Only on 2: Rep. Mark Amodei Open to Yucca Mountain Negotiations - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Only on 2: Rep. Mark Amodei Open to Yucca Mountain Negotiations

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Congressman Mark Amodei expects the House of Representatives to pass a vote, in the coming weeks, that would open the door for Yucca Mountain to become a storage facility for the country's nuclear waste. Nevada's congressional delegation has fought the idea since the 1980s, but after the Committee on Energy and Commerce passed a bill that amends the Nuclear Waste Policy of 1982 with a 49-4 vote, it appears the state's fight to keep nuclear waste out is an uphill climb.

"If the bill's just flat-out a nuclear landfill, then it's like, well I'm a no, but guess what? It will give me no joy to come back and say I was one of 23 no votes out of 435," Amodei, R-Nevada said.

The Trump Administration's budget proposal includes $120 million to re-start licensing activities at Yucca Mountain. The 147,000-acre site is in Nye County, about 100 miles from Las Vegas. 

Amodei has discussed the Yucca Mountain issue with Rep. John Shimkus, R-Illinois, over the past few years. Shimkus is the sponsor of H.R. 3053.

"At one point in time, he said 'Well, we'll give you a billion dollars' and I go 'It's not about the cash'. It's something that makes sense and the first thing that makes sense is make it not waste," Amodei said.

Amodei says if the bill would include responsible and sustainable plan for Nevada, including reprocessing the material and including economic development, he would look at the bill.

"They're already doing reprocessing research at UNLV," Amodei said. "Senator (Harry) Reid's been through the facility. So,if you're gonna put it here, then what are you going to do to make us the premiere reprocessing, research and whatever thing so that it's not just put it some place where we can forget about it until after we're dead and let the next guys worry about it?"

If Yucca Mountain does become a nuclear storage or reprocessing site, Amodei says he wants to see local agencies control the compliance aspect of the operations. Possibly, the Desert Research Institute.

"That's a homegrown outfit that has national legitimacy," Amodei said. "If you're going to do it, I want our guys keeping an eye on the compliance stuff because I think they'll do a good job and if they're a little strict, the other way, then that's fine too."

Still, Amodei says the first thing that would have to happen is to process the material, so that it won't be waste anymore. Otherwise, it will be a hard sell to get Nevada's leaders on-board.

"When you say 'consent basis' like somebody says we want it, well I've got news for you. There's nobody in the 50 states that is going 'Please, come. We will build it,'" Amodei said.

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