Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019

H.R. 2699/S. 1234

H.R. 2699


  • Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA)


  • Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)
  • Rep. Scott H. Peters (D-CA)
  • Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC)
  • Rep. Salud O. Carbajal (D-CA)
  • Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ)
  • Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE)
  • Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
  • Rep. William R. Keating (D-MA)
  • Rep. Rick W. Allen (R-GA)
  • Rep. Michael F. Doyle (D-PA)
  • Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
  • Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)
  • Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH)


Nuclear waste is building up at power plants around the country because of the federal government’s failed promise to take the waste and store it in a permanent storage site. This is bad news for the U.S. taxpayer. They are forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars each year to maintain nuclear waste at these plants. “Put simply, this nation’s failure to come to grips with the nuclear waste issue has already proved damaging and costly.” — The Department of Energy’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future36 Not only is the political quagmire costing taxpayers, it’s also been ruled illegal by the courts. Under the Nuclear Waste Act of 1982, the federal government promised nuclear power plants that they would handle the waste. Yucca Mountain was selected after it was determined to be the prime geologic choice of 10 different locations. The bipartisan Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act would authorize privately owned interim storage options in the short-term as requested by stakeholders living near shut down nuclear plants, while removing barriers to the licensing and development of a permanent long-term solution. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 established Yucca Mountain as the site for the first federal geologic repository of spent nuclear fuel. Since that time utilities have paid billions into the nuclear waste fund (as above), to advancing the licensing process.


  • Advances Yucca Mountain licensing forward by helping to resolve outstanding water access and funding questions;
  • Authorizes DOE to contract with privately owned facilities for interim consolidated waste using a consent based process;
  • Integrates federal nuclear waste management activities associated with the transportation and storage of spent fuel, including any interim storage program, to ensure federal actions work towards the goal of permanent geologic disposal.
  • Strengthens the federal government’s local stakeholder engagement for areas identified as a host to a repository or interim storage facility, with a priority towards Nevada.

View the full text of H.R.2699

S. 1234


  • Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)


Over 75,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel, or “nuclear waste”, are sitting at more than 70 sites (mostly nuclear power plants) across America.[source id="1"] Fourteen plants are no longer operational, but must still maintain security personnel for monitoring purposes.[source id="2"] This is clearly not a responsible, long-term solution because the waste can persist for thousands of years. The act is a bipartisan effort to safeguard and permanently dispose of the nation’s stockpiles of spent nuclear fuel, which are currently accumulating at separate sites across the country. Several states, such as Illinois and Kentucky, have understandably banned new nuclear development until the waste can be properly stored. Making nuclear waste disposal easier and safer will remove a roadblock to new nuclear development. The bill would create a new nuclear waste administration body to have politically independent control over nuclear waste management, similar to what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is for nuclear safety and security. This body would focus on consent based siting for both interim and permanent nuclear disposal sites.


  • Establish a new federal organization to manage nuclear waste
  • Provide a consensual process for siting nuclear waste facilities
  • Authorizes interim storage of nuclear waste
  • Ensure adequate funding for managing nuclear waste

View the full text of S. 1234