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Newhouse Urges Administration to Support Yucca Mountain

February 7, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) released the statement below following reports that the President’s budget request would not contain funding for the licensing of Yucca Mountain, the congressionally-designated national nuclear waste repository:  

“It is disappointing to see Yucca Mountain continued to be used as a political pawn,” said Rep. Newhouse. “With 56 million gallons of nuclear waste at the Hanford Site alone, no district in the United States is more dependent on Yucca Mountain than Washington’s 4th. The federal government’s commitment to the cleanup at Hanford relies on a permanent waste repository, and it is important to note that this is simply the law of the land: Yucca Mountain is this nation’s sole permanent repository for nuclear waste. Since coming to Congress, I have pledged to work to finally fulfill the federal government’s promise to communities across the country – including the Tri-Cities community in Washington – to complete Yucca Mountain once and for all. I urge President Trump to reconsider this change in position.”

Background:

In 39 states and 121 communities across this country, including the Tri-Cities community in Washington state, the federal government continues to fail to meet its obligation to collect and dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.  This spent fuel and radioactive waste is generated as a result of commercial nuclear power production, and as a byproduct of our nation’s nuclear defense activities, including used fuel from nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers and from the legacy waste created from uranium and plutonium development as nuclear weapons deterrents like those developed at the Hanford Site for the Manhattan Project.

Congress originally selected Yucca Mountain as the site for the nation's nuclear waste repository in the 1980s. The Yucca project was nearing the finish line with DOE's submission of a construction license application, which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission docketed for review in September 2008 and a decision was expected within four years. In 2010, despite Congress’ continued bipartisan support for Yucca Mountain, the Obama administration decided to terminate the project, attempting to withdraw DOE’s license application from the NRC’s review.

In April 2015, Rep. Newhouse participated in a bipartisan congressional visit to the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

In May 2018, Rep. Newhouse voted to support H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2018. The legislation created a path forward for the licensing of the Yucca Mountain facility.