Republicans call for Senate vote on Yucca Mountain

Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said it’s past time the Senate acts on the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site.

“Despite politically motivated delays to the Yucca Mountain project, it is clearer than ever that this is the safest, most viable location for storing our nation’s nuclear waste,” Scott said Thursday. “It is well beyond time to move forward and construct Yucca.”

{mosads}The senators made the remarks after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a report that found the dump site could safely store nuclear waste for 1 million years. The administration pulled the licensing application in 2010; the project is unpopular with Democrats, particularly Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

“Knowing that the Yucca Mountain site is a safe, worthwhile investment as a permanent repository for the country’s spent nuclear material is welcome, if long-overdue, news, and I call on the NRC to resume its license review process and for Congress to provide the NRC with the funds needed to complete its review,” said Murkowski, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. 

Murkowski also called for Senate passage of her bill, the Nuclear Waste Administration Act, which would create an independent agency to address the nation’s stockpile of used nuclear fuel by advancing both interim and permanent repositories.

“The Senate should act on nuclear waste legislation that I have been working on with my colleagues to deal with the need for interim storage,” Murkowski said. “Even in light of progress on Yucca Mountain, we still need a short-term solution to consolidate the used fuel that is currently sitting at various sites across the country.”

South Carolina hosts one of the temporary nuclear holding facilities. Scott said his state agreed to house the nuclear material with the understanding that Yucca Mountain would eventually take it.

Reid has vowed to stop any legislation that would advance the Yucca project, which would be located in his home state.


— Laura Barron-Lopez contributed to this article. 

Tags Lisa Murkowski Nuclear Waste Policy Act Tim Scott Yucca Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository
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