yucca

yucca2

Updates - Timeline of events

Status of Court of Appeals’ Nuclear Waste-Related Cases and Standard Contract Litigation

2012 - Final BRC report - BRC Report to the Secretary of Energy - January 2012

2014

January 24, 2014

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - Nevada seeks clarification that, should the adjudication be restarted and discovery resume, we will adjust the milestone for the proceeding calling for completion of discovery sixty days after the SER is issued. (Commission declines) --- The Five Parties seek greater detail on the licensing activities than were set forth in CLI-13-8, as well as additional information that they believe will help them to assess the merits of the course of action we have selected. (motions and pleadings) (Commission - "Our chosen path forward is consistent with the court's direction in Aiken County and the limited available funds, and further relief is not warranted." Read Memorandum and Order

2013

Dec 9

STATE OF NEVADA CONSOLIDATED ANSWERS TO (1) FIVE PARTIES' REQUEST FOR LEAVE TO FILE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION AND (2) FIVE PARTIES' MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF COMMISSION'S NOVEMBER 18, 2013 RESTART ORDER

Dec 9

FIVE PARTIES' ANSWER TO NEVADA'S PETITION FOR CLARIFICATION OF RESTART ORDER AND STAFF REQUIREMENTS MEMORANDUM

Dec 9

NRC STAFF ANSWER TO PETITION FOR CLARIFICATION AND RESPONSE TO MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

Dec 9

NRC STAFF ANSWER TO PETITION FOR CLARIFICATION AND RESPONSE TO MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

Nov 27

STATE OF NEVADA PETITION FOR CLARIFICATION OF NOVEMBER 18, 2013 RESTART ORDER AND RELATED STAFF REQUIREMENTS MEMORANDUM

Nov 27

STATE OF NEVADA PETITION FOR CLARIFICATION OF NOVEMBER 18, 2013 RESTART ORDER AND RELATED STAFF REQUIREMENTS MEMORANDUM

Sept 10

DECISION ON THE MOTION OF NYE COUNTY, NEVADA, FOR RECUSAL/DISQUALIFICATION OF NRC CHAIRMAN ALLISON M. MACFARLANE

Aug 30

NYE COUNTY'S MOTION FOR LIFTING OF SUSPENSION OF YUCCA MOUNTAIN LICENSING PROCEEDING, SCHEDULING OF IMMEDIATE CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE, AND ISSUANCE OF RELATED ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS

Aug 30

NUCLEAR ENERGY INSTITUTE'S ANS WER TO MOTIONS CONCERNING RESUMPTION OF YUCCA MOUNTAIN LICENSING ACTIVITIES(ML13242A053.pdf)

Aug 30

STATE OF NEVADA'S ANSWER TO NYE COUNTY'S MOTION FOR LIFTING SUSPENSION OF YUCCA MOUNTAIN LICENSING PROCEEDING

Aug 30

NUCLEAR ENERGY INSTITUTE'S ANSWER TO MOTIONS CONCERNING RESUMPTION OF YUCCA MOUNTAIN LICENSING ACTIVITIES

Aug 30

STATE OF NEVADA ANSWER IN OPPOSITION TO NYE COUNTY'S MOTION FOR RECUSAL/DISQUALIFICATION OF CHAIRMAN MACFARLANE

Sept 5, 2013

NYE COUNTY'S REQUEST FOR LEAVE TO FILE REPLY TO STATE OF NEVADA'S ANSWER IN OPPOSITION TO NYE COUNTY'S MOTION FOR RECUSAL/DISQUALIFICATION OF CHAIRMAN MACFARLANE

August 13, 2013

United States Court of Appeals FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT On Petition for Writ of Mandamus - KAVANAUGH, Circuit Judge: This case raises significant questions about the scope of the Executive's authority to disregard federal statutes. The case arises out of a longstanding dispute about nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The underlying policy debate is not our concern. The policy is for Congress and the President to establish as they see fit in enacting statutes, and for the President and subordinate executive agencies (as well as relevant independent agencies such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission) to implement within statutory boundaries. Our more modest task is to ensure, in justiciable cases, that agencies comply with the law as it has been set by Congress. Here, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has continued to violate the law governing the Yucca Mountain licensing process. We therefore grant the petition for a writ of mandamus.

Sept 30, 2011

Suspension of Hearings – On Friday, September 30, 2011 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission filed an order suspending the licensing hearings – “Although we have been informed that the agency has current appropriated Fiscal Year 2011 Nuclear Waste Funds (NWFs) that could be carried over into the next fiscal year, there are no Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) positions (i.e., federal employee positions) requested in the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget for Yucca Mountain High-Level Waste activities. Therefore, because both future appropriated NWF dollars and FTEs for this proceeding are uncertain, and consistent with the Commission’s Memorandum and Order of September 9, 2011, this proceeding is suspended.

September
 2011

NRC Allows closure of Yucca Mountain - A divided Nuclear Regulatory Commission allowed the Obama administration to continue plans to close the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump in Nevada.  The commission split, 2-2, on whether to uphold or reject a decision by an independent nuclear licensing board. The board voted last year to block the Energy Department from withdrawing its application for Yucca Mountain, a remote site 90 miles from Las Vegas. The licensing board said the government failed to make a scientific case for why the application should be withdrawn.  Despite the split vote, the NRC said in an order September 15, 2011 that the licensing board should continue steps to close out work on Yucca Mountain by the end of the month, citing "budgetary limitations."  The Energy Department has not requested additional funding for Yucca Mountain, and NRC spending on Yucca expires at the end of the month.
Commissioners Order
On June 30, 2010, the participants were invited to submit briefs as to whether the Commission should review, and reverse or uphold, the Board’s decision denying the Department of Energy’s motion to withdraw its construction authorization application with prejudice. Upon consideration of all filings in this matter, the Commission finds itself evenly divided on whether to take the affirmative action of overturning or upholding the Board’s decision. Consistent with budgetary limitations, the Board has taken action to preserve information associated with this adjudication. In furtherance of this, we hereby exercise our inherent supervisory authority to direct the Board to, by the close of the current fiscal year, complete all necessary and appropriate case management activities, including disposal of all matters currently pending before it and comprehensively documenting the full history of the adjudicatory proceeding.

Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future Charter

The Secretary of Energy, acting at the direction of the President, is establishing the Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, including all alternatives for the storage, processing, and disposal of civilian and defense used nuclear fuel, high-level waste, and materials derived from nuclear activities. Specifically, the Commission will provide advice, evaluate alternatives, and make recommendations for a new plan to address these issues, including:

  1. Evaluation of existing fuel cycle technologies and R&D programs. Criteria for evaluation should include cost, safety, resource utilization and sustainability, and the promotion of nuclear nonproliferation and counter-terrorism goals.
  2. Options for safe storage of used nuclear fuel while final disposition pathways are selected and deployed;
  3. Options for permanent disposal of used fuel and/or high-level nuclear waste, including deep geological disposal;
  4. Options to make legal and commercial arrangements for the management of used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste in a manner that takes the current and potential full fuel cycles into account;
  5. Options for decision-making processes for management and disposal that are flexible, adaptive, and responsive;
  6. Options to ensure that decisions on management of used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste are open and transparent, with broad participation;
  7. The possible need for additional legislation or amendments to existing laws, including the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended; and
  8. Any such additional matters as the Secretary determines to be appropriate for consideration.

Review the Advisory Committee Charter (pdf – 56kb) Source

Lander County Studies associated with high-level waste shipments

High-Level Waste Transportation

The U.S. Department of Energy filed a License Application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build and operate a repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, on June 3rd. With this application, DOE’s Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste management moves forward in meeting its congressionally mandated directive to develop, build, and operate a deep-underground facility that will safely isolate spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste from people and the environment for hundreds of thousands of years.

Transporting the waste safely

Rail has been selected as the preferred mode of transportation because it is well suited to move larger casks — reducing the overall number of shipments. Public and state officials have also expressed a preference for rail.

Accoring to the DOE the US has an exemplary history of safe transportation of nuclear materials. Since the early 1960s, the U.S. has safely conducted more than 3,000 shipments of spent nuclear fuel, traveling more than 1.7 million miles, without any harmful release of radioactive material.

For all shipments of this waste to the repository, the DOE states they would use extremely durable and massive transportation casks whose designs are certified by the NRC. To be certified, casks must be designed to withstand severe accidents without releasing their radioactive contents. Casks have not been selected yet for the shipment to Yucca Mountain.

The Surface Transportation Board will conduct investigations regarding the Nevada Rail consturciton and regulate the transportation of high-level radioactive waste. On April 11th, the Surface Transportation Board Adopted Procedural Schedule for DOE's Application to build a 300-mile Rail Line in Nevada.

Environmental Impact Statement for the Alignment of a Rail Line in the Caliente Corridor (HTML) (PDF )

DOE produced brochure: Transporting Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Nuclear Waste to a National Repository -- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions [pdf]

USA map of rail, truck and barge shipments
View Video: Safe Passage: An overview of Plans for the Railroad to Yucca Mountain

 

Information from the State of Nevada

 

Caliente Corridor

  • The Department of Energy prefers the Caliente Corridor because it is remote, has few land use conflicts, and can avoid Air Force land.
  • The railroad, when it’s complete, will occupy a strip of land about 200 feet wide.

  • The mile-wide corridor set aside by the Bureau of Land Management allows DOE to finalize the “exact” route of the railroad within that corridor.

  • The land “not” used will return to its previous status.

  • Existing rail lines can carry shipments as far as Caliente. One DOE option brings shipments through the town. Two others bypass the town.

  • From there, shipments would travel generally west, winding through passes and valleys.

  • The closest town is Rachel, in Lincoln County, about 20 miles south.

  • From there it’s northwest, skirting mountains and the northern edge of the Air Force Test and Training Range, to Warm Springs Summit.

  • The line would be visible from Nevada Route 6 as it crosses the 62-hundred foot summit.

  • The line would continue west to a point about 15 miles north of Goldfield, where it turns south.

  • The line would then pass about 3 miles east of Goldfield—not through the town itself.

  • As the line travels further south, it could be visible from U-S 95 and may parallel the roadway for a few miles.

  • Shipments would pass about 5 miles east of Beatty—not through the town.

  • In one example of construction needed to cross Nevada’s rugged terrain, a bridge would probably be needed to cross the Beatty Wash.

  • The last stretch is between Bare Mountain and Yucca Mountain… and finally to the Repository.

  • Total distance: about 319 miles.

  • Time to construct: almost 4 years

  • Estimated cost: more than 800 million dollars.

  • The Department of Energy has observed certain natural or cultural resources along or near the route.

  • These resources include ranches… old mills or mines… springs… wilderness areas… and others.