Las Vegas Sun

October 26, 2021

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Nevada official says Yucca bill not likely to pass Senate

CARSON CITY — A bill to restart licensing of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository may pass the U.S. House but will probably die in the Senate, a state official said Wednesday.

Robert Halstead, director of the state Agency for Nuclear Projects, said he would not be surprised if the legislation got 300 votes in the House, but it “will never see the light of day” in the Senate.

Halstead briefed the Commission on Nuclear Projects on the latest developments in the state’s battle to stop the site in Nye County from becoming a dumping ground for high-level radioactive waste from other states.

A House spending bill set aside $150 million for the Yucca Mountain project after President Donald Trump requested $120 million in his budget blueprint. During the Obama Administration, funding for the project was cut.

The House bill by Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., passed out of committee by a 39-4 vote and, Halstead said, 100 members signed on to the bill.

“The Senate will be a different proposition,” former U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan, the commission chairman, said during a meeting in Las Vegas. But if the bill were to make it through Congress, Trump would sign it, Bryan predicted.

The Shimkus bill provides extra money for the state, local governments and Native American tribes. But, Halstead said, “We don’t want their waste or their money.”