Yucca Mountain site clears environmental-review hurdle

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) said a draft supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) released late last week indicates that the proposed fuel repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada fulfills federal requirements under the National Environmental Protection Act.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) conducted the review during the licensing process for the Department of Energy (DOE) site. The NRC said any impacts on the area's groundwater would be small and that these possible impacts would not preclude the license from moving forward.

The NEI said the environmental portion of the licensing process should conclude with the release of this draft SEIS. The issue of discharge in the groundwater was the chief concern during the environmental review.

“It will be appropriate for the NRC’s independent Atomic Safety and Licensing Board to promptly conduct a hearing and rule on contested issues so that the NRC can reach a final decision on whether or not to grant a construction authorization for the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain,” NEI Senior Director for Used Fuel and Decommissioning Programs Rodney McCullum said.

The NEI said both safety and environmental evaluations indicate that the licensing process should move forward.

The Yucca site would house spent fuel from several regional nuclear power plants and other nuclear facilities.

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Nuclear Energy Institute

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