ABSTRACT

Commercial Nuclear Waste: Resuming Licensing of the Yucca Mountain Repository Would Require Rebuilding Capacity at DOE and NRC, Among Other Key Steps, Report to Congressional Requesters   [open pdf - 3MB]

"Spent nuclear fuel from commercial power reactors can pose risks to humans and the environment, if not properly contained, and is a source of billions of dollars of liabilities. In 2008, DOE [Department of Energy] applied to NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] for approval to build a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada for permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste. As part of NRC's licensing process to review DOE's application and potentially approve construction, NRC initiated a public hearing--or adjudication--with DOE, NRC staff, and nonfederal parties. However, in March 2010, after announcing plans to terminate its proposal for Yucca Mountain, DOE submitted a motion to NRC to withdraw its application. In September 2011, NRC formally suspended the adjudication. GAO [Government Accountability Office] was asked to examine the likely steps needed to resume the Yucca Mountain licensing process. This report examines (1) the actions that took place after DOE submitted its motion to withdraw its application and any plans by DOE or NRC to resume the licensing process, and (2) the likely key steps needed to resume and complete the process and the factors that may influence these steps' success. GAO reviewed federal laws and documents; interviewed DOE and NRC officials and contractors; and interviewed or received written remarks from 15 of the 17 nonfederal parties. [...] GAO is not making any recommendations. NRC generally agreed with GAO's findings. DOE provided comments but did not indicate whether it agreed with the findings."

Report Number:
GAO-17-340
Publisher:
Date:
2017-04
Copyright:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
URL:
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