THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS
Ken Paxton

AG Paxton Asks 5th Circuit to Force Federal Government Action on Nuclear Waste Storage

Friday, June 2, 2017 – Austin

Earlier this week, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a motion that asks the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to declare that the federal government is not in compliance with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA). Texas also asked for an injunction to stop the Department of Energy (DOE) from illegally spending money on matters not approved by Congress.

Since the NWPA was enacted in 1982, DOE has failed to proceed with the licensing process for a permanent nuclear waste storage repository. In March, Attorney General Paxton filed a lawsuit with the 5th Circuit to force an up or down decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on the licensing of Yucca Mountain and stop DOE from unlawfully spending tax dollars on ways to undermine Congress’s choice of Yucca Mountain.

In the latest filing, Attorney General Paxton highlights the ongoing irreparable injury to Texas, which continues to house toxic, radioactive waste above ground, posing a clear and present danger to Texans. During the Obama Administration, DOE indefinitely suspended the Yucca Mountain project, keeping the nation’s nuclear waste above ground in aging, temporary storage casks. The risk to Texans, and others, is seen by the recent accident that happened at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington State on May 9.

The federal government’s inaction on establishing a permanent nuclear waste facility has cost American taxpayers $5.3 billion to pay for temporary storage of nuclear waste at reactor sites. Meanwhile, more than $40 billion sits idle in the Nuclear Waste Fund.

“The goal of this latest filing is to have the federal government follow the law and focus its efforts on the permanent nuclear waste facility selected by Congress,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Every day the federal government refuses to fulfill its mandate under federal law is another day that more nuclear waste piles up above ground, threatening our health and safety, and placing Texas at greater risk for a nuclear incident.”

View a copy of the filing here