WASHINGTON (AP) – Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Tuesday defended the Trump administration’s plans to collect and store nuclear waste from around the country in a site northwest of Las Vegas, saying the current system of scattered storage sites in dozens of states was unacceptable.
Perry held up a map at a budget hearing before a House Appropriations subcommittee, showing lawmakers what he said were the more than three dozen states currently housing disposal sites for spent nuclear fuel.
“We have to find a solution,” Perry said. “Thirty-nine states as repositories is not an appropriate solution.”
The Trump administration is seeking $116 million in this year’s budget on the effort, including restarting the licensing process for a permanent repository for high-level nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
Opposition from Nevada previously helped put the plan on a back-burner. The Trump administration revived the Yucca Mountain proposal.
“I don’t know how Nevadans can make it any clearer that we don’t want our state to turn into America’s nuclear dumping ground,” Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak said Tuesday.
Nevada’s congressional delegation should do “whatever it takes to ensure the Yucca Mountain project remains dead,” Sisolak said.
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nevada, called funding requests for Yucca Mountain “dead on arrival” and said in a statement she’d work to “prevent any attempts to revive this dangerous and costly project.”
Michelle L. Price contributed from Las Vegas.