Sandoval, Heller urge alternatives to Yucca
April 24, 2017
Even as the House Energy Subcommittee met this week, Gov. Brian Sandoval and Sen. Dean Heller both urged chairman John Shimkus to bring Nevada into the discussion and consider alternatives to reviving the Yucca Mountain project.
Sandoval said Nevadans, "believe our relationship with the federal government should be one where the state is seen as a valued partner, an ideal that often is not realized."
"The proposed siting of a national nuclear waste repository in Nevada provides a vivid example of the failure of this partnership when, in 1987, Congress substituted politics for science to amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act to limit the repository options to one state: Nevada," he said
Heller said he agrees that the issue of disposal and storage of used nuclear fuel and waste must be resolved.
"With that said, the solution is not forcing that burden on Nevada, a state that has never had a nuclear power plant," Heller said.
He said instead the government should look to communities willing to host the repository. He said the focus should be on a consent-based process.
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In addition, both Sandoval and Heller objected to other language in Shimkus's proposal that they say would takes away Nevada's control over its water resources and air quality.
"The pre-emption of state water law and states' authority to issue air permits in your draft legislation is jarring to say the least," said Heller.
Sandoval said the proposed legislation "usurps Nevada's jurisdiction over the states water resources, an unprecedented affront to all western states where water is a precious and scarce resource."
"Further, numerous provisions would truncate the final stages of the NRC licensing process in ways that would limit Nevada's ability to protect public health, safety and the environment," he said.
"Our nation cannot fully move forward with viable sustainable solutions for spent nuclear fuel and defense high-level waste until Congress moves past Yucca Mountain," Heller concluded.
Congressman Shimkus is an Illinois Republican whose state has six nuclear power plants.