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Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Rejects DOE’s Attempt to Withdraw Yucca Mountain License

Congressman Mike Simpson commends the Board for its decision

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Washington, June 29, 2010 | comments
“I congratulate the Board for its commonsense finding,” said Simpson. “Congress has repeatedly shown its support for building a permanent nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain, and this decision is a first step to rejecting DOE’s misguided efforts to waste the billions of dollars and decades of work that have already been invested in the Yucca site.”
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Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson congratulated the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board for its decision rejecting the Department of Energy (DOE) motion to withdraw the license application for Yucca Mountain today. The Board’s decision noted that the Nuclear Waste Policy Act does not provide the Secretary with the authority to withdraw the application, and it rejects the Secretary’s argument that he can withdraw the application without the approval of Congress.

“I congratulate the Board for its commonsense finding,” said Simpson. “Congress has repeatedly shown its support for building a permanent nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain, and this decision is a first step to rejecting DOE’s misguided efforts to waste the billions of dollars and decades of work that have already been invested in the Yucca site.”

The Board noted that because Congress directed DOE to file the Application and the NRC to consider the application, “unless Congress directs otherwise, DOE may not single-handedly derail the legislated decision-making process by withdrawing the Application,” and therefore it must deny DOE’s motion.

As a member of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees DOE, Simpson has often challenged the Secretary on this issue. “The Yucca Mountain repository has been thoroughly studied and is demonstrated to be a safe, suitable repository for our nation’s spent nuclear fuel and defense waste,” said Simpson. “I strongly support efforts to move forward on this project and avoid further unnecessary delays.”

While this is a significant victory for pro-Yucca advocates, it is an interim one. The full Commission now has the authority to take up the order and vote to support or overturn this finding.

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Tags: Energy

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