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Nevada Nuclear Waste Site Returns to DC Agenda

Nevada Nuclear Waste Site Returns to DC Agenda
 In this April 9, 2015 photo, people walk into the south portal of Yucca Mountain during a congressional tour of the proposed radioactive waste dump near Mercury, Nev., 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. (John Locher/AP File)

By    |   Tuesday, 11 July 2017 12:08 PM

Nevada's Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site is returning to prominence on the Washington agenda, according to The Hill.

President Donald Trump sought $120 million in his fiscal 2018 budget for restarting the licensing process for the repository, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry also defends the project, The Hill reported.

The House of Representatives has bipartisan legislation for federal agencies to restart the planning process for the project, according to The Hill.

President Barack Obama and former Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., opposed the Yucca site, shutting down the licensing process and calling for a nuclear waste repository site to only be chosen if local residents allow it.

With Obama and Reid out of office, the project is moving forward again, The Hill reported.

"Harry Reid's departure from the Senate, as well as Republicans unifying control over both houses of Congress and the executive branch, has changed the reality on the ground," according to John Tuman, University of Nevada, Las Vegas political science department chairman.

"What we're optimistic about is that we've got an administration that wants to solve the problem and is willing to find a workable means to do so," Baker Elmore, Nuclear Energy Institute federal programs director, said in The Hill report.

A lobbyist for the nuclear industry said getting the House legislation passed and appropriating money to restart the site is their focus, The Hill reported.

"The imperative will be on educating members about the history of the program, the government's commitment, the fact that it's fundamentally different from other programs in that there is a contractual commitment," the lobbyist said in The Hill.

The opposition to the site also is preparing, The Hill reported.

"The environmentalists are staying in this. It's too important of an issue. It lasts for a million years," said Geoff Fettus, Natural Resources Defense Council senior attorney.

Nevada's governor and the gambling industry are also opposed, saying that a nuclear site's dangers would reduce tourism in Las Vegas, The Hill reported.

The American Gaming Association registered its opposition, according to Chris Cylke, the group's vice president of government affairs.

"The AGA stands with the many concerned citizens, small business operators and bipartisan members of Congress in staunch opposition to any attempt to restart the repository licensing process at Yucca Mountain," he said in The Hill report.

Nevada's Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, slammed the project, mentioning his friendship with Perry.

"I've always made it extremely clear to him that, when it comes to Yucca Mountain, I am absolute in my opposition to that project; that whether we're friends or not, we're not friends on this," Sandoval said in April in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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Nevada's Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site is returning to prominence on the Washington agenda, according to The Hill.
yucca mountain, nevada, nuclear waste, agenda
Tuesday, 11 July 2017 12:08 PM
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