Split NRC Vote Leaves Yucca Mountain's Fate to Congress But Lets DOE Stop Work at De-funded Nuclear Waste Repository

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Split NRC Vote Leaves Yucca Mountain's Fate to Congress But Lets DOE Stop Work at De-funded Nuclear Waste Repository

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was split 2-2 in a long-anticipated vote Friday regarding an earlier decision denying the Department of Energy's request to withdraw its application to operate the Yucca Mountain waste repository.

An Atomic Safety and Licensing Board decision in late June of 2010 would not allow DOE to withdraw its application for the repository, which faces the opposition of President Barack Obama and his Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The ASLB cited the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which, as amended, names the former nuclear weapons test site in Nevada as the primary site for disposal of the country's spent fuel.

The deadlocked vote by NRC commissioners does not overturn the ASLB decision, but because Congress cut off funding to the project, the agency also directed DOE to wrap up the remainder of its funded activities at Yucca Mountain before its funding ceases at the end of the month.

“Today's action means the Yucca Mountain license application remains alive. The full House of Representatives voted this summer 297-130 on a strong bipartisan basis to increase funding for both DOE and NRC to process the license application. We expect the Senate and the president to put politics aside and cooperate with the full House so that license review may proceed, ensuring the billions of taxpayer dollars and nearly three decades of research is not wasted,” read a statement by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus, R-Il.

Approval of further funding for the project in the Democratically controlled Senate, though, is tenuous at best, and the future of the repository is made even more uncertain as a federal appeals court considers a lawsuit brought by several states seeking to ship waste to the site.

The NRC did not make public Friday how individual commissioners voted on the ASLB decision. Commissioner George Apostolakis has recused himself from votes related to Yucca Mountain because of his previous work. Based on their past statements, it is likely that Commissioners William Ostendorff and Kristine Svinicki voted to uphold the ASLB decision, while Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko and Commissioner William Magwood voted against it.

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  • NUCLEAR WASTE SHOULD REMAIN ON SITE.. SAFEST AND EASIEST... WASTE MAY BE USED BY EACH SITE LATER....

    DOE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR NUCLEAR TEST WASTE   AND   RESPONSIBLITY SHOULD REMAIN SEPRATE....

    PLANT WASTE   BY EACH PLANT CIRCULAR   UNDERGRONUD SILOS.... SAME AS FOR BUILDING PILES

  • RESPONSIBILITY:

    DOE =  NUCLEAR WASTE FROM BOMB TESTING

    NRC = NUCLEAR WASTE FROM NUCLEAR PLANTS