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Press Release

Committee Leaders Send Letter to Nonpartisan Watchdog On DOE Yucca Mountain Restart Plans


WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) today sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) asking the nonpartisan watchdog to assess the Department of Energy’s (DOE) ability to complete the Yucca Mountain License Application (LA).

The leaders write, “Recent announcements that some reactors will enter the decommissioning process prior to the expiration of their operating licenses and ongoing legal challenges to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) ‘continued storage rule,’ make it urgent to reconstitute the Federal nuclear waste disposal program as established in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA).”

The members pose a series of six questions to aid the committee in gaining a better understanding of DOE’s federal nuclear waste disposal program.

  1. Does DOE have a restart plan to complete the review of the Yucca Mountain LA?  If so, does the plan comply with all aspects of the NWPA? If not, what are the gaps?
  2. What is the current status and availability of the contracts and contractors to support the licensing and program restart?
  3. What specific contracting and DOE personnel remain to assist in the completion of the LA?
  4. Do the contractor(s) have sufficient funding available for timely and effective restart of their needed functions?  If so, are funds adequate to enable completion of the LA review process? If not, what funding is needed and what are the cost and schedule estimates for funding?
  5. What plans or instructions are in place to find, and use, the Yucca Mountain records which were archived during the shutdown process?
  6. Does the NRC have the necessary expertise and organization in place to complete its review of the Yucca Mountain LA?

To read the letter online, click here.


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