In 2010, President Obama cut funding and withdrew the application for the Yucca Mountain storage facility which has been studied by the U.S. government since the 1970s as a potential repository for the nation’s radioactive waste, and billions of dollars have been spent on it.
Now, The Trumps Administration 2018 budget plan for the Department of Energy includes $120 million for nuclear waste programs including the restart of licensing for Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, Reuters reports.
The Trump budget proposal would boost the Energy Department’s spending on managing the nation’s nuclear stockpile and reviving the controversial Yucca Mountain storage facility for nuclear power plant waste but would slash spending on a host of science and climate areas.
While Yucca Mountain would store waste on a practically permanent basis, the budget money would also support programs for storing waste at interim sites before Yucca opens.
“These investments would accelerate progress on fulfilling the federal government’s obligations to address nuclear waste, enhance national security, and reduce future taxpayer burden,” according to a summary of the budget.
Trump’s energy secretary, Rick Perry, told lawmakers at his confirmation hearing that restarting the Yucca Mountain project could not be ruled out, but that he would collaborate with states.
“I am very aware that this is an issue this country has been flummoxed by for 30 years. We have spent billions of dollars on this issue,” Perry told the hearing in January. “I’ll work closely with you and the members of this committee to find the answers to this issue.”
Congress will debate the budget and it is uncertain whether funds for waste will remain in the plan.