Today's News – March 2015

The Inside Story
Yucca Mountain, Nevada's View — State of Nevada
Yucca Mountain, What’s Really There? — State of Nevada
Yucca Mountain redux —
Why Yucca Mountain Fails —

March 02, 2015 — Defense agency visited Yucca, says no intention to use site — WASHINGTON – Officials from a Pentagon agency toured the Yucca Mountain’s tunnels last month but do not intend to work at the Nevada site, a spokesman said Monday. A small group from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency visited Yucca on Feb. 17, confirmed Daniel Gaffney, the agency’s spokesman. He described it as a one-time deal. “(O)fficials did tour the facility, just as they tour many (Energy Department) facilities, but it was not with the intent to conduct work at the Yucca Mountain site,”Gaffney said —

February 26, 2015 — YUCCA MOUNTAIN: DOE, Pentagon considering new uses for Nev. site –lawmakers — House Republicans say two federal agencies are planning to use the remote Yucca Mountain site in southern Nevada for activities other than its congressionally authorized use as a repository for spent fuel from nuclear reactors. "We have learned that officials from the Department of Energy and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) have discussed the possibility of conducting activities at or near the Yucca Mountain site that are not related to the statutorily required uses for the site and adjacent lands," three senior House Republicans wrote in a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz —

February 19, 2015 — Conservation bill could block Yucca Rail Route, but prospects shaky — Though its sponsors insist it wasn't their intent, a Nevada lands bill pending in Congress could throw up another roadblock to a Yucca Mountain Project. The legislation, introduced last year by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., would restrict mining and energy exploration on more than 800,000 acres of federal land in two lonesome valleys straddling Lincoln and Nye counties. The Senate minority leader has said he wants to withdraw the land in Garden and Coal valleys to protect “City,” noted artist Michael Heizer’s sprawling earth sculptor roughly the size of the National Mall. Supporters of the bill want a national monument dedicated to “City,” and to the pristine basin–and–range landscape around it — RJ.COM

February 17, 2015 — NUCLEAR POLICY: NRC will complete environmental review of Yucca project — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission intends to complete an environmental review of the contentious waste repository under Yucca Mountain in Nevada because the Energy Department has refused to do so, the NRC's chairman said today . . .“We have the funds that are left over from the carryover for high-level waste, will cover the preparation of the supplemental [environmental impact statement].” —

February 14, 2015 — NUCLEAR WASTE: Cantwell brings a homegrown focus, fresh questions to waste debate — Sen. Maria Cantwell, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee's top Democrat, is the newest member of a high-profile quartet in the upper chamber debating how best to jump-start the nation's long-stalled nuclear waste disposal program —

February 12, 2015 — Reid spokeswoman tells lawmaker don’t bother trying to revive Yucca — WASHINGTON – An Illinois congressman says he is planning to revisit Yucca Mountain this year as part of an effort to revive the Nevada site for nuclear waste disposal. Republican Rep. John Shimkus and two other members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee briefly toured Yucca Mountain in April 2011, shortly after the proposed repository area was shut down by the Department of Energy. Shimkus, chairman of the House environment and the economy subcommittee, told Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at a budget hearing Wednesday he was planning to go back —

February 08, 2015 — Back to Yucca Mountain [Opinion – Washington Post] The Country’s nuclear power plants have produced massive amounts of reliable electricity for decades while emitting negligible amounts of carbon dioxide. The big drawback is the more than 70,000 tons of radioactive spent fuel U.S. nuclear facilities have piled up — with 2,000 more tons added to the total every year. A report the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) released in late January underscores that this problem is solvable — if only Congress and the White House would stick to a plan. (Read Comments on this Editorial)

February 06, 2015 — Dallas company seeks to store nation’s spent nuclear fuel at West Texas site — LUBBOCK:A Dallas-based company that handles low-level radioactive waste is taking the first step toward making a West Texas facility the first interim storage site for high-level nuclear waste from around the country. Waste Control Specialists on Friday notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the company’s plan to seek a license to build a facility in rural Andrews County that would store spent fuel rods from power plants for as long as 100 years. The location is about 350 miles west of Dallas and 120 miles south of Lubbock, along Texas’ border with New Mexico — AP
More Coverage —

February 05, 2015 — The Next Keystone: Now that the GOP has taken the pipeline fight as far as it can, where to next? Nevada . . . But with the Keystone fight losing steam, another high-profile energy battle is bubbling back up: the decades–old debate over Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, the proposed site of a massive federal repository for America’s nuclear waste. The project, which dates back to the Reagan administration . . .

February 05, 2015 — New Senate chairman vows push on nuke waste, Yucca — WASHINGTON: The new chairman of a Senate energy panel on Thursday announced he plans to focus on nuclear energy this year, including a bid to end an impasse on nuclear waste created when the Yucca Mountain repository was terminated. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., told a nuclear industry audience he would convene a series of hearings on nuclear power as the new leader of the Senate energy and water subcommittee — By STEVE TETREAULT STEPHENS WASHINGTON BUREA

February 02, 2015 — Here’s how the 2016 fiscal budget impacts [Yucca Mountain] Nevada . . . The Department of Energy has proposed $108 million for nuclear waste research, according to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. There is no money proposed for the Yucca Mountain project in Nevada, as Moniz said the Obama administration remains committed to finding another site to bury nuclear waste —

January 29, 2015 — NRC Publishes Final Two Volumes of Yucca Mountain Safety Evaluation — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has published volumes two and five of its safety evaluation report on the geologic high-level nuclear waste repository proposed for Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Publication of these volumes completes the technical safety review of the Department of Energy’s Yucca Mountain application. The safety evaluation report includes the staff’s recommendation that the Commission should not authorize construction of the repository because DOE has not met certain land and water rights requirements identified in Volume 4, published in December, and a supplement to DOE’s environmental impact statement has not yet been completed — The NRC

January 27, 2015 — How GOP control in D.C. affects us in Nevada — A new Congress means another attempt to store the nation’s nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., says he will introduce a bill to get the ball rolling on creating a nuclear repository at Yucca, about 90 miles north of Las Vegas. What’s different this time is that Republicans control Congress — Las Vegas Sun
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January 27, 2015 — [Opinion – Rep. Lamar Smith] Time for US to live up to its nuclear potential — Reliable, affordable energy is the foundation of our nation’s economy. America is blessed with abundant natural resources. Our energy history is full of new technologies displacing old ones. Coal led the industrial revolution in the United States. Thomas Edison’s electric lightbulb displaced candles and kerosene lamps. Following World War II, nuclear science catapulted America to superpower status — The

January 27, 2015 — Experts discuss nuclear waste impasse America’s impasse over the storage of highly radioactive waste will take center stage at a panel discussion and public forum Tuesday night in San Juan Capistrano. The storage of spent nuclear fuel has moved to the forefront of safety concerns at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station since the twin-reactor plant was retired in 2013 after a botched steam generator replacement project.—

WHEN: Tuesday, January 27th 2015 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm
WHERE: San Juan Capistrano Community Center, 25925 Camino Del Avion, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., 92675
LIVE VIDEO: www.songscommunit...>

January 20, 2015 — Vermont Yankee's long road to retirement —Officials with Entergy announced last week that all of the fuel from Vermont Yankee has been removed from the reactor and placed in the spent fuel pool following the closure of the plant last month. The announcement signals the beginning of what is expected to be a lengthy decommissioning process —

January 16, 2015 — Next closure issue: San Onofre waste Activists worry about plan to bury canisters along coast — Largely overlooked in the high-profile fight over who should pay for the premature shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear power plant was another, perhaps even more vexing issue: what to do with tons upon tons of radioactive waste —

January 14, 2015 — House GOP wants to revive Yucca nuke dump — The top House Republican overseeing environmental policy plans to focus this year on funding the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump. Yucca was one of three priorities identified by Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) Wednesday . . .
[More Coverage — LAS Vegas Review Journal]

January 10, 2015 — Nuclear waste storage creates headaches for all — RED WING: When Ron Johnson looks east, the twin towers of the Prairie Island nuclear plant dominate the skyline. It's a constant reminder of a looming threat to his people —

January 07, 2015 — Nuclear waste storage issues can be addressed — When the Tennessee Valley Authority suspended construction of the Watts Bar 2 nuclear plant in 1985, the nuclear industry worried it might have a contagious effect on the policies of other electric utilities. In 2008, however, Southern Co. and South Carolina Electric & Gas each announced plans to build two new nuclear power plants, and other utilities have applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for construction and operating licenses to add new reactors —

January 02, 2015 — Pilgrim nuclear plant expands waste storage to concrete casks — Massachusetts’s only nuclear power plant said Friday that it would begin packing its spent fuel in super-tough concrete-and-steel containers. Previously, all of the nuclear reactor fuel rods from the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth were submerged in a deep pool of water, which is running out of space. The new containers, called casks, are designed to hold the nuclear reactor’s radioactive materials until the federal government selects a disposal site for nuclear waste —

December 31, 2014 — Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant Just Shut Down; U.S. Still Has No System for Disposing of Nuclear Waste — The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant officially went offline Monday, halting the nuclear reaction process and beginning what could be a nearly 40-year process to fully decommission the plant. But what happens to all the plant’s nuclear waste at the end of those decades? No one knows for sure, because the U.S. government has nowhere to put it — News Week

December 29, 2014 — How Should the U.S. Handle Its Nuclear Waste? — An enduring challenge facing U.S. nuclear power revolves around a simple question: What should we do about the waste this process produces? To get some insights, we put this question to a group of energy experts — including a former head of the Environmental Protection Agency and a leader of the energy practice at the Boston Consulting Group —
[Readers Note — See this for clarification of "What's really on the ground, i.e., in terms of actual infrastructure" at Yucca Mountain]

December 23, 2014 — Yucca Mountain Won't Open Without Water — Funding to complete Yucca Mountain isn’t the only thing the federal Energy Department needs. The agency will also need to acquire water and land rights before it gets approval to store the nation’s most radioactive waste beneath a mountain some 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas —

December 19, 2014 — NRC Publishes Volume 4 of Yucca Mountain Safety Evaluation Report — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has published Volume 4 of its safety evaluation report on the proposed underground geologic nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada — The NRC

December 18, 2014 — NRC finds hole in Yucca Mountain bid — WASHINGTON – Federal safety analysts have found a flaw in the plan to bury nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain –the government does not have the necessary water rights to operate at the Nevada site. In a report issued Thursday, staff at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission concluded the lack of assured water fails the standard to license a nuclear waste complex — By STEVE TETREAULT STEPHENS WASHINGTON BUREAU

Sen Reid and Heller - NV December 16, 2014 — Heller Pledges Yucca Mountain Will Stay Dead Despite Leaving Energy Committee — Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., pledged that a proposal to build a nuclear waste depository at Yucca Mountain would remain dead, even though he is stepping away from the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to join the Finance Committee. "I don't think it changes the dynamics," Heller said of his new committee assignment for the 114th Congress —

December 10, 2014 — Omnibus Bill Doesn't Make Nuclear Waste Management a Priority — The House gave no additional funds for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) work to finish the review of the Yucca Mountain license in its massive omnibus appropriations bill. While it did find room to spend taxpayer money to fight international poaching of rhinos, Congress did not see fit to ensure that adequate funding is available for long-term management of nuclear waste at commercial nuclear power reactors around the nation. The NRC has been clear that it lacks the means to finish anything beyond the safety evaluation reports. For all the verbal support many in the House have given, Congress should have done more to ensure that the entire licensing process is finished —

December 09, 2014 — Editorial: Window is opening for Yucca Mountain — The time might be right for South Carolina’s congressional delegation to once again help push to revive the much-needed Yucca Mountain underground nuclear waste repository

December 06. 2014 — Feds want to save sage grouse with conditions, Interior secretary says . . . [at the meeting of the Western Governors Association, Energy "Secretary Moniz also reaffirmed to Governor Sandoval] that the position of the Department under this Administration has been unwavering — Yucca Mountain is not a workable solution —

December 01, 2014 — Where will all our nuclear waste go? Disposal is at a critical stage, feds say — A public education push is vital if America is to solve its critical nuclear waste disposal problem that grows more expensive by the day, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. "Used nuclear fuel that has been removed from the reactor core of a nuclear power plant is an extremely harmful substance if not managed properly," the GAO wrote. "Without protective shielding, its intense radioactivity can kill a person who is directly exposed to it or cause long-term health hazards, such as cancer. ... If it were released by a natural disaster or an act of terrorism, it could contaminate the environment with radiation." —

Recent News January / September 2014

News Archive — 2000 through 2013

New Documents & Links

2014 —Safety Evaluation Report Related to Disposal of High-Level Radioactive Wastes in a Geologic Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, Volume 3: Repository Safety After Permanent Closure. SER Volume 3 documents the results of the NRC staff's evaluation to determine whether the proposed repository design complies with the performance objectives and requirements that apply after the repository is permanently closed. The NRC staff finds, with reasonable expectation, that DOE has demonstrated compliance with the NRC regulatory requirements for postclosure safety, including, but not limited to, "Performance objectives for the geologic repository after permanent closure" in 10 CFR 63.113.
— DOE, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards [781 Pages, 3.8MB]

2014 —All Current NRC Documents as per: [DOE's License Application for a High-Level Waste Geologic Repository at Yucca Mountain [ External Link]

2014 — U. S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board — A Report to The U.S. Congress and The Secretary of Energy Board Activities for the Period January 1, 2008 – December 31, 2012 [58 Pages, PDF]

2014 — [One Page Fact Sheet] Spent Nuclear Fuel Rods and Storage Pools: A Deadly and Unnecessary Risk in the United States

November 2014 — SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL MANAGEMENT — Outreach Needed to Help Gain Public Acceptance for Federal Activities That Address Liability
[GAO, 4.6MB, 60 Pages]

July 2014 — 2014 Update — Socioeconomic Conditions & Trends Report — As a part of efforts to assess the potential impacts upon Eureka County of construction and operation of a Nuclear Waste Repository at Yucca Mountain, Eureka County has developed and maintains an accurate picture of existing socioeconomic conditions and trends in the county.

August 2013 — NWTRB Reports [92 Pages 5.8MB] Review of U.S. Department of Energy Activities to Preserve Records Created by the Yucca Mountain Repository Project. August 2013. — U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board

April 2013 — [Clean Air Task Force Document] Putting Energy Innovation First: Recommendations to Refocus, Reform, and Restructure the U.S. Department of Energy

January 2013 — [DOE Document] Strategy for the Management and Disposal of Used Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste [PDF 18 Pages]

December 2012 — Report and Recommendations of the Nevada Commission on Nuclear Projects — State of Nevada

  • Developments in the Yucca Mountain Project and the Federal High-Level Radioactive Waste Program
  • The Future of Yucca Mountain -- Taking the Long View
  • Recommendations to the Nevada Commission on Nuclear Projects

August 2012 — The GAO — SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL Accumulating Quantities at Commercial Reactors Present Storage and Other Challenges [60 Pages - PDF]

October 2011 — Eureka County, Nevada Comments on Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future Draft Report to the Secretary of Energy [21 Pages]

October 2011 — Lessons Learned Video Project: Eureka County has undertaking a Lessons Learned Video Project, to capture on film and on transcripts the recollections and insights of 21 key participants and observers in the Yucca Mountain project. Nuggets of the interviews are presented along with the full transcript of each interview. The complete videos and transcripts will also be made available to researchers for historical and archival purposes [Read the Press Release]

Eureka County, Nevada: Lessons Learned Reprot Regarding U.S. Repository Siting Process: Summary of Findings and Recommendations For the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future [April 2011 — 29 Pages, 590 KB ]

Nuclear Waste Update — Eureka County Newsletter, Summer 2011

Yucca mountain — what’s really there? — State of Nevada

Yucca Mountain — Nevada’s Perspective — By Marta Adams, published in the Idaho Law Review [April 2010]

Photo Slide Show: Union Pacific Freight Train Derailment & Bridge Collapse near Carlin Nevada - 12/27/08

April 28, 2009 — Eureka County Comments- OCRWM National Transportation Plan, Revision 0 [7 Pages]

Winter 2009 Newsletter

March 16, 2009 — Eureka County Comments: USDOE Draft Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

February 17, 2009 — [Press Release] NRC approves rule incorporating EPA standardsfor Yucca Mountain repository
Read the Final Rule 20 pages

February 06, 2009 — Nuclear Waste Disposal: Alternatives to Yucca Mountains — Congressional Research Service (27 Pages)

October 7, 2008CRS Report for Congress, Civilian Nuclear Waste Disposal [ 22 Pages]

Eureka County, Nevada
Mineral Assessment Report - 10/07

Lumos & Associates, Inc.

Impact Assessment Report Eureka County, Yucca Mountain Existing Transportation Corridor, Lumos & Associates, Inc.

Eureka County Atlas — The Atlas contains over 80 detailed maps of the county; each online map can be viewed or printed in Adobe pdf file format.

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