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Nevada Relies On A Mix Of Tactics, People In Yucca Mountain Fight

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Department of Energy

Yucca Mountain sits about 100 miles from Las Vegas in Nye County.

As advocates for turning Yucca Mountain into a nuclear waste repository work to revive the long-dormant project, the state of Nevada has countered with a strategy of erecting regulatory, legislative and judicial roadblocks.

Bob Halstead, who heads the state’s Nuclear Projects Agency, said the Trump Administration’s budget request of $120 million for restarting the licensing process for Yucca Mountain sounded an alarm in Nevada.

“Governor (Brian) Sandoval and I met to lay out a plan of what we call the three L’s — licensing, litigation and legislation — that Nevada is using to try to prevent the restart of the Department of Energy’s program and, of course, the more formal licensing proceeding before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” Halstead said.

Both houses of Congress are considering Yucca-related measures and the courts are hearing a lawsuit by Texas to force the federal government to restart Yucca Mountain.

From his perch nearly 3,000 miles from Washington, Halstead said he relies on a talented assortment of congressional, state and municipal staff people to counter the pro-Yucca forces.

“Nobody ever knows how the work gets done,” Halstead said. “We have a wonderful group of staff people working with us in Washington and Carson City. You have to have a big team to win a fight like this.”

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Bob Halstead, executive director Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects

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