Bill would keep nuclear waste out of Great Lakes Basin

Legislation about waste storage site at Yucca Mountain headed to House floor

A flag flies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Legislation headed to the floor of the U.S. House revives an old idea put on hold by the Obama administration about where to keep nuclear waste, and insists that not be around the Great Lakes.

The bill, which passed 49-4 in the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday, would establish a long-embattled nuclear waste storage site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, as well as an interim site while Yucca Mountain can be readied.

The bill includes a bipartisan amendment that says no nuclear waste could be stored in the Great Lakes Basin.

That’s important because there is a plan in the works in Canada to build a nuclear storage unit within a mile of Lake Huron. The House bill wouldn’t bind Canada, but the two Michigan representatives who offered the amendment — Debbie Dingell, a Democrat, and Republican Fred Upton — say it puts Canada on notice.

“We are sending a strong message that the Congress, in a strong bipartisan way, is opposed to storage near the Great Lakes of nuclear waste. Canada needs to understand this is an issue could impact our diplomatic efforts with them,” Upton, of St. Joseph, said.

“We need to send a strong signal that this just can’t happen,” Dingell, of Dearborn, said. “We know that there’s a lot of nuclear waste in our region. We also believe strongly that we ought to find one safe place for it forever rather than scatter it all across the country. This was an important amendment that we included as part of the Yucca Mountain bill.”

Upton says the full bill could be considered by the House in a matter of weeks.