Nevada files to end Yucca Mountain nuke dump plan


Nevada on Tuesday filed a motion with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission designed to permanently end the efforts to build a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain north of Las Vegas.
That motion asks the commission to resume the adjudication portion of the application to license the dump for the limited purpose of allowing the state to file specific motions that would shut it down.
The licensing process has been on hold for more than a decade.
Gov. Steve Sisolak said Nevada has fought the project since 1987 when the federal government declared Yucca Mountain the only site for a repository to hold the nation’s high-level nuclear waste.
“Nevada doesn’t use nuclear energy. We don’t produce nuclear waste and we shouldn’t be required to store it,” said Rep. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, who has fought the project since she was a UNLV professor.
The motion seeks to lift the suspension of the Yucca Mountain licensing process for the limited purpose of allowing three motions for summary disposition of the licensing process. Those three motions would then be followed by a motion to disapprove issuing the construction authorization.
One motion would challenge the Energy Department for failure to obtain necessary ownership and control over land in and surrounding the proposed dump site. A second would challenge Energy’s failure to obtain restrictions from the Air Force to prevent military aircraft flights over and near the site. The third would challenge DOE’s refusal to analyze the impacts of climate change on its license application.
The motion says the Energy Department and the regulatory commission staff have conceded that the application, “fails to comply with NRC regulations” that apply to those three issues.
“The proposed Yucca Mountain repository is now an unfunded zombie-like federal project that has staggered around the halls of Congress begging for appropriations support for more than a decade with no success,” the motion says, pointing out Yucca Mountain has “loomed over Nevada’s citizens and economy for 35 years.”
“Nevada believes strongly that the time has come to put this long dormant and unproven federal project out of its misery,” the motion states.
Then, it argues, Nevada can move on to other matters and the U.S. government can move on to consider other, more viable solutions for disposal of radioactive waste.
Sisolak and Titus were joined by fellow Democrats U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen as well as U.S. Reps. Steven Horsford and Susie Lee in supporting a legal move they all argued is long overdue.

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