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Nevada representatives propose nixing Yucca funding from House bill

Yucca Mountain tour

AP Photo/John Locher

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., stands near the north portal of Yucca Mountain during a congressional tour Thursday, April 9, 2015, near Mercury. Several members of Congress toured the proposed radioactive waste dump 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Updated Thursday, July 20, 2017 | 11:11 a.m.

Nevada representatives are pushing amendments to a House appropriations bill to nix $120 million in funding to revive the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository project.

The House appropriations bill currently includes the money, while a Senate bill headed for a committee vote on Thursday excludes the appropriation. U.S. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., introduced the amendment to the House bill on Wednesday, with a possible vote next week. U.S. Reps. Jacky Rosen and Dina Titus, both D-Nev., are co-sponsors.

“We have been down this road before, and as I have said many times, Yucca Mountain is not a dumping ground for nuclear waste," Kihuen said in a statement. "Nuclear waste stored at Yucca Mountain will threaten the safety of Nevadans in addition to putting millions of visitors at risk. There are plenty of ways to utilize the existing infrastructure at Yucca Mountain, however, funding a dead project and stuffing a mountain with nuclear waste is not the answer.”

“The Senate’s decision to exclude funding for Yucca Mountain in its appropriations bill is a move in the right direction, but our fight is certainly far from over,” Rosen said in a statement. “Since Day One, the Trump administration and House Republicans have led a relentless and misguided push to turn Nevada into the nation’s dumping ground for nuclear waste.”

Supporters of the Yucca Mountain repository say starting from scratch would be more expensive and add more time to the process while waste continues to pose a risk to host states. Rosen says Yucca Mountain is an unsafe site and moving waste there would pose risks all along the transportation routes.

“Reviving Yucca Mountain would be a waste of taxpayer resources and would threaten the health and safety of hundreds of thousands of my constituents living just 90 miles away from this unsafe site,” Rosen said.

Nye County and several others in Nevada have argued for the licensing process to continue so that the research can be heard.

This story has been updated with Rep. Kihuen's comments.

CORRECTION: This version of the story clarifies that Rep. Kihuen introduced the amendment. | (July 20, 2017)

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