Yucca Mountain gets dangerous radioactive rubberstamp

BEYOND NUCLEAR NEWS BULLETIN (http://www.beyondnuclear.org/)
Sept. 8, 2008
Tel: 301.270.2209
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Dockets Yucca Mountain Application
Background: Today, after a three month long review, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) docketed, or accepted as complete enough to proceed, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) application to build and operate a national dumpsite for high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. After three decades of site studies, this action officially kicks off the Yucca Mountain repository licensing proceeding. The State of Nevada, and other dump opponents, will now have 60 days to intervene by submitting contentions to NRC citing legal or technical flaws with the proposal. Nevada is expected to submit hundreds of contentions. An NRC licensing board will decide which contentions will be granted a hearing. NRC’s licensing proceeding will last three to four years. It will then decide whether or not to approve the Yucca Mountain dump.

Commentary from Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear: “The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) today showed its blatant bias in favor of the proposed high-level radioactive waste dump in Nevada by docketing the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) license application before the pro-nuclear Bush administration leaves office. In record time, NRC rubberstamped DOE’s half-baked submission, despite its lack of a final repository design, waste transport-storage-burial canister design, and national routing plan for shipping the deadly wastes by road, rail, and waterway through 45 states.
“Despite DOE being nearly six years late in filing its still incomplete license application, NRC recently denied the State of Nevada’s humble and reasonable request for a mere six months to prepare contentions against the dump.

“Why is NRC rushing into the Yucca proceeding at breakneck speed, especially when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not even finalized radiation release regulations for the dumpsite?

“Nevadans know the reason better than anyone, that politics have long trumped science at Yucca Mountain. Interestingly, Nevada’s contentions against the dump are now due right around Election Day. If elected, Barack Obama has pledged to withdraw the Yucca license application. Even John McCain, who has consistently voted in favor of the Yucca dump, has indicated that burying radioactive waste in Nevada may not be the best idea after all. Politics singled out Nevada in the first place, kept the Yucca Mountain Project alive for two decades despite glaring scientific unsuitability, and ironically may now kill the dump in the end.”
For more information, see the Securing Nuclear Waste page on our Web site or call: 201.270.2209.
Kevin Kamps
Radioactive Waste Watchdog
Beyond Nuclear
6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 400
Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
Office phone: (301) 270-2209
Cell phone: (240) 462-3216
Fax: (301) 270-4000

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has formally docketed the Department of Energy’s
license application for the proposed high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev.
The agency staff has also recommended that the Commission adopt, with further supplementation,
DOE’s Environmental Impact Statement for the repository project.
The decision to docket the application follows the NRC staff’s determination that the
application, submitted June 3, is sufficiently complete for the staff to begin its full technical review.
Docketing the application does not indicate whether the Commission will approve or reject the
construction authorization for the repository, nor does it preclude the Commission or the agency
staff from requesting additional information from DOE during the course of its comprehensive
technical review.
Docketing the application triggers a three-year deadline, with a possible one-year extension,
set by Congress for the NRC to decide whether to grant a construction authorization. NRC officials
have stated that meeting this deadline is contingent on the agency receiving sufficient resources
from Congress.
After reviewing DOE’s Environmental Impact Statement and its supplements, the NRC staff
determined that it would be practicable for the agency to adopt the DOE report. However, the staff
is requesting that DOE supplement some aspects of its groundwater analyses. The staff’s report on
its adoption review will be available on the NRC’s ADAMS online document system at
http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams/web-based.html using access number ML082420342.
The NRC notified DOE of its docketing decision and adoption recommendation this
morning. A notice of docketing will be published soon in the Federal Register. A subsequent
Federal Register notice will provide an opportunity for interested parties to seek an adjudicatory
hearing before the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board regarding the NRC’s adoption of the
Environmental Impact Statement or the substance of the license application.
News releases are available through a free listserv subscription at the following Web address:
http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/listserver.html. The NRC homepage at www.nrc.gov also offers a SUBSCRIBE
link. E-mail notifications are sent to subscribers when news releases are posted to NRC's Web site.

Office of Public Affairs Telephone: 301/415-8200
Washington, D.C. 20555-0001
E-mail: opa@nrc.gov
Site: http://www.nrc.gov
No. 08-164
September 8, 2008


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