The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has formally docketed the Department of Energy’s license application for the proposed high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev. The agency staff has also recommended that the Commission adopt, with further supplementation, DOE’s Environmental Impact Statement for the repository project.
“This is another important step toward determining the scientific and technical basis for disposing of the radioactive byproducts (used fuel and/or other waste forms from future used fuel recycling) of the nation’s commercial and defense nuclear activities in a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This progress in the Yucca Mountain licensing process demonstrates that the United States is at the forefront of international efforts to safely manage used nuclear fuel in the manner that the scientific community has recommended for decades.
“This determination initiates the most rigorous phase of an unprecedented licensing process that will be transparent to the public, with the state of Nevada, several affected units of local government and Indian tribes among its active participants. As the NRC undertakes its formal scientific and technical review, there will be multiple opportunities for the public to participate in and observe the process.”
The second part is key: Nevada kicked up a fuss over the impact statement, in part because the Environmental Protection Agency intends to issue new guidelines that might affect DOE's application. Nevada's complaint to the NRC was rejected, but only because the application hadn't been docketed. Now that it has, we can expect more action from Nevada. (Of course, the EPA's standards may favor what's been done in the application, which would render the issue moot.) Stay tuned.
In any event, it's an important step and allows the NRC to begin the work of reviewing the application. The staff’s report on its adoption review will be available on the NRC’s ADAMS online document system at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams/web-based.html using access number ML082420342.
A conceptual design of the Yucca Mountain repository. This comes from the NRC. Visit here to see a detailed description and browse around the NRC's high-level waste disposal section. Lot of Yucca Mountain information there.