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HOUSE GOP LETTER TO NRC CHAIR BLASTS DOE PREMISE FOR YUCCA WITHDRAWAL

Expresses Concern over NRC Commissioners’ Objectivity

By Nuclear Townhall Staff

A letter sent to NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko today by more than a dozen House Republicans says the DOE does not have the authority to withdraw the Yucca Mountain license application "simply as a matter of policy."

"At no point in DOE’s motion to withdraw did the agency fault any scientific or technical portions of the license application.  This omission highlights the shaky grounds on which DOE rested its argument to shutter Yucca Mountain."

Letter co-signers, which include ranking Republican James Sensenbrenner (R-WI),  agreed with the Atomic Safety Licensing Board’s observation in its rejection of the DOE withdrawal request that "Congressional intent was clear" in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) noting "DOE cannot shortchange proper examination of the repository because of political preferences."

"The massive investment in both time and taxpayer dollars warrant proper consideration of the license application by the NRC. Over the course of thirty years, approximately $10 billion have been spent on Yucca Mountain. Throwing away this investment due to a campaign-pledge is not acceptable. Should the Commission overturn the Board’s decision, DOE and Congress will be forced to start anew to address spent fuel, which will only cost more taxpayer dollars, increase the government’s liability, and burden facilities that are currently storing waste on-site."

The letter calls a promise by Commissioners Apostolakis,
Magwood and Ostendorff to not second guess the DOE withdrawal "an inappropriate commitment" saying, as nominees, the commissioners "should not have faced intense pressure" both from Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Boxer and Senate Majority Leader Reid. 

"The Commission should examine each case on its merits, rather than pre-judging an argument.  We hope the entire Commission considers the Board’s decision in an objective manner."

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