Rosen, Lee, Cortez Masto, Horsford, Amodei Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Repurpose Yucca Mountain for Alternative, Job-Creating Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Representative Susie Lee (D-NV-03), Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Representatives Steven Horford (NV-04) and Mark Amodei (NV-02) introduced the bipartisan Jobs, Not Waste Act. This legislation would prohibit the Secretary of Energy from taking action relating to the licensing, planning, development, or construction of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain until the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) submits a study to Congress on the economic benefits of alternative uses of the site, and Congress holds a hearing on the benefits of alternative uses. As outlined in the bill, the job-creating benefits and alternative uses for the Yucca Mountain site could include: defense activities, such as a command facility for unmanned aircraft systems; a secure electronic data center; the development of renewable energy sources; or scientific research.

“Time and time again, Nevadans have said loud and clear that we do not want a dangerous nuclear waste repository in our backyard. Yucca Mountain is not only unsafe, but it’s also a complete waste of hard-earned taxpayer money,” said Senator Rosen. “This bipartisan bill would prohibit the Department of Energy from moving forward with its dangerous and costly nuclear waste repository plan and would require Congress to explore alternative options for Yucca Mountain, such as turning the site into a data storage center or into a facility used by our military for unmanned aircraft systems. Any of these options could help creates jobs without threatening the health and safety of Nevada families. I’ll continue pushing for smart, forward-thinking solutions to repurpose this misguided and ill-conceived project.”

“Nevada has made it clear that we do not want our state to become the nation’s dumping ground for nuclear waste and it’s time for Washington, D.C. to listen and accept it. Instead of wasting more time and money by trying to force something we don’t want onto our state, the Department of Energy can and should explore other options for Yucca Mountain,” said Rep. Susie Lee (NV-03). “Together with Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen, I am introducing the Jobs, Not Waste Act–legislation that will require the Department of Energy to find new job-creating projects for Yucca Mountain other than nuclear waste storage. We should be creating jobs for hardworking Nevadans, not putting their lives and safety at risk, not to mention our state’s economy and environment.”

“The science supporting Yucca Mountain is unsound and presents a clear threat to America’s national security, as well as the safety of Nevadans,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I’m proud to join Senator Rosen in introducing this legislation which demands that before any action can be taken by the Secretary of Energy related to Yucca Mountain, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) must tell us what the alternative uses for Yucca are. It’s important that we have all of the facts and that Washington hears the voices of Nevadans who do not want nuclear waste in their backyards.”

“Nevada is not a dump for other states to leave their waste,” said Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04). “The federal government owes Nevadans a comprehensive analysis of alternative uses for Yucca Mountain that benefit our economy without threatening the safety of Nevada families.”

“I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on thoughtful approaches to the issue,” said Rep. Mark Amodei (NV-02). 

BACKGROUND: Earlier this week, Rosen, along with Democratic Members of Nevada’s Congressional Delegation, helped introduce the Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act. This legislation requires the consent of the Governor, affected local governments, and impacted local tribes in order to spend money from the Nuclear Waste Fund for the construction of a nuclear waste repository.