WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, has introduced the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019.

The legislation provides practical reforms to the nation’s nuclear waste management policy to ensure the federal government’s legal obligations to dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste are fulfilled, according to a news release. Barrasso’s bill was introduced in the Senate shortly after the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed bipartisan legislation by voice vote. Barrasso’s legislation is cosponsored by Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.

“If we’re serious about reducing carbon emissions in a meaningful way, we need to get serious about dealing with nuclear waste,” Barrasso said in the release. “Nuclear power is America’s largest source of carbon-free energy, but it leaves leftover spent fuel. Right now, that nuclear waste and high-level radioactive material is being stored in 39 different states.

“My legislation will advance the safety review of the Yucca Mountain facility. It also takes important steps to strengthen the nation’s nuclear waste management program. The House of Representatives has advanced a bipartisan bill out of committee. I look forward to gaining similar bipartisan support in the Senate.”

The draft legislation mirrors the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, introduced last Congress by Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill. Last year, that legislation passed the House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support by a vote of 340-72.

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