Press Releases

Simpson Praises Findings of Safety Evaluation Report

Calls on Administration to Move Forward on Yucca Mountain

Washington, October 17, 2014

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today released a statement on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) completion of a key volume of the Safety Evaluation Report for the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Storage Project. Simpson is Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and has the lead role in deciding funding for all Department of Energy programs.

“The findings of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the Safety Evaluation Report provide the strongest evidence yet that Yucca Mountain is safe and that the project should move forward,” said Simpson.  “Yucca Mountain has been the law of the land for nearly 30 years, and we have spent $11 billion dollars on the effort up to this point.  It is mindboggling that the administration continues to block the project despite overwhelming scientific evidence confirming its safety.” 

The NRC originally received an application from the Department of Energy (DOE) in June of 2008 for a license to construct and operate the nation’s first geologic repository for high-level nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.  In March of 2010, the Obama Administration filed a motion to withdraw its application, and the NRC unilaterally halted its technical review of Yucca Mountain in September 2011.  The completion of the third volume of its Safety Evaluation Report follows an August 2013 decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision ordering the NRC to continue its review of the licensing application at least until available funds are expended.  The Court found that the NRC was “simply defying a law enacted by Congress, and…is doing so without any legal basis.”

“It’s time to stop wasting taxpayer money on political games and move forward on Yucca Mountain,” Simpson said.  “All of the technological developments that are happening now at the Idaho National Lab and elsewhere in the field of nuclear energy will ultimately depend on our ability to find a permanent repository for spent nuclear fuel.  In light of this new NRC report, I hope that the administration will rethink its baseless objections on Yucca Mountain.”