Skip to main content

Amodei Votes Against Licensing for Yucca Mountain

May 10, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact: Logan Ramsey, 202-225-6155

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-02) today released the following statement after voting against H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, a bill to accelerate the licensing application at Yucca Mountain as the nation's permanent repository for nuclear waste. This legislation passed out of the House by a vote of 340-72.

Congressman Amodei voted against H.R. 3053 following a decision by the House Rules Committee on Tuesday where his amendment to the bill was deemed out of order.

“Since I was elected to Congress, I have always said I do not believe Yucca Mountain should be a simple dumping site for our nation’s nuclear waste,” said Congressman Amodei. “Additionally, I have always been cognizant that policy makers should not consider Yucca Mountain to be a ‘dead’ issue, meaning Nevada’s congressional delegation should use this opportunity to dictate the terms of the repository under the best conditions for our state. That’s exactly what I chose to do this week by offering an amendment to H.R. 3053 that would have given Nevada a seat at the table to expand upon the mission of the repository.

“Specifically, my amendment would have: prioritized institutions in Nevada’s System of Higher Education for nuclear research and development, provided responsible solutions for Nevada through the designation of surface transportation corridors, cleaned up facilities in Nevada that remain and were originally contaminated by the federal government, and required the Department of Energy (DOE) to locate reprocessing facilities on site – a move which could create thousands of jobs and recycle spent fuel for further energy production.

“After consultation with the House Parliamentarian regarding the germaneness of a portion of my amendment, the House Rules Committee deemed my amendment unrelated to the underlying bill – thus denying its consideration on the House Floor. With all due respect to the Parliamentarian, I respectfully disagree.

“As my colleagues made clear in Tuesday’s hearing, this legislation only pertains to Nevada and Yucca Mountain, so my amendment also included measures related to Nevada and Yucca Mountain. Designating one location as our nation’s permanent repository for nuclear waste seems to me like an important issue that warrants a comprehensive evaluation. As part of that evaluation, if we’re going to potentially transport nuclear waste across state lines by way of rail or surface transportation, then it’s probably appropriate and responsible to talk about transportation plans – certainly at the beginning stages of this project.

“Frankly, as presently structured, Nevada will not have a seat at the table moving forward on Yucca Mountain. The exclusion of my amendment, which included responsible proposals in the best interest of all Nevadans leads me back to where this discussion started: if I am only given a piece of legislation which designates Nevada as the nation’s nuclear land fill --- I’m a no! Accordingly, I’m a no.”

Specifically, Congressman Amodei’s amendment would have dictated Yucca Mountain under favorable conditions for the entire state of Nevada by:

  • Preliminarily identifying the Interstate 11 Intermountain West Corridor from I-80 south to the Nye County line through coordination and planning with the Nevada Department of Transportation;
  • Prioritizing institutions in the Nevada System of Higher Education to receive research and development funding, and further priority and oversight for institutions with experience in such research, such as the University of Nevada, Reno, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the Desert Research Institute;
  • Requiring a report identifying potential Federal projects to be located, or proposed to be located, in such State, including a plan for such federal projects by September, 2019;
  • Providing $10 million for the remediation of facilities contaminated with radium by the federal government;
  • Requiring the State to designate an emergency coordinator; and
  • Requiring DOE, in consultation with higher education institutions with reprocessing research, to produce a study locating reprocessing or recycling facilities for spent nuclear fuel at or near the Yucca Mountain site and economic benefits for such facilities.