This April 9, 2015, file photo shows the south portal of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump near Mercury, Nev.
Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Tuesday that President Joe Biden has promised to block shipping nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain.
He quoted Biden as saying: “I assure you as president there will be no storage at Yucca Mountain, period.”
Every Nevada governor since the nuclear dump was first proposed has fought to prevent the federal government from moving high level waste to the mountain 90 miles north of Las Vegas.
Sisolak said the latest agreement with federal officials also promised to remove the plutonium illegally shipped to Nevada by the Trump administration by 2026 and to require 30 days notice before attempting another shipment. State officials also get to monitor the federal government to prevent unauthorized plutonium shipments to the state.
“This is a monumental step forward in ensuring that the people of Nevada are protected from nuclear waste,” he said.
In 1987, Yucca Mountain was designated as the nation’s only site for disposal of high level waste and plans were to eventually deposit 78,000 tons of radioactive waste there. But in the 34 years since that designation, Nevada has managed to hold off licensing of the site by pointing out the serious cracks in the rock surrounding the underground dump, the mineral-laden groundwater flowing into the site through the fractured rock as well as the inherent dangers in transporting that waste across the country through major metropolitan areas.
Yucca was defunded during the Obama administration but Trump brought it back to life, putting funding in his first budget to resume the licensing process.
Now, according to Sisolak, Biden has promised to end any plans to license and open the site.