Tuesday, September 09, 2008

NRC Officially Reviewing DOE Yucca Mountain Application

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will take four years to review the 8,600-page Department of Energy (DOE) application to store 77,000 tons of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Why it will take DOE that long to decide whether to grant permission for the site to proceed is beyond us. Would someone at DOE please tell us why this review cannot be completed in one year? DOE submitted the application in June after years of delay. The 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act targeted the dump to be open by 1998. What happened? We know but the question expresses our frustration. The Center supports Yucca Mountain as the appropriate location for the repository. We would also like to see reprocessing there too.

About $14 billion has already been spent on the repository and the total cost is now estimated to be $96 billion. Why so much? The five-mile tunnel is already dug out. The opening date has been pushed back repeatedly and the best-case scenario is now 2020. This is the very reason we formed the Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition (NFRC) to work for taking the nuclear waste function out of DOE and placing it in an agency that only focuses on nuclear waste. AAEA President Norris McDonald is pictured standing at the tunnel exit hole at the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. (AP)

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