Energy & Environment

Nuclear regulators say Yucca disposal site would be safe

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) staff gave a positive safety evaluation of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site Thursday, but said it is still not ready for construction.

NRC staffers released the final two parts of their five-part safety review Thursday, finding that Yucca would meet safety requirements during the time it is in operation and before its permanent closure.

{mosads}“The safety evaluation report includes the staff’s recommendation that the commission should not authorize construction of the repository because [Energy Department] has not met certain land and water rights requirements,” the NRC said in a statement.

The problems regarding land and water rights were contained in a December volume of the report. The federal government owns the land and water rights and Congress must transfer them to the Energy Department.

In addition, the Energy Department would need to file a supplement to its environmental impact statement before it meets the requirements.

Thursday’s report is only one of many steps left for Yucca. The Obama administration does not want to build the Nevada site proposed to permanently store waste from nuclear power and weapons, and has refused to defend the Bush administration’s 2008 application to the NRC for the project.

Congress has also eliminated the Energy Department’s funding to build Yucca.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said the report shows that Congress needs to make sure the project goes on.

“Congress must now provide funding for the licensing process to continue, and transfer control over the land and water rights to the Department of Energy to officially make Yucca Mountain a place to safely contain our nation’s nuclear waste,” Inhofe said in a statement

“I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure that America has a safe, permanent resting place for nuclear waste.” 

Tags James Inhofe Nuclear power Yucca Mountain
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