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Reps. McNerney, Shimkus Introduce Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act

May 14, 2019
Press Release
Similar legislation passed the House 340-72 in the 115th Congress

Washington, DC – Today, Congressmen Jerry McNerney (CA-09) and John Shimkus (IL-15) introduced H.R. 2699, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019. The legislation is similar to H.R. 3053, which passed the House of Representatives in 2018 with bipartisan support. 

“Our country has a dangerous buildup of inadequately secured nuclear waste,” said Congressman McNerney. “We need a short and long-term solution for the storage and disposal of nuclear waste. This hazardous logjam puts communities at risk and inhibits our ability to integrate nuclear power into a robust emissions-reducing agenda to combat the impending threats of climate change.”

“This approach, which simultaneously advances interim storage and permanent disposal, is the only solution to our nation’s nuclear waste stalemate that has gone through the legislative process and earned broad bipartisan support in either chamber,” Congressman Shimkus said. “If we’re serious about reducing emissions, the reality is nuclear power must remain a robust portion of our energy portfolio. But a failure to resolve the waste issue will compromise this key component of any serious proposal to address climate change.” 

Specially, the legislation: 

  • Assists in the resolution of the pending permanent repository license, which will allow the formal licensing process to determine if the Yucca Mountain site can be licensed and constructed; 
  • Reforms a broken financing mechanism to protect ratepayers and assure the Department of Energy (DOE) has adequate funding to construct and operate a multi-generational infrastructure project; 
  • Directs DOE to move forward with a temporary storage program to consolidate spent nuclear fuel from sites with a decommissioned reactor while work on the Yucca Mountain repository progresses, and prioritizes the transfer of spent fuel from seismically active areas to interim sites; 
  • Provides the State of Nevada and local stakeholders the opportunity to engage with the Federal government as the host State for the repository; and 
  • Protects our nation’s national security priorities by providing the most expeditious pathway to remove “defense-waste” from DOE sites

The original cosponsors of the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019 represent some of the 121 communities in 39 states where spent fuel and defense waste currently sits idle, as well as states that have no nuclear power plants. Original cosponsors include: Representatives Scott Peters (D-California), Jeff Duncan (R-South Carolina), Salud Carbajal (D-California), Debbie Lesko (R-Arizona), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Delaware), Fred Upton (R-Michigan), Bill Keating (D-Massachusetts), Rick Allen (R-Georgia), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Troy Bladerson (R-OH).

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Rep. Jerry McNerney proudly serves the constituents of California’s 9th Congressional District that includes portions of San Joaquin, Contra Costa, and Sacramento Counties. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney.