Rep. Titus, Sen. Cortez Masto Introduce Bill to Require Local Consent for Nuclear Waste Disposal
Washington, D.C., March 2, 2021 | Kevin Gerson
Representative Dina Titus of Nevada’s First Congressional District introduced the Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act in the House of Representatives with the support of Governor Steve Sisolak, Representative Steven Horsford of Nevada’s Fourth Congressional District, and Representative Susie Lee of Nevada’s Third Congressional District. U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced identical legislation in the Senate.
Washington, D.C. – Today Representative Dina Titus of Nevada’s First Congressional District introduced the Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act in the House of Representatives with the support of Governor Steve Sisolak, Representative Steven Horsford of Nevada’s Fourth Congressional District, and Representative Susie Lee of Nevada’s Third Congressional District. U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced identical legislation in the Senate.
The bill would effectively prevent any attempt to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain by requiring local consent before the federal government could move forward with disposing nuclear waste at a specific site.
“Nevadans are strongly opposed to the storage of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain,” said Congresswoman Titus (NV-1). “No state or community should have a nuclear waste dump forced upon its residents. After years of attempts by the federal government to revitalize this dangerous project, we finally have allies in the Oval Office and at the Department of Energy. This legislation should serve as a guide for the Biden Administration to find a new site to store nuclear waste based on local consent.”
“From my first day in Congress, I made a commitment to safeguard the health of Nevadans. That is why I continue to oppose every attempt to breathe life into the failed Yucca Mountain project,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “For too long, the voices of our state, local, and tribal governments in Nevada have been silenced by a broken process. This legislation ensures that states like Nevada have a seat at the table when a permanent nuclear repository is proposed in their backyards. I was glad to receive a commitment from Secretary Granholm earlier this year to work together to develop safe, workable alternative solutions to the unsuitable Yucca Mountain site, and I’ll continue to work with the Administration and my colleagues in Congress to defeat misguided efforts to turn Nevada into the nation’s nuclear dumping ground.”
“The past 34 years of failure have demonstrated that a forced nuclear waste siting process cannot work in our system of government,” said Governor Sisolak. “The Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act (NWICA) offers a workable path forward. Congress should immediately act to pass the NWICA and abandon the failed Yucca Mountain Project.”
“For years, Nevadans have vociferously rejected dangerous plans to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. I will not allow Nevada to become a dumping ground for the nation’s nuclear waste,” said Congressman Horsford (NV-4). “The Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act will ensure that Nevadans have a voice in any plan to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. This legislation will protect the health and safety of Nevada families, safeguard our pristine wilderness, and allow our $40 billion tourism industry to rebuild.”
“Nevada has made it clear for decades that we refuse to become the nation’s nuclear dumping ground,” said Congresswoman Lee (NV-3). “Year after year, bipartisan state leaders fight sustained attempts to fund the opening of Yucca Mountain. No state should have any nuclear waste forced on it. Instead, we need an open and honest process that includes our local government officials and community. That’s why I am joining my colleagues in re-introducing The Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act. This bill ensures that the federal government cannot make our state the nation’s nuclear dumping ground without its consent. I’ll continue fighting day in and day out to stop attempts to revive Yucca Mountain.
In order for the federal government to spend money from the Nuclear Waste Fund for the construction of a nuclear waste repository, the Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act would require the consent of the Governor, affected local governments, and impacted local tribes.
In 2013, the Department of Energy (DOE) 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.
An open, consent-based process ensures that states have a meaningful voice in the process and that no jurisdiction will be forced to accept nuclear waste against its own will.