In 1982, the U.S government passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act that requires the deep geologic repositories for nuclear waste. In 1983, Yucca Mountain was named as a potential site for a nuclear waste repository. In 1996, Yucca Mountain is found to be lacking the natural geological and hydrological qualities that are needed to be the crucial first barrier of the waste. This requires the project to start relying on engineered barriers. In 2001 several environmental organizations and state of Nevada, filed lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Nevada also filed lawsuits against the U.S. government, the Department of Energy and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), challenging the Yucca Mountain project. In August of 2013, a federal appeals court ruled to resume the licensing process for a nuclear waste storage facility on Yucca Mountain.
Throughout this conflict one main actor has been the Western Shoshone tribe. Yucca Mountain contains traditional and cultural sites and there has been debate with the U.S Department of Energy over their rights and access ability to these communities.
Highly intense resistance has produced constant litigation, new Environmental Assessments, and appeals from States and the Western Shoshone people.
In reaction to further plans by the U.S government to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain after nationwide evaluation process of potential repository sites Currently, the United States government has removed funding to the Yucca Mountain project but under the Nuclear Waste Repository Act the U.S is required to find a more permanent holding place for nuclear waste. Therefore, while funding has been removed there is still the potential to re-fund the repository. President Barak Obama has convened the so-called Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future that has been tasked with 'establish(in) a nuclear waste administration and create a consent-based process for siting nuclear waste facilities.' This commission will be highly influential in determining the outcome of Yucca Mountain.