|Yucca Mountain repository entrance|
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is reviewing a June order by a Construction Authorization Board (CAB) panel that flatly said the Department of Energy (DOE) had no authority to pull the application for developing the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. The Bush administration submitted the application in 2008. NFRC supports the CAB ruling that DOE does not have authority to pull the application. NFRC supports Yucca Mountain as the repository for America's nuclear waste. DOE officials insist the agency has the authority to end the project and that a better national strategy for managing nuclear waste can be found.
|Yucca Mountain peak|
|George Apostolakis & Norris McDonald (Jaczko in background)|
Many surmise that the most likely vote to overturn the CAB and back DOE’s efforts to sink Yucca is NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, a former Harry Reid aide who is considered a likely anti-Yucca vote out of allegiance to his former boss. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opposes Yucca Mountain. Jaczko, a nuclear physicist, has given no indication what he might do on Yucca and has generally been seen as an even-handed commissioner and chairman.
|Bill Magwood & Norris McDonald|
Besides Apostolakis' recusal, none of NRC’s four other commissioners have signaled their intention on Yucca, and the upcoming decision turns strictly on their interpretation of DOE’s authority to yank the Yucca application under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act.
Although the NRC’s upcoming ruling will certainly inform the outcome, the legality of DOE’s effort to yank Yucca will likely ultimately be decided in the courts, however. (The Energy Daily, 9/22/2010)