Closing Yucca Mountain: Litigation Associated with Attempts to Abandon the Planned Nuclear Waste Repository [February 2, 2012]   [open pdf - 352KB]

"Almost 30 years ago, Congress addressed increasing concerns regarding the management of the nation's growing stockpile of nuclear waste by calling for the federal collection of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level nuclear waste (HLW) for safe, permanent disposal. Passed in 1982, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) was an effort to establish an explicit statutory basis for the Department of Energy (DOE) to dispose of the nation's most highly radioactive nuclear waste. The NWPA requires DOE to remove spent nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear power plants, in exchange for a fee, and transport it to a permanent geologic repository or an interim storage facility before permanent disposal. Defense-related high-level waste is to go into the same repository. In order to achieve this goal, and in an effort to mitigate the political difficulties of imposing a federal nuclear waste facility on a single community, Congress attempted to establish an objective, scientifically based multi-stage statutory process for selecting the eventual site of the nation's new permanent geologic repository. Although DOE would be responsible for developing the eventual repository and carrying out the disposal program, individual nuclear power providers would fund a large portion of the program through significant annual contributions, or fees, to the newly established Nuclear Waste Fund (NWF)."

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CRS Report for Congress, R41675
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