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Lawmakers asked to fund fight against Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site

Nevada lawmakers are being asked to commit $3.6 million per year for the next two years to fight a federal proposal to bury the nation's most radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

State Agency for Nuclear Projects chief Robert Halstead says that's for the legal and administrative fight.

Halstead told state Senate and Assembly members on Monday that he thinks Nuclear Regulatory Commission hearings on licensing the mothballed project to accept spent nuclear fuel could start before 2019.

A commission spokesman, David McIntyre, said Tuesday that hearings won't be scheduled until Congress approves funding.

Halstead says hearings will take at least four years and could cost the federal Energy Department nearly $1.7 billion, the NRC at least $300 million, and the state of Nevada about $50 million.

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