Following Nevada’s Legal Motion, Rosen and Cortez Masto Send Letter to Department of Energy to Reiterate Strong Opposition to Yucca Mountain

Washington, D.C. – Following Nevada’s new legal motion to ultimately terminate federal licensing efforts at the failed Yucca Mountain site, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) sent a letter to the Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to reiterate their strong opposition to Yucca Mountain and urge the Department to continue its commitment to a consent-based siting process.

“For nearly four decades, the State of Nevada has consistently and firmly opposed the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste in Yucca Mountain, Nevada,” the Senators wrote. “Our state has long held the position that the license application will not be workable for the Yucca Mountain site due to a host of technical and institutional reasons.” 

In its 2013 final report, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future recommended that any plan to address nuclear waste storage be based on scientific analysis as well as consent from affected parties. Yucca Mountain does not have that kind of consensus, and Senators Rosen and Cortez Masto have continually pushed for legislation to provide state, local, and Tribal governments with a central role in decisions regarding the placement of a permanent repository and storage program.

“We appreciate that the Biden Administration also opposes the use of Yucca Mountain for the storage of nuclear waste, and we appreciate your prior commitment to a consent-based siting process…,” the Senators continued. “Further, we acknowledge the need to explore and invest in innovative solutions for nuclear waste disposal and will continue to work with you and our Congressional colleagues to find viable and sustainable solutions to dispose of our nation’s high-level nuclear waste. However, Yucca Mountain is not the answer. We believe this is a pivotal step for the Department and request that it continue its commitment to implement the consent-based recommendations made by the Blue Ribbon Commission.”

The full text of the letter can be found here.

Senators Rosen and Cortez Masto have both fought to ensure Yucca Mountain remains dead. They’ve pushed for a consent-based approach and introduced the Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act to provide state, local, and Tribal governments with a central role in decisions regarding a permanent repository and storage program. The Senators have also successfully fought the Trump administration’s efforts to restart the Yucca Mountain licensing process, preventing funds from being included for the failed site in every final appropriations bill. Moreover, Energy Secretary Granholm has repeatedly acknowledged that Yucca Mountain is an unworkable site and expressed her support for a consent-based approach to store the nation’s nuclear waste.