Members of Congress to tour Yucca Mountain site on April 9

April 2, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) will lead a bipartisan congressional visit to the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain on April 9. This exploratory trip continues the committee’s years-long oversight of the administration’s termination of the project and will help inform Congress’ efforts to establish a workable, long-term nuclear waste solution.

Chairman Shimkus led a congressional trip to the site four years ago. Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Bob Latta (R-OH), Cresent Hardy (R-NV), Mark Amodei (R-NV), and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) will join Shimkus on this year’s tour.

“I’m excited to return to Yucca Mountain and show more of my colleagues this national asset – a geographically isolated permanent disposal facility. Seeing the site in person really adds some perspective to the debate as you appreciate just how remote the location is and just how much time and money has been poured into the project,” said Shimkus. “Our nation desperately needs to advance our nuclear waste strategy, and Yucca Mountain is a part of the solution. This journey back to the desert will help guide our work this Congress to put our nuclear future back on track. I’m hopeful that by working in partnership with Nevada we can find a workable path forward for Yucca.”

BACKGROUND: 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 was scheduled to decide 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 August 2013, a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the NRC must resume its review of DOE’s license application. One of the fist steps in restarting the licensing was for NRC to release Volume III of the Safety Evaluation Report. The report, which was finally released in October 2014, concluded that the Department of Energy’s license application meets the long-term nuclear waste repository regulatory and safety requirements, including that Yucca Mountain would remain safe for at least a million years. To learn more about the history of Yucca Mountain and the committee’s oversight of the issue, visit: http://energycommerce.house.gov/yuccamountain.