The US government has been searching for a safe way to dispose of dangerous chemicals for decades such as plutonium, and high-level radioactive waste.
Amongst other potential repository locations, Yucca Mountain has been strongly considered. Located roughly 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, making this decision has posed many controversies.
While disposal of nuclear byproduct is necessary, it requires research because of the potential threats dangerous waste poses to the environment and inhabitants.
In 1982 a Nuclear Waste Policy Act passed through Congress, granting permission for the Department of Energy (DOE) to construct an operating permanent nuclear waste site.
The DOE studied Yucca Mountain for several decades and concluded that it was a safe site. The mountain was said to be dry, and durable against leakage, but far enough that if leaks were to happen humans would not be affected.
However, the Nevada residents have been fighting against building a waste site in Yucca Mountain, and the tensions between politics and science, as well as government versus citizens has created this long standing issue of the Yucca Mountain Controversy.
It is an issue Nevadans are heavily influenced by during elections, as they want a political representative who keeps their health and personal interests in mind.