House Continues Commitment to Yucca Mountain Depository

The House Wednesday allocated an additional $10 million to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2013 for the commission to complete a review of the permitting process to use Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a nuclear waste storage site. Many members of an irked House said they believed the NRC did not need the funding to complete the permit, but were taking action to force the NRC to fulfill its legal obligations under a 2002 law approving the Yucca site.

As we have posted in the past, the apparent cancellation or postponement of the decades-long project, with the NRC refusing to complete the Department of Energy’s permit application to use the site, has been dogged by accusations of messy political maneuvering and stalled by opposition from the Obama administration. The DOE has spent $12 billion on Yucca so far.

The House, with overwhelming support, passed the amendment to the Energy and Water appropriations bill to ensure that the NRC is unable to use funding as an excuse to effectively cancel the Yucca Mountain project in evasion of previously passed laws. Representatives pointed out the projects’ long history of support in Congress, which has acted 32 times to pursue Yucca Mountain as a repository.

Thirty-three states host 143 million pounds of nuclear waste locally, and Representatives from nuclear-heavy states have taken the lead on Yucca. In addition, Washington and South Carolina have argued to the US Court of Appeals that the NRC must rule on Yucca’s potential as a waste site.

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