September 08, 2008

Crapo: Yucca Mountain News Is Welcome

DOE "docketed" license application, called action "significant progress"

Washington, DC - Today's announcement by the Department of Energy that it has docketed the license application for Yucca Mountain is welcomed by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, co-chair of the Nuclear Cleanup Caucus, who issued the following statement:

"It is time to put politics aside and let the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) do its evaluations of the Yucca Mountain site," Crapo said. "This storage site has been in preparatory work since 1987, more than 20 years, and it should have been opened a decade ago. Instead, Idaho and other states are 'temporarily' storing spent nuclear fuel and other high level waste that the federal government has continually promised to permanently store. At the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) alone, there is more than 300 metric tons of Cold War legacy spent nuclear fuel and high level waste that must be removed by 2035, according to the Idaho Settlement Agreement. The filing and subsequent docketing of the licensing application is significant progress. Regardless of future technology options for the management of spent nuclear fuel, the legacy wastes at the INL can only be disposed of in a deep geologic repository like Yucca Mountain, and it is far past time to get the project fully evaluated and approved."

In deciding to docket the Yucca Mountain license application the NRC staff has determined that the Department of Energy's application, submitted on June 3, 2008, is sufficiently complete for the staff to begin its full technical review. The NRC now has up to four years to decide whether to grant a construction authorization for the Yucca Mountain project.