January 31, 2001

Senate votes down nuke storage bill

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A bill that would have allowed the taxation of nuclear waste failed after senators debated whether the proposal would have allowed nuclear waste storage in Wyoming in the first place.

Senate File 108 died 17-13 on third reading Tuesday following opposition from lawmakers like Sen. April Brimmer Kunz, R-Cheyenne, who said she was concerned about what the bill meant.

Bill sponsor Sen. Robert Peck, R-Riverton, said he was not asking the Senate to approve a nuclear waste dump, but "to provide a method of taxation."

Peck said he "absolutely" opposed nuclear waste dumps. However, he also said Riverton's current economic vitality has links to a uranium mine opened in the early 1950s.

The bill would have required those who want to store spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors to negotiate an agreement with the state Department of Revenue. The agreement would have been submitted for public review.

Anything stored in a "high-level radioactive storage facility" would have been taxed.

A reconsideration vote proposed by Sen. Tom Kinnison, R-Sheridan, failed 19-11.