U.S. Senators, and your U.S. Rep., and urge that they block funding for the wasteful and dangerous Yucca dump. You can call their D.C. offices via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Learn more at our Yucca Mountain website section.

U.S. Rep. Shimkus (R-IL) introduces amendments to fund Yucca Mountain dump, and consolidated interim storage

Thanks to Don Hancock of Southwest Research Information Center for alerting us to this news and analysis:

U.S. Rep. Shimkus (R-IL) has brought two amendments to the U.S. House Rules Committee - one similar to H.R. 3053 (the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 2018 -- passed in the U.S. House last May, but not by the U.S. Senate -- which would expedite Yucca dump licensing, expand waste burial limits from 70,000 metric tons of highly radioactive waste to 110,000 MT, authorize consolidated interim storage, etc.), and the other to provide $120 million for Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump licensing, and an additional $30 million for consolidated interim storage.

The U.S. House bill includes border wall funding, so it's not clear whether it can pass the U.S. House, but presumably can't pass the U.S. Senate.

So there could be a government shutdown on Friday night, primarily over the Trump border wall.

But these high-level radioactive waste issues may be included (or not) too!

So the Congressional chaos continues. It's not clear when the U.S. House will vote - maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow. If the U.S. House passes this bill and its amendments, the U.S. Senate will have to consider it. But the U.S. House might not actually pass any bill.



As reported by Politico:

DOE'S YUCCA PLAN: The Energy Department suggested appropriators give Energy Secretary Rick Perry broad authority to collect up to $120 million in unassigned agency funds to restart work on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project, according to a recent set of documents prepared for lawmakers and seen by Pro's Darius Dixon. In the documents, DOE staff offer legislative language that would allow Perry to use "any unobligated balances available to the Secretary" to raise the $120 million for restarting the nuclear waste program.


LVRJ: Sandoval urges lawmakers not to allocate funds for Yucca Mountain


Pro-Yucca lawmakers push for funding in year-end spending package

As reported by Humberto Sanchez at the Nevada Independent.