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February 5, 2023

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Gov. Sandoval: Nye County may want a nuke dump but it doesn’t speak for Nevada

CARS0N CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval says Nevada does not want an interim or permanent nuclear waste repository despite Nye County's recent letter of support for such a project.

In a March 12 letter to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Sandoval said: "The state of Nevada does not support the location of any such site within the state and will oppose any attempt to either resurrect the defunct Yucca Mountain project or locate an interim storage facility at Yucca or elsewhere in Nevada."

Sandoval was aware of a letter from Nye County officials to Chu expressing support for the Yucca Mountain repository. To that, the governor said, "Nye County does not and cannot speak for the state of Nevada."

The governor said the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act prohibits locating an interim storage site in Nevada. Yet Yucca Mountain remains a potential site. "Even though the Department of Energy has indicated it intends to terminate the Yucca program and has taken steps in that direction the licensing process remains suspended and not terminated," the governor said.

The Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future has recommended the nation quickly move to find an interim storage site or nuclear reactors won't have a place to send spent fuel.

Nye County sent a letter to the energy secretary earlier this month expressing its continued support for Yucca Mountain project.

Sandoval said he backs the recommendation of the commission that a state must consent to allowing the nuclear waste to be stored there. "However, Nevada will not consent to an interim storage facility or repository being considered in the state."

The governor sent copies of his letter to the Nevada Congressional delegation, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and former Gov. Richard Bryan, the chairman of the Nevada Commission on Nuclear Projects.

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