A bipartisan team of senators introduced a bill last week aimed at breaking the decades-long standoff over the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.
The bill directs the federal government to establish both temporary and permanent storage sites for waste from nuclear weapons and energy production.
“Nuclear energy is a vital part of America’s energy portfolio and for far too long, the American taxpayer has been on the hook for the federal government’s failure to implement an effective plan to handle the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.
“This legislation is an important step toward advancing the use of nuclear power in America,” she said.
The bill would establish a new independent agency to oversee federal efforts toward building nuclear waste sites. This agency would have to build a pilot storage facility and begin the siting process for a permanent facility seeking consent from the state and local communities before building any waste site.