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July 17, 2019

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US Senate panel takes up thorny issue of nuclear waste

Yucca Mountain

John Locher/Associated Press file

Participants in a 2015 congressional tour of Yucca Mountain enter the project’s south portal. The site is near the Nevada town of Mercury, about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A congressional panel is scheduled to hear from experts as it weighs legislation aimed at tackling the decades-old problem of how to handle spent nuclear fuel and other high-level waste that has been piling up around the United States.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday will be discussing temporary and permanent options for dealing with the waste.

Scientists, environmentalists and officials with the Nuclear Energy Institute are expected to testify.

Development of a proposed long-term storage site at Nevada's Yucca Mountain was halted during the Obama administration, although the Trump administration has moved to restart the licensing process despite stiff resistance in Nevada.

Private companies also have applied for licenses to open temporary storage facilities in New Mexico and West Texas. Those proposals also face political opposition.