Cortez Masto, Titus introduce legislation on nuclear waste storage

400728 06: A truck travels through he tiny community of Amargosa Valley February 7, 2002. ...
400728 06: A truck travels through he tiny community of Amargosa Valley February 7, 2002. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)(Getty Images)
Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 2:04 PM PST
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WASHINGTON D.C., Virginia (KOLO) - Nevada Democrats Catherine Cortez Masto and Dina Titus introduced legislation to allow state, tribal, and local officials a greater say over nuclear waste being deposited in the area around Yucca Mountain.

The Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act was introduced into the House of Representatives and was cosponsored by fellow Nevada Democrats Jacky Rosen and Steven Horsford.

In Nevada, the legislation would make sure that state, local, and tribal entities are central in any decision regarding a permanent repository for nuclear waste.

It would require the Secretary of Energy to secure written consent from the Governor of the host state, affected units of local government, each contiguous unit of local government primarily affected by the repository, and affected Native American tribes before moving forward with nuclear waste disposal.

“Nevadans have made it crystal clear that they don’t want a permanent nuclear waste dump in their backyard,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “I’ve opposed every attempt to restart the failed Yucca Mountain project, and will continue to champion this legislation that respects the voices of our state, local, and tribal governments in Nevada that have been silenced by an unworkable process.”

“Over more than three decades and at every step in the process, the Yucca Mountain Project has sputtered because Nevadans just don’t want nuclear waste stored in our state,” said Representative Dina Titus. “We must codify the protection of their voices into law to protect the health and safety of our communities and guarantee a process that honors the consent of state, local, and tribal leaders. Nevada is not a waste land.”

The legislation is based on recommendations from the Department of Energy’s 2012 Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future and the DOE’s 2017 consent-based siting report.