Update on Yucca Mountain: Abeyance Annoyance

Photo by musicalwds. Some rights reserved.

An August 3rd Order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held in abeyance Aiken County, N.C. et al., v. NRC, a case seeking to mandate the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to act on the Department of Energy’s long-pending license application to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. The NRC is resisting, according to one of the concurring judges, “on the ground that it does not have sufficient appropriated funds to complete action on the license application (even though it has appropriated funds available to at least start).”

However, the judge continues, “[compelling the NRC] now would entail significant expenditures of government resources […and] Congress’s upcoming appropriations decisions could well affect whether those expenditures are necessary.” Therefore, in granting the abeyance, the Court asks that the parties “file, by no later than December 14, 2012, updates on the status of Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations with respect to the issues presented.”

In a recent memo, Law Firm Van Ness Feldman has a succinct recap of the project’s background – including the recent Order, as well as speculation on possible outcomes. You can also see other Green Mien posts on the Yucca Mountain saga here.

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