WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) joined Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) in a letter urging the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development to zero out funding for Yucca Mountain in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2020 spending bill.

“As you know, this ill-conceived and fiscally reckless project presents numerous unresolved health and safety concerns, which is why we have continued to stand with the State of Nevada in its firm opposition to the temporary or permanent storage of nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain,” the Senators wrote. “The Yucca Mountain site is an unsafe place for storing nuclear waste and was originally selected for political reasons. In 1987, Congress ignored science and the previously established site selection process, and selected Yucca Mountain to be the only site studied in spite of its known serious flaws, cutting off resources and research for other potential sites. Numerous studies have since shown that Yucca Mountain is a physically unsuitable site that would threaten the health and safety of Nevadans, and would take half a century to complete.”

View the letter here, or read text of the letter below:

Dear Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Feinstein:

We write today to request that no funds be appropriated to the Department of Energy (DOE) or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to support licensing activities at the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository site. We are pleased that under your leadership, the Yucca Mountain project has not been funded, and we would respectfully ask that you arrive at the same result as you consider DOE and NRC funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.

As you know, this ill-conceived and fiscally reckless project presents numerous unresolved health and safety concerns, which is why we have continued to stand with the State of Nevada in its firm opposition to the temporary or permanent storage of nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain.

The Yucca Mountain site is an unsafe place for storing nuclear waste and was originally selected for political reasons. In 1987, Congress ignored science and the previously established site selection process, and selected Yucca Mountain to be the only site studied in spite of its known serious flaws, cutting off resources and research for other potential sites. Numerous studies have since shown that Yucca Mountain is a physically unsuitable site that would threaten the health and safety of Nevadans, and would take half a century to complete. Notably, Yucca Mountain is located in an area of moderate-to-high seismic activity, and is subject to oxidizing and corrosive elements. In addition, the Yucca Mountain site is directly adjacent to the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR), the largest air and ground military training space in the contiguous United States. Establishing a nuclear waste repository in such close proximity to NTTR could threaten our national security and the readiness of our Air Force.

We recognize and understand the pressing need to address our country’s nuclear waste problem. However, Yucca Mountain is not the solution. Our nation cannot progress toward achieving viable and sustainable solutions for spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste without first abandoning Yucca Mountain and recognizing that such a facility cannot be forced upon an unwilling host state.

The need to store nuclear waste does not outweigh the rights of states to have a say in the matter. Therefore, we respectfully request that you include language that indicates your support for a consent-based storage solution consistent with our approach in S. 649, the Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act. We believe that in order to create a viable path forward, any storage solution — both for interim or long-term — must be rooted in consent. Support for such a policy will guarantee full and willing partners to host a nuclear waste repository site, and will foster responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

Under your leadership, Yucca Mountain has not been funded — something for which we commend you. We respectfully request the same result as you consider DOE and NRC funding for FY2020, and ask that you give your full support to a consent-based siting solution that meets our nation’s needs while also ensuring that states and relevant local governments have a real voice in this process. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

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