U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen testified Wednesday before a Senate Committee opposing a bill that would send more nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain.

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held the hearing on Yucca Mountain early Wednesday. 

Cortez Masto says this is an issue most Nevadans agree on.

"Not only are we united as elected leaders from Democrats to Republicans in the state of Nevada against this," Cortez Masto says. "So are the businesses, so are the chambers. A majority, a vast majority of Nevadans are opposed to the opening of Yucca Mountain."

She says no matter how much funding they get or other benefits Nevada gets, she will not support opening Yucca Mountain.

"People need to understand there's nothing at Yucca Mountain right now," Cortez Masto says. "It really is a dead site. It's a five mile horseshoe hole in the ground which is exploratory tunnel to study the geology and hydrology. Which shows that it is not safe to store this high-level radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel."

While she talked a lot about safety, she also brought up national security concerns.

"People need to understand there's nothing at Yucca Mountain right now," Cortez Masto says. "It really is a dead site. It's a five mile horseshoe hole in the ground which is exploratory tunnel to study the geology and hydrology. Which shows that it is not safe to store this high-level radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel."

On Tuesday, Nye County Board of Commissioner Leo Blundo submitted a letter to the same committee stating that Nye County is "has favored a full and fair review of the science for NRC for years. We want decisions to be made on Yucca Mountain to be based on faces and science and not empty rhetoric and fear mongering." 

Commissioner Blundo urged lawmakers to restart the licensing process writing that it is "far better for the American public to have the waste stored safely in a remote desert mountain than to be in locations near population centers, lakes and rivers."

Governor Steve Sisolak also sent a letter to two committee members, dated last week reiterating his opposition to the project.

“I am totally opposed to any legislative effort to restart the Yucca Mountain project,” Gov. Sisolak said. “My position, and that of the State of Nevada, remains identical to the position of Nevada’s past five governors: The State of Nevada opposes the project based on scientific, technical, and legal merits. My staff and I, as well as Nevada’s congressional delegation, would be happy to meet with committee members to explore constructive alternatives to Yucca Mountain for our nation’s broken nuclear waste storage system.”

The bill, Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019, is sponsored by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and would continue the Yucca Mountain policy. 

Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen have introduced alternative legislation. The Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act would require the U.S. Department of Energy to obtain written consent from the governor of Nevada and from affected county and tribal governments before constructing a repository at Yucca Mountain. U.S. Reps. Dina Titus (NV-01), Susie Lee (NV-03), and Steven Horsford (NV-04) have introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Some scientists believe Yucca Mountain is safe for radioactive storage, and say it could benefit Nevada. To hear from one of them, watch Face the State with Arianna Bennett one Saturday 4:30 a.m. and 3:30 pm.m and Sunday 6:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.