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U.S. Civilian Radioactive Waste Management R.I.P. 1982 – 2010

The Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCWRM) died yesterday evening, September 30, 2010, at midnight.  It was 28-years-old.  According to a spokesman, the cause of death was “the Administration’s decision not to pursue development of a repository at Yucca Mountain.”

 The OCRWM was conceived in 1982 by the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives.  It spent its early years shuttling between homes at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State, a Deaf Smith County site in Texas, Yucca Mountain in Nevada and a home office in Washington, D.C., as well as a potential Monitored Retrievable Storage site in Tennessee.  Since 1987, the OCRWM divided its time exclusively between Yucca Mountain and Washington, D.C.

From 1987 until 2002, the OCRWM was involved in characterizing the Yucca Mountain site as a potential national high-level waste repository.  In February 2002, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham determined that Yucca Mountain was suitable for development under the auspices of the OCRWM as a national repository.  The recommendation, which was concurred upon by President George W. Bush and later “vetoed” by the State of Nevada, was eventually approved overwhelmingly by the U.S Congress in July 2002.

The highlight of the OCRWM’s career was the submission of a license application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2008.  The OCRWM suffered from chronic financial problems – despite a large trust fund — during its lifetime – which ultimately proved fatal.  Despite persistent financial concerns, the OCRWM still managed to spend approximately $10 billion during its tenure at the Energy Department.

The OCRWM is survived by 121 above-ground sites located within 75 miles of more than 161 million people in 39 states, a pending license application at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a potential national repository site in Yucca Mountain, over 60 lawsuits in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, multi-party litigation in the U.S. District Court of Appeals, a still outstanding U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission review of an Atomic Safety Licensing Board rejection of a Energy Department license withdrawal request, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future and a Nuclear Waste Fund containing an estimated $23 billion.

 

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39 Responses to “U.S. Civilian Radioactive Waste Management R.I.P. 1982 – 2010”

  1. Snake Blasingame Says:

    Holy Sh#t, I would love to be next of kin to those assets, law suits aside. $23 billion on red!

    Don’t think for a moment that this sucker ain’t going to be crawling back around Halloween (or election day).

  2. Snake Blasingame Says:

    Holy Sh#t, I would love to be next of kin to those assets, law suits aside. $23 billion on red!

    Don’t think for a moment that this sucker ain’t going to be crawling back around Halloween (or election day).

  3. Snake Blasingame Says:

    Holy Sh#t, I would love to be next of kin to those assets, law suits aside. $23 billion on red!

    Don’t think for a moment that this sucker ain’t going to be crawling back around Halloween (or election day).

  4. OCRWMer Says:

    RIP?!

    OCRWM is dead. OCRWM is dead. Long live Yucca Mountain.

  5. OCRWMer Says:

    RIP?!

    OCRWM is dead. OCRWM is dead. Long live Yucca Mountain.

  6. OCRWMer Says:

    RIP?!

    OCRWM is dead. OCRWM is dead. Long live Yucca Mountain.

  7. Catawba Cat Says:

    Come on now…. We all know that cats have nine lives. And this tiger is ready to roar back.

  8. Catawba Cat Says:

    Come on now…. We all know that cats have nine lives. And this tiger is ready to roar back.

  9. Catawba Cat Says:

    Come on now…. We all know that cats have nine lives. And this tiger is ready to roar back.

  10. Frank B Says:

    Not to speak ill of the deceased but good riddance. The Obama-Chu regime has unwittingly done the nuclear industry a favor by the euthanasia of the OCRWM. The structure was broken and the management team was the last refuge of the marginally talented. The key assets e.g. Yucca Mountain and the NWF will no doubt return under an vastly improved quasi-governmental paradigm.

  11. Frank B Says:

    Not to speak ill of the deceased but good riddance. The Obama-Chu regime has unwittingly done the nuclear industry a favor by the euthanasia of the OCRWM. The structure was broken and the management team was the last refuge of the marginally talented. The key assets e.g. Yucca Mountain and the NWF will no doubt return under an vastly improved quasi-governmental paradigm.

  12. Frank B Says:

    Not to speak ill of the deceased but good riddance. The Obama-Chu regime has unwittingly done the nuclear industry a favor by the euthanasia of the OCRWM. The structure was broken and the management team was the last refuge of the marginally talented. The key assets e.g. Yucca Mountain and the NWF will no doubt return under an vastly improved quasi-governmental paradigm.

  13. Oracle Says:

    I foresee another political obituary being written on November 2nd in the Silver State. You live by the sword, you die by the sword.

  14. Oracle Says:

    I foresee another political obituary being written on November 2nd in the Silver State. You live by the sword, you die by the sword.

  15. Oracle Says:

    I foresee another political obituary being written on November 2nd in the Silver State. You live by the sword, you die by the sword.

  16. Speak the Truth Says:

    At least there was no attempt in the official explanation to insinuate that the cause of death was on science-based or technical grounds.

  17. Speak the Truth Says:

    At least there was no attempt in the official explanation to insinuate that the cause of death was on science-based or technical grounds.

  18. Speak the Truth Says:

    At least there was no attempt in the official explanation to insinuate that the cause of death was on science-based or technical grounds.

  19. Speaking of speaking the truth Says:

    This needs some additional fact..

    The OCRWM is survived by 121 above-ground sites [containing the deadliest substance known to mankind] located within 75 miles of more than 161 million people in 39 states [where storage is contemplated for the better part of a century or more]

  20. Speaking of speaking the truth Says:

    This needs some additional fact..

    The OCRWM is survived by 121 above-ground sites [containing the deadliest substance known to mankind] located within 75 miles of more than 161 million people in 39 states [where storage is contemplated for the better part of a century or more]

  21. Speaking of speaking the truth Says:

    This needs some additional fact..

    The OCRWM is survived by 121 above-ground sites [containing the deadliest substance known to mankind] located within 75 miles of more than 161 million people in 39 states [where storage is contemplated for the better part of a century or more]

  22. Kathy Says:

    All you critics of the Yucca Mountain Respository: WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING TO DO WITH THE SPENT FUEL THAT NOW LIES CLOSE TO YOUR HOMETOWNS, SOME LITERALLY IN YOUR BACKYARDS; WITH NO PLACE TO GO, BUILDING UP A WASTE PILE THAT WILL, INSTEAD OF BEING SECURED IN THE DEPTHS OF AN OBSCURE MOUNTIN IN THE DESERT, WILL SPILL OVER INTO YOUR BACK YARDS. FOOLISH, SHORT-SIGHT!!!!!!!!. WHEN NUCLEAR ENERGY IS USED, AND THE SPENT WASTE NEEDS TO BE DISPOSED OF, WHAT DID YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN TO IT?? jUST STOCKPILE IT IN AND AROUND THE SITES THAT PRODUCED IT?? FOREVER?? SCIENTISTS, EXPERTS, AND A COMMISSION OF BRILLIANT MINDS WERE PUT TOGETHER TO FIND A SAFE SITE THAT WOULD IMPACT OUR COUNTRY IN AS REMOTE A POSSIBILITY AS SCIENTIFICALLY POSSIBLE. NOW i THINK THOSE THAT KILLED THE OCRWM SHOULD TAKE A CHUNK OF IT HOME IN CANISTERS TO STORE IN THEIR BASEMENTS. SOMETIMES STUPIDITY AND FEAR HAS A WAY OF OVERTAKING THE BRAINS OF INTELLIGENT PEOPLE AND MAKING THEM THINK IN THE MOMENT, INSTEAD OF THE FUTURE. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, ALL YOU NEGATIVE NAYSAYERS. wHAT IS YOUR PLAN FOR THE FUTURE OF THIS WASTE??? PERHAPS YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR THE FLIGHT TO SPACE AND FIND A NICHE OUT THERE TO PUT IT INTO.

  23. Kathy Says:

    All you critics of the Yucca Mountain Respository: WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING TO DO WITH THE SPENT FUEL THAT NOW LIES CLOSE TO YOUR HOMETOWNS, SOME LITERALLY IN YOUR BACKYARDS; WITH NO PLACE TO GO, BUILDING UP A WASTE PILE THAT WILL, INSTEAD OF BEING SECURED IN THE DEPTHS OF AN OBSCURE MOUNTIN IN THE DESERT, WILL SPILL OVER INTO YOUR BACK YARDS. FOOLISH, SHORT-SIGHT!!!!!!!!. WHEN NUCLEAR ENERGY IS USED, AND THE SPENT WASTE NEEDS TO BE DISPOSED OF, WHAT DID YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN TO IT?? jUST STOCKPILE IT IN AND AROUND THE SITES THAT PRODUCED IT?? FOREVER?? SCIENTISTS, EXPERTS, AND A COMMISSION OF BRILLIANT MINDS WERE PUT TOGETHER TO FIND A SAFE SITE THAT WOULD IMPACT OUR COUNTRY IN AS REMOTE A POSSIBILITY AS SCIENTIFICALLY POSSIBLE. NOW i THINK THOSE THAT KILLED THE OCRWM SHOULD TAKE A CHUNK OF IT HOME IN CANISTERS TO STORE IN THEIR BASEMENTS. SOMETIMES STUPIDITY AND FEAR HAS A WAY OF OVERTAKING THE BRAINS OF INTELLIGENT PEOPLE AND MAKING THEM THINK IN THE MOMENT, INSTEAD OF THE FUTURE. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, ALL YOU NEGATIVE NAYSAYERS. wHAT IS YOUR PLAN FOR THE FUTURE OF THIS WASTE??? PERHAPS YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR THE FLIGHT TO SPACE AND FIND A NICHE OUT THERE TO PUT IT INTO.

  24. Kathy Says:

    All you critics of the Yucca Mountain Respository: WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING TO DO WITH THE SPENT FUEL THAT NOW LIES CLOSE TO YOUR HOMETOWNS, SOME LITERALLY IN YOUR BACKYARDS; WITH NO PLACE TO GO, BUILDING UP A WASTE PILE THAT WILL, INSTEAD OF BEING SECURED IN THE DEPTHS OF AN OBSCURE MOUNTIN IN THE DESERT, WILL SPILL OVER INTO YOUR BACK YARDS. FOOLISH, SHORT-SIGHT!!!!!!!!. WHEN NUCLEAR ENERGY IS USED, AND THE SPENT WASTE NEEDS TO BE DISPOSED OF, WHAT DID YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN TO IT?? jUST STOCKPILE IT IN AND AROUND THE SITES THAT PRODUCED IT?? FOREVER?? SCIENTISTS, EXPERTS, AND A COMMISSION OF BRILLIANT MINDS WERE PUT TOGETHER TO FIND A SAFE SITE THAT WOULD IMPACT OUR COUNTRY IN AS REMOTE A POSSIBILITY AS SCIENTIFICALLY POSSIBLE. NOW i THINK THOSE THAT KILLED THE OCRWM SHOULD TAKE A CHUNK OF IT HOME IN CANISTERS TO STORE IN THEIR BASEMENTS. SOMETIMES STUPIDITY AND FEAR HAS A WAY OF OVERTAKING THE BRAINS OF INTELLIGENT PEOPLE AND MAKING THEM THINK IN THE MOMENT, INSTEAD OF THE FUTURE. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, ALL YOU NEGATIVE NAYSAYERS. wHAT IS YOUR PLAN FOR THE FUTURE OF THIS WASTE??? PERHAPS YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR THE FLIGHT TO SPACE AND FIND A NICHE OUT THERE TO PUT IT INTO.

  25. OTB Says:

    The crown jewels here are the Yucca Mountain site, the trust fund and the license application. They can easily be jumpstarted WITHOUT an Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, which is the least important component in the scheme of things. Congress is just waiting to see the results of the mid-terms before they deploy.

  26. OTB Says:

    The crown jewels here are the Yucca Mountain site, the trust fund and the license application. They can easily be jumpstarted WITHOUT an Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, which is the least important component in the scheme of things. Congress is just waiting to see the results of the mid-terms before they deploy.

  27. OTB Says:

    The crown jewels here are the Yucca Mountain site, the trust fund and the license application. They can easily be jumpstarted WITHOUT an Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, which is the least important component in the scheme of things. Congress is just waiting to see the results of the mid-terms before they deploy.

  28. davelv Says:

    Actually, OCRWM is not dead. Zebransky’s premise was that there would be no funding in 2011, however the continuing resolution provides $198 million. Come January when the Republicans will control at least the House, expect Secretary Chu to be called before various committees to be asked why OCRWM is not staffed, and why it is not pursuing the license application.

    Obama”s “Emperors New Clothes” attempt to make Yucca Mountain go away has failed.

  29. davelv Says:

    Actually, OCRWM is not dead. Zebransky’s premise was that there would be no funding in 2011, however the continuing resolution provides $198 million. Come January when the Republicans will control at least the House, expect Secretary Chu to be called before various committees to be asked why OCRWM is not staffed, and why it is not pursuing the license application.

    Obama”s “Emperors New Clothes” attempt to make Yucca Mountain go away has failed.

  30. davelv Says:

    Actually, OCRWM is not dead. Zebransky’s premise was that there would be no funding in 2011, however the continuing resolution provides $198 million. Come January when the Republicans will control at least the House, expect Secretary Chu to be called before various committees to be asked why OCRWM is not staffed, and why it is not pursuing the license application.

    Obama”s “Emperors New Clothes” attempt to make Yucca Mountain go away has failed.

  31. Sr. Observer Says:

    Yucca is not a solution to the safe storage of deadly Nuclear waste. There already is enough nuclear waste now to fill the “hole” and it keeps coming and coming and coming……..etc. The only safe solution is to stop subsidizing the building of more nuclear power plants and initiate a crash Solar Energy program that will replace future energy needs that are truly safe, clean and much cheaper. A mandatory Solar Panel on the roof of every home, subsidized with a tax credit, would be a good beginning.

  32. Sr. Observer Says:

    Yucca is not a solution to the safe storage of deadly Nuclear waste. There already is enough nuclear waste now to fill the “hole” and it keeps coming and coming and coming……..etc. The only safe solution is to stop subsidizing the building of more nuclear power plants and initiate a crash Solar Energy program that will replace future energy needs that are truly safe, clean and much cheaper. A mandatory Solar Panel on the roof of every home, subsidized with a tax credit, would be a good beginning.

  33. Sr. Observer Says:

    Yucca is not a solution to the safe storage of deadly Nuclear waste. There already is enough nuclear waste now to fill the “hole” and it keeps coming and coming and coming……..etc. The only safe solution is to stop subsidizing the building of more nuclear power plants and initiate a crash Solar Energy program that will replace future energy needs that are truly safe, clean and much cheaper. A mandatory Solar Panel on the roof of every home, subsidized with a tax credit, would be a good beginning.

  34. Tom Blees Says:

    Wow, what a cornucopia of crazy we’ve got in the comments here today! Where did these people come from all of a sudden? From ranting ALL CAPS!!! Kathy to Sr. Observer who fantasizes about solartopia, one hardly knows where to begin to comment on the comments. Reading through this page one could hardly imagine that spent nuclear fuel is a very easy thing to store (yes, and to move) safely, and that within decades it can safely be consumed in fast reactors to make clean electricity in vast amounts. I feel like I stumbled onto Grist by accident. I thought NTH was peopled primarily by the reality-based community.

  35. Tom Blees Says:

    Wow, what a cornucopia of crazy we’ve got in the comments here today! Where did these people come from all of a sudden? From ranting ALL CAPS!!! Kathy to Sr. Observer who fantasizes about solartopia, one hardly knows where to begin to comment on the comments. Reading through this page one could hardly imagine that spent nuclear fuel is a very easy thing to store (yes, and to move) safely, and that within decades it can safely be consumed in fast reactors to make clean electricity in vast amounts. I feel like I stumbled onto Grist by accident. I thought NTH was peopled primarily by the reality-based community.

  36. Tom Blees Says:

    Wow, what a cornucopia of crazy we’ve got in the comments here today! Where did these people come from all of a sudden? From ranting ALL CAPS!!! Kathy to Sr. Observer who fantasizes about solartopia, one hardly knows where to begin to comment on the comments. Reading through this page one could hardly imagine that spent nuclear fuel is a very easy thing to store (yes, and to move) safely, and that within decades it can safely be consumed in fast reactors to make clean electricity in vast amounts. I feel like I stumbled onto Grist by accident. I thought NTH was peopled primarily by the reality-based community.

  37. davelv Says:

    Sorry Senior Observer, but you are wrong. Yucca Mountain can hold easily over 200000 metric tons. It is artificially limited to 70000 now.

    Solar can never supplly 24/7 cheap power to run America”s industries and homes. What power supply will cheaply and environmentally charge electric cars. Nuclear is the only source.

  38. davelv Says:

    Sorry Senior Observer, but you are wrong. Yucca Mountain can hold easily over 200000 metric tons. It is artificially limited to 70000 now.

    Solar can never supplly 24/7 cheap power to run America”s industries and homes. What power supply will cheaply and environmentally charge electric cars. Nuclear is the only source.

  39. davelv Says:

    Sorry Senior Observer, but you are wrong. Yucca Mountain can hold easily over 200000 metric tons. It is artificially limited to 70000 now.

    Solar can never supplly 24/7 cheap power to run America”s industries and homes. What power supply will cheaply and environmentally charge electric cars. Nuclear is the only source.