Today's News – September, 2014

Yucca Mountain, Nevada's View — State of Nevada
Yucca Mountain, What’s Really There? — State of Nevada

September 16, 2014 — U.S. Senate confirms 2 new NRC commissioners — WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday confirmed two new members to the federal body that regulates the nuclear power industry and has played a role in reviewing Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a repository for nuclear waste — RJ.com

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
September 15, 2014 Reid Moves NRC Nominations as Fight Over Yucca Mountain Continues It helps to be the majority leader when you’re trying to kill the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is using floor time this week to confirm nominees to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission — a move that will ensure a Democratic majority . . . The two nominees, Jeffery M. Baran and Stephen G. Burns, would fill vacant spots on the commission. Reid has spent considerable political capital to effectively kill the project, and repeatedly used his influence to ensure the NRC’s opposition to it — RollCall.com [More Coverage — AP]

September 12, 2014 — YUCCA MOUNTAIN: 'Nothing for us to do' on repository project — NRC chief — There's a critical hole in the application for the now-abandoned Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository project in Nevada. There's no applicant. So says Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane. She told reporters yesterday that the NRC is obeying court orders to use its remaining application funds, about $7.5 million, to continue its review of the project. That could lead to the release of critical safety studies as early as January — eenews.net

September 12, 2014 — The Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) Environmental Report for 2013 has been released and is available on-line. This document is a collection of results from environmental activities, such as air and groundwater monitoring and ecological surveys, performed at the NNSS and off-site facilities from January through December 2013. — DOE/Nevada

September 07, 2014 — New Mexico nuclear waste site may be hobbled for years — It may be years before an underground nuclear waste dump in New Mexico shuttered by a radiation leak is fully operational, and costs for decontamination and other activities to restore the facility are not yet clear, Energy Department officials said — WashingtonPost.com

September 05, 2014 — Ruling green lights temporary nuclear waste storage With no central underground depository, above-ground casks will have to do. For decades, the U.S. nuclear energy industry has struggled to answer the biggest question posed by regulators and anti-nuke activists: How much confidence can we have in its ability to safely store radioactive waste long-term? — HCN.org
Related Information NRC Documents Related to Waste Confidence

September 01, 2014 — Feds want nuclear waste train — ATLANTA — The U.S. government is looking for trains to haul radioactive waste from nuclear power plants to disposal sites. Too bad those trains have nowhere to go. Putting the cart before the horse, the U.S. Department of Energy recently asked companies for ideas on how the government should get the rail cars needed to haul 150–ton casks filled with used, radioactive nuclear fuel — AP

August 29, 2014 — Confidence — What Does It Mean For Nuclear Waste? — Can we be confident that we can handle our nuclear waste in America? On Tuesday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said — yes. The NRC made a small but incredibly important decision about nuclear waste that could finally get nuclear energy moving forward again. In response to a 2012 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals, the NRC approved a generic environmental impact statement that clears the way for storing spent nuclear fuel for a hundred years or more (NRC Ruling). New nuclear power plants can now be built without waiting for a final nuclear waste repository to be built — Forbes.com [Print ]

August 29, 2014 — NRC Final Rule: Nothing More Than a Patch for a Broken System — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) voted to finalize its 'continued storage' rule, establishing a general recognition that onsite storage of spent nuclear fuel is safe for the short, long, and indefinite terms. In the short term, the NRC's decision recognizes that spent fuel at reactors can be safely stored on site until a geologic repository is available. This allows the nuclear industry to move forward with licensing activities . . . — DailySignal.com

August 28, 2014 — DOE agrees to pay $23.6M to Energy Northwest — The Department of Energy has agreed to pay Energy Northwest almost $23.6 million in damages for its continued failure to accept used nuclear fuel. It also has agreed to an annual claims process to continue to pay costs through 2016 without requiring Energy Northwest to prove damages in federal court — TheOlympian.com

August 27, 2014 — Nevada legislators OK $1.4 million to fight Yucca — CARSON CITY — A panel of lawmakers on Wednesday approved nearly $1.4 million to continue Nevada's fight against Yucca Mountain despite the nuclear waste repository project being described by some critics as “the walking dead.” The requests for funding for the Nevada attorney general's office and the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects were supported by the Legislature's Interim Finance Committee — RJ.com [More Coverage — AP]

August 22, 2014 — State OKs controversial expansion of West Texas nuclear dump's operations — AUSTIN — Call it the Texas radioactive waste rush. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approved changes this week to its license with Waste Control Specialists —a private disposal facility in Andrews County in West Texas that handles low-level radioactive waste — that would greatly expand the site's operations — DallasNews.com

August 21, 2014 — Secretary Moniz addresses future of energy, waste disposal IdahoStatesnab.com

August 13, 2014 — Why small towns want nuclear waste dumps — A nuclear-waste disposal site in New Mexico closed in February after a radiation leak forced an evacuation. Yet residents near the site want it reopened — WashingtonPost.com

August 12, 2014 — U.S. says reopening New Mexico nuclear waste dump is top priority — An underground nuclear waste dump in New Mexico where operations were suspended after a radiation leak is of crucial importance to the United States and its reopening is a top priority for the Energy Department, the head of the agency said — reuters.com

August 01, 2014 — Report: Nuclear Share of Global Energy Production Is Lowest Since 1984 — According to a report released this week by Mycle Schneider Consulting —a Paris-based independent consultant—nuclear power’s share of global commercial primary energy production declined to only 4.4%, a level not seen since 1984 — Powermag.com

July 27, 2014 —[Editorial] Guy W. Farmer: Obama's budget: No money for Yucca Mountin — Nevada Appeal

July 25, 2014 — Nuclear Waste Bill Not Dead, Just Sleeping — rollcall.com

July 21, 2014 — Reid Calls NRC’s Magdood ’Disaster’ Amid Demand for Probe — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called departing Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Bill Magwood“a disaster“ as environmental groups said he should resign now to avoid a conflict of interest with his next job . . .[ A coalition of 34 environmental groups sent letters today to President Barack Obama and the NRC seeking an investigation into whether Magwood violated ethics rules by accepting a job promoting nuclear power — bloomberg.com

July 14, 2014 — How nuclear-powered nations are tackling highly radioactive waste storage headache — Tens of thousands of tons of spent fuel stored at nuclear power plants will remain dangerously radioactive for thousands of years — a vexing problem that nuclear-powered nations around the world face. After decades of studies, scientists now agree that underground storage is the best option, but finding a community willing to host a radioactive dump site is difficult. Here is how some countries have tackled the issue — Foxnews.com

July 10, 2014 House rejects bids to abandon nuclear waste site at Yucca Mountain The House on Thursday defeated two proposals to prevent development of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada — The Hill More Coverage — RJ.com [More Coverage]

July 09, 2014 — Nevada Ready To Spend Money To Stop Yucca Mountain Nevada officials approved more money to continue the fight against Yucca Mountain. Tuesday the state's Board of Examiners, which included Governor Brian Sandoval and Secretary of State Ross Miller, approved a request for one-point-four million dollars to go to Nuclear Projects — knprnews.org More Coverage, July 08, 2014

June 11, 2014 — Yucca Mountain backers mount push to revive nuke program — WASHINGTON — Late spring means short sleeves, schoolchildren preparing for summer vacation, and the annual push by Yucca Mountain supporters in Congress to revive the dormant nuclear waste project. This year is no exception. House lawmakers this week launched an energy spending bill containing $205 million for the Nevada program that President Barack Obama ended four years ago — Las Vegas Review Journal

June 11, 2014 — Yucca Mountain Termination Generates On-Site Spent-Fuel Storage at Nuclear Plants — enr.construction.com

May 21, 2014 — Editorial: Storage plan for N-waste is one big boondoggle — The U.S. Department of Energy last week finally conceded the obvious: The United States has no plan for the permanent storage of spent fuel from the nation's 100 civilian nuclear generating plants — Spokesman.com

May 20, 2014 — State wants WIPP plan from DOE — The New Mexico Environment Department on Monday ordered the federal government to submit a plan for securing nuclear waste that may have caused a radiation leak at an underground repository — Abqjournal.com [Related Story]

May 20, 2014 — Potential imminent threat from New Mexico nuclear waste, officials say —ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico - Los Alamos National Laboratory packed 57 barrels of nuclear waste with a type of kitty litter believed to have caused a radiation leak at the federal government's troubled nuclear waste dump, posing a potentially "imminent" and "substantial" threat to public health and the environment, New Mexico officials said Monday — cbsnews.com More Coverage — The Telegraph

May 15, 2014 — Fee to build phantom nuke waste site ends — NEW YORK (AP) — Something could be missing from your next electric bill: a fee that electric customers have been paying for 31 years to fund a federal nuclear waste site that doesn't exist. The Energy Department will stop charging the fee by court order on Friday. The amount is only a small percentage of most customers' bills, but it adds up to $750 million a year. The fund now holds $37 billion — AP

May 13, 2014 — Kitty litter eyed as possible culprit in New Mexico radiation leak — Kitty litter used to absorb liquid in radioactive debris may have triggered a chemical reaction that caused a radiation leak at a below-ground U.S. nuclear waste storage site in New Mexico, a state environmental official said on Tuesday — Reuters

May 07, 2014 — House Republicans: Why aren't regulators asking for money to study Yucca Mountain? — The way congressional Republicans see it, the independent agency charged with studying Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste site is trying to run out the clock on the project — Las Vegas Sun [More Coverage — RJ.com]

May 06, 2014 —U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Monthly Status Report Activities Related to the Yucca Mountain Licensing Action Report for March 2014 — The NRC

May 01, 2014 — Titus answers — Shimkus of Illinois — whose state contains a half-dozen nuclear power plants —argued in an essay in a Capitol Hill newspaper that by shutting down the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump project for power plant wastes in Nevada, President Obama is violating federal law that instructs the dump 'shall' be built (“Nuke advocate attacks Obama,”RN&R, April 17). Nevada's U.S. Rep. Dina Titus came back in a subsequent edition of the Hill, charging . . . — newsreview.com

May 01, 2014 — WIPP: Damage discovered on bags used to weigh down nuclear waste containers — lcsun-news.com

April 29, 2014 — Nuclear settlement costs investors $96M . . . Crippled by the rapid degradation of newly installed steam generators, San Onofre stopped producing power on Jan. 31, 2012. Edison chose to retire San Onofre for good in June of last year, leaving state regulators to decide who should pay for an assortment of leftover costs —utility customers or corporate stockholders — utsandiego.com

April 24, 2014 — Radioactive Leak At U.S. Waste Dump Was Preventable, Report Says — A February accident at a nuclear waste dump that resulted in the contamination of 21 workers resulted in part from "poor management, ineffective maintenance and a lack of proper training and oversight," a Department of Energy report concludes. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel says the report, released Thursday, says the release of radioactive material into the environment from the Feb. 14 accident at the underground Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M., could have been prevented. The facility is a repository for defense-related nuclear waste — NPR

April 24, 2014 — DOE releases scathing report on WIPP leak — krqe.com

April 15, 2014 —WIPP officials close to knowing cause of radiation leak — koat.com [Related Story]

April 2014 —Restructuring the U.S. Nuclear Waste Management Program: An Environmental Opportunity for Change? —Alvin Mushkatel Ph.D., Arizona State University; Robert J. Halstead, State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects; and Kathy Thomas, Ph.D., Arizona State University

April 15, 2014 — WIPP leak investigation: slow going for a reason — Abqjournal.com

April 14, 2014 —Nevada Is Not a Wasteland: What Doesn’t Happen Here Shouldn’t Stay HereCommentary by By Rep. Dina Titus: In 2010, when the Department of Energy correctly made the decision to put an end to the misguided Yucca Mountain project, it did so after decades of debate and extensive study with little to show for it except $15 billion wasted and a big hole in the side of a mountain. According to the Government Accountability Office, had the project been completed, it would have cost more than $80 billion just for initial construction — Roolcall.com

April 11, 2014 — West Valley Nuclear Waste Facility Still Years Away From Full Decommissioning — The U.S. is the world’s largest nuclear power producer, and more than a quarter of New York’s electricity is supplied by atomic energy. As older nuclear plants in the state, and across the US, reach the end of their operational life, managing the nuclear waste left behind has become an ongoing national issue — wxxinews.org

April 10, 2014 DOE to Update Yucca Groundwater Report in Lieu of Environmental Supplement — As the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission begins responding to the August 2013 federal court order to restart its review of the Department of Energy’s Yucca Mountain repository license application, DOE said this week it will not provide a supplemental environmental analysis as the NRC had requested but instead will update a report on groundwater at the site it had sent to the agency four years ago — NEI.org

April 07, 2014 — Richard Bryan: Yucca Mountain must not be used for nuclear waste processing . . . The respected 2011 Massachusetts Institute of Technology nuclear fuel cycle study concluded that commercial reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel is unlikely to occur anywhere in the United States, at least for the next two decades, because of unfavorable economics. Reactor fuel from reprocessing could cost up to eight times more than new fuel using freshly mined uranium — RGJ.com

April 06, 2014 — Two top GOP congressional candidates favor Yucca Mountain if done safey — For nearly three decades, most Nevada leaders — Republican and Democrat —have opposed allowing the federal government to carry out a plan to build a high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, about 100 miles from Las Vegas — RJ.com

April 02, 2014 — Workers enter WIPP; no radiation detected in airCARLSBAD — Crews made their first trip into the federal government’s underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico on Wednesday to begin investigating a radiation release in February that contaminated 21 workers, the U.S. Department of Energy said — AP

March 27, 2014 — Team to re-enter New Mexico nuclear waste site after radiation leak —An investigative team plans to re-enter an underground nuclear waste site in New Mexico next week for the first time since an accidental release of unsafe levels of radiation there last month, a U.S. Energy Department official said Thursday — (Reuters)

March 23, 2014 — The WIPP problem, and what it means for defense nuclear waste disposal . . . On February 4, 2014, assumptions of very low probability crumbled at the Energy Department’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico, when a fire in a large salt truck raged for hours, deep underground. Ten days later, an even more unlikely accident happened: Wastes containing plutonium blew through the WIPP ventilation system, traveling 2,150 feet to the surface, contaminating at least 17 workers, and spreading small amounts of radioactive material into the environment — The Bulletin.org

March 20, 2014 — WIPP still considered for high-level waste — Despite last month's radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, researchers continue to look at the possibility of using WIPP or a facility like it to dispose of high level nuclear waste, a panel of waste experts was told Wednesday at a meeting in Albuquerque. But the leak has been a major setback to the idea — abqjournal.com

March 19, 2014 — NEI and NARUC comment on court rejection of nuclear-waste fee appeal . . . This decision is a big win for consumers of nuclear power. Once again, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has sent another strong signal to the federal government: Stop charging consumers of nuclear power for the stalled Yucca Mountain, Nev., nuclear-waste repository program. — utilityproducts.com

March 13, 2014 — Court Awards Duke Energy, Energy Northwest Spent Fuel Storage Costs — A federal court this week awarded $123 million to Duke Energy and Energy Northwest to cover the cost of storing several years worth of spent fuel after the Department of Energy promised to begin moving it to the mothballed Yucca Mountain repository in 1998 — nuclearstreet.com

March 09, 2014 — Elko County will hear pro-Yucca Mountain backers — Elko County has joined a half dozen other rural Nevada counties that are not ready to close the door on jump-starting proposals to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain 90 miles north of Las Vegas.Elko County will hear pro-Yucca Mountain backers — RGJ.com

March 05, 2014 —$0 for Yucca Mountain included in Obama’s budget proposal — WASHINGTON -- In his budget proposal, Obama reiterates a stand on Yucca Mountain that comes as reassurance to anti-dumpsite Nevadans, especially after a year in which the federal courts sided with those who want to keep the development going — Las Vegas Sun

March 01, 2014 — Nuclear dump leak raises questions about cleanup — CARLSBAD, N.M. — For 15 years the trucks have barreled past southeastern New Mexico's potash mines and seemingly endless fields of oil rigs, hauling decades worth of plutonium-contaminated waste to what is supposed to be a safe and final resting place a half mile underground in the salt beds of the Permian Basin — AP


Recent News January / February 2014

News Archive — 2000 through 2013

New Documents & Links

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.


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