NRC publishes Volume 4 of Yucca Mountain report

19 December 2014

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has published Volume 4 of its safety evaluation report on the proposed underground geologic nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

Volume 4 covers administrative and programmatic requirements for the repository. It documents the staff's evaluation of whether Department of Energy (DOE) research and development and performance confirmation programs, as well as other administrative controls and systems, meet applicable NRC requirements.

It contains the NRC staff's finding that most administrative and programmatic requirements in NRC regulations are met, except for certain requirements relating to ownership of land and water rights. Specifically, DOE has not acquired ownership or jurisdiction over the land where the geologic repository operations area would be located, and the land is not free of significant encumbrances such as mining rights, deeds, rights-of-way or other legal rights.

DOE also has not acquired water rights it determined are needed to accomplish the purpose of the geologic repository operations area.

The DOE's application to build and operate the USA's first permanent repository for the disposal of used nuclear fuel and military high-level wastes was lodged in 2008, but the regulator suspended work on reviewing the application following a 2009 decision by the US administration to abandon the project. The NRC resumed the review following an August 2013 ruling by the US Court of Appeals that it had acted illegally in abandoning the project, for which it had in hand some $11 million of appropriated funds.

That court order led to publication on 16 October of Volume 3. NRC said then that it expected to publish volume 4 - Administrative and Programmatic Requirements – as well as 2 and 5 - Repository Safety Before Permanent Closure; and Licence Specifications – by January 2015. Volume 1, which contains general information, was issued in August 2010.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News