Bill seeks to place Yucca Mountain back on the agenda

WASHINGTON — A bill being ready in Congress seeks to put Yucca Mountain back on the table as lawmakers seek to break a gridlock over managing and disposing of the nation’s nuclear waste.

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., stated Tuesday legislation he is writing could be prepared for House floor votes by the summer season. He mentioned specifics still had been being formed. Nuclear business officials familiar with the effort say it could incorporate financial incentives for Nevada to drop its long-held opposition to the once-proposed repository, provisions to comprehensive a web site license overview and land withdrawals required to advance the project.

Edward Davis, president of the Pegasus Group, a consulting firm, mentioned Monday at a conference sponsored by the Institute of Nuclear Components Management that he was told the Yucca legislation was “one of the leading three or four priorities” of the House Energy and Commerce Committee this year.

But at the exact same conference, Power Division assistant secretary Peter Lyons mentioned the Obama administration remains opposed to the Yucca internet site, calling it “unworkable.”

“We need to have to function toward new options,” Lyons mentioned, but needs Congress to modify the law so options can be explored.

Shimkus, whose state generates the most electricity from nuclear energy and holds the most nuclear waste at six energy stations, is regarded as the leading proponent of reviving the Yucca Mountain plan that was mothballed 5 years ago by President Barack Obama. He is chairman of the Home atmosphere and the economy subcommittee.

The proposed legislation comes as new talks get underway to overcome gridlock that has stymied nuclear waste legislation in recent years. Shimkus mentioned it could turn out to be portion of a compromise that would advance interim storage of nuclear waste accumulating at power plants around the nation, as nicely as a permanent repository.

When it comes to Yucca Mountain, “we can move virtually anything on the Property floor and I consider have a quite very good vote,” Shimkus said. Test votes in current years showed greater than two-to-a single support for the project even though it largely exists only on paper right after becoming dismantled.

Shimkus and other Yucca proponents say Obama properly threw out 30 years of studies and $ 15 billion of improvement perform at the Nevada website. Critics charge the project was forced on Nevada and the web site is unsafe and risky.

The Residence and Senate now are controlled by Republicans, and the top opponent of Yucca Mountain, former Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., now is leader of the minority. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and James Inhofe, R-Okla., who became chairmen of power-related committees, stated last week that nuclear waste was among the concerns on their agendas.

In the Senate now, “You don’t have a majority leader that clearly kind of bans all discussion,” Shimkus mentioned, referring to Reid. “That’s the difference, at least there can be some discussion.”

Reid was not obtainable on Tuesday but experts say he nonetheless wields considerable energy as leader of the Senate minority. He repeatedly has vowed that the Yucca project will in no way become a reality as long as he is senator.

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