Yucca Mountain plans falter again

The plans to designate Yucca Mountain as the United State's nuclear waste repository have faltered once again as an amendment, that would have put aside more than $70m, to keep the project alive was voted down, 27-25, by the House Appropriations Committee. 

Congresswoman Dina Titus, of Nevada's 1st congressional district, said in a statement '"Our state does not use nuclear energy, we do not produce nuclear waste, and we should not be forced to store it, not now and not ever.”

According to various sources, there are approximately 90,000 metric tons of spent fuel stored at nuclear power plants in over 120 communities across 39 states, because no repository has been developed for its permanent disposal.

In 1987, Congress picked Yucca Mountain to become the nation’s permanent repository for nuclear waste generated by utility power plants and the military.

In 2008, the Energy Department began pursuing a license to make Yucca Mountain a radioactive waste destination. But the Obama administration abandoned the project amid intense opposition from Nevada residents and political leaders.

The Appropriations Committee and the full House have voted overwhelmingly in the past Congress to revive licensing on the repository, only to see legislative efforts die in the Senate. 

 Last year Congress voted 340-70 to restart the licensing process to make Yucca Mountain a waste repository and $116 million was set aside in the proposed fiscal year 2020 budget, which begins Oct. 1, for the Department of Energy application to build the facility, as well as to study interim storage at other sites. 

It remains to be seen what will happen with Yucca in the long term. Dina Titus, however, will not be giving up the fight against it “The latest attempt to force nuclear waste down Nevada’s throat has failed, and I won’t stop fighting until we put and end to Yucca Mountain once and for all,” Titus said.

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