DOE official: Focusing on Yucca prevents 'progress' on nuclear waste

It illuminates the tough slog ahead to reconcile differing House and Senate views on Yucca in order to strike a comprehensive agreement, which Senate energy leaders contend is possible.

House Republicans maintain Yucca needs to be the nation’s long-term repository, as outlined in federal law. They say they won’t agree to a nuclear waste storage deal without Yucca.

A bill with Yucca, however, stands almost no chance in the Senate.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidGOP embraces big stimulus after years of decrying it Five Latinas who could be Biden's running mate Winners and losers from Super Tuesday MORE (D-Nev.) played a major role in getting President Obama to pull the plug on Yucca in 2009. He is unlikely to call a bill that includes Yucca.

Lyons, a Nevada native, alluded to the sense that opposition to Yucca is almost a necessity for Nevada lawmakers. The state’s residents resent that a 1982 federal law forced the nation’s nuclear waste onto Yucca.

Lyons advised lawmakers to “cut our losses and move ahead” without Yucca.

He endorsed recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, an expert panel convened by Obama in 2010.

Among other items, the expert panel suggested allowing states to apply to become the nation’s long-term repository and moving some waste to interim storage sites.

The findings form the foundation of a bipartisan Senate bill that Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWhoopi Goldberg presses Sanders: 'Why are you still in the race?' Unprecedented health crisis called for historic expansion of unemployment insurance Coronavirus crisis scrambles 2020 political calculus MORE (D-Ore.) is spearheading.