The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved further actions related to its review of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) application for authorization to construct a high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
In particular, the next steps involve information-gathering activities related to the suspended adjudication on the application. The activities are intended to enable efficient, informed decisions in support of executing any further appropriations of funds for the High-Level Waste Program.
Overview The Commission has directed agency staff to hold a virtual meeting of the Licensing Support Network Advisory Review Panel to provide information to, and gather input from, advisory panel members and the public regarding reconstitution of the Licensing Support Network (LSN) or a suitable replacement system. Agency staff will also gather preliminary information regarding potential hearing venues.
The Commission limited expenditures for the information-gathering activities to $110,000 from the Nuclear Waste Fund. As of June 30, 2017, NRC had approximately $634,000 in remaining unobligated Nuclear Waste Fund appropriations.
Background The LSN was an online database of nearly 4 million documents created to allow various parties and the public access to information needed for the hearing on DOE’s request for a construction authorization for the Yucca Mountain repository. The NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Boards (ASLB) had admitted nearly 300 contentions from various parties challenging aspects of DOE’s application.
In September 2011, the Yucca Mountain hearing was suspended and the LSN was decommissioned after Congress reduced funding. At the time, the Commission directed agency staff to preserve the documents from the LSN within ADAMS.
Subsequently, in August 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered the NRC to resume its review of the application using the remaining previously appropriated funds. In response, NRC staff completed the Safety Evaluation Report (SER) in January 2015 and a supplement to DOE’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in May 2016.
The Commission’s Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM), Commission voting records and the staff’s proposal (COMSECY-17-0019) are available on the NRC website at www.nrc.gov.
For additional information, please contact David McIntyre of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.