NRC Publishes Final Supplement to Yucca Mountain's Environmental Statement

NRC publishes final environmental supplement for Yucca Mountain

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission published the staff’s final environmental impact statement (EIS) supplement on a proposed permanent repository for spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

The document supplements environmental impact statements the Department of Energy prepared on the proposed repository. DOE issued the final EIS in 2002, then supplemented it in June 2008 when it submitted a construction authorization application to the NRC. Under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, the NRC is to adopt DOE’s environmental statement to the extent practicable. NRC staff recommended adoption of DOE’s statement in September 2008, but said a supplement to the study of groundwater effects in the Yucca Mountain aquifer beyond DOE’s analyzed location at the site boundary was needed. DOE ultimately deferred to the NRC to prepare the supplement. In the final report, NRC said the repository's impact on groundwater would be small.

The NRC published a draft of the supplement for public comment last August. The NRC received more than 1,200 comments on the draft supplement.

NRC published all five volumes of the safety evaluation report in 2015 in which commissioners said the repository could be safely built and operated, but not until the EIS was completed and the DOE obtained land and water rights for the project. President Obama, DOE Secretary Ernie Moniz and Nevada Senator Harry Reid have all spoken against the project. DOE withdrew its application for the project and Congress stopped appropriating funds for NRC's review.

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