NRC Resumes Yucca Mountain License Application Review

on November 29, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Germany Seeks Permanent Nuclear Waste Storage Site

NRC has resumed safety review of the proposed Yucca Mountain waste repository in response to a U.S. appeals court order.

On November 18, 2013, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced an Order directing its staff to complete the safety evaluation report (SER) on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) license application for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. The Order is in response a court ruling directing NRC to resume the license application review process.  NRC also requested DOE prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement to complete the process.

Yucca Mountain Disposal Plan Design (NRC)

Yucca Mountain Disposal Plan Design (NRC)

In an August ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit declared that NRC violated federal law by halting the review process.  The 1983 Nuclear Waste Policy Act directs NRC to consider DOE’s license application to construct a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.  NRC must issue a final decision within three years from the application submission date, with a provision to extend the deadline by one year if NRC provides a written delay explanation and estimated completion time.  However, NRC missed the statutory deadline in assessing DOE’s 2008 application.  The court denied NRC’s assumptions about congressional appropriations and ordered NRC to resume work using available funds.  Congress appropriated $11.1 million in FY 2011 for the licensing review.

The NRC Order directs its staff to complete and issue the SER that was left incomplete when the review was halted.  NRC intended to publish the SER in five volumes, but released only the first volume in August 2010.  The Order also directs NRC staff to enter documents from the old Licensing Support Network (LSN) into the Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) database accessible to the staff, and eventually to the public if adequate funding is available.

November 19, 2013 via Energy Solutions Forum

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