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April 26, 2019

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Nevada officials keeping tabs on federal Yucca Mountain, plutonium proposals

Yucca Mountain tour

John Locher / AP

Congressmen, including Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., left, and Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., second from left, tour Yucca Mountain, Thursday, April 9, 2015, near Mercury. Several members of Congress toured the proposed radioactive waste dump 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Nevada officials postponed until at least January submitting an end-of-year report to the governor about state efforts to fight federal proposals to bury the nation's nuclear reactor waste north of Las Vegas.

The state Commission on Nuclear Projects cited uncertainty Wednesday about whether Congress will allocate any funds in coming days for the mothballed Yucca Mountain repository.

Agency officials also reviewed a lawsuit filed recently to block a separate plan by the Energy Department to ship weapons-grade plutonium from South Carolina to a U.S. radioactive materials handling facility at the former Nevada nuclear weapons proving ground.

The Yucca Mountain project was shelved in 2010 under pressure from then-Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama. They said nuclear waste should be stored in a state that wants it.