1861-1938: Early Building Blocks Toward Yucca Mountain -- 1939-1952: Nuclear Proliferation Begins in the United States -- 1953-1969: Shifting Nuclear Priorities -- 1970-1981: Precursors to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act -- 1982-1987: The U.S. Settles on Yucca Mountain -- 1988-1999: The Yucca Mountain Project Pushes Forward -- 2000-2016: The Yucca Mountain Project Grinds to a Halt -- 2017-present: New Life for Yucca Mountain?
2017: U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry announces plans to reopen work on Yucca Mountain, with a proposed $120 million slated for the project in President Trump’s 2018 budget. Nevada Senators Dean Heller and Catherine Cortez-Masto author a bill that would prohibit placement of a nuclear repository in a state without its consent.
2018: In May, the U.S. House of Representatives votes on a bill to revive Yucca Mountain, which includes a separate plan for interim storage in New Mexico or Texas. In July, $30 million dollars from the Armed Services Committee and another $120 million in a separate spending bill to revive the licensing process for Yucca Mountain are rejected by the U.S. Senate, again stalling the Yucca Mountain Project.
2019: In January, the U.S. Department of Energy discloses that it already has shipped 1/2 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium from South Carolina to the Nevada National Security Site. After pushback from the state of Nevada, the Trump administration promises to discontinue shipping plutonium from the Savannah River Site to Nevada, but asserts that there is no way to remove the plutonium that has already been shipped to the state. In March, President Trump requests $116 million in his FY2020 budget for restarting construction at Yucca Mountain. Nevada senators continue to fight the proposal.
2020: President Trump announces via tweet that he will support Nevada voters and find "innovative approaches" to storing nuclear waste.
Aerial view of Yucca Mountain.