Today, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission released the Safety Evaluation Report Volume 3: Repository Safety After Permanent Closure. The report documents the results of the NRC evaluation of the license application submitted by the Bush Administration in June 2008.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission finds, with reasonable expectation, that the relevant requirements of the regulations are satisfied. This vindicates the efforts of the Department of Energy to provide a high-quality license application that satisfied the requirements.
If the Republicans take control of the Senate, there is a chance the Senate will fund Yucca Mountain and Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) pilot consolidated storage effort. With the Yucca Mountain funding in the Senate, the House could move to include at least some of the funding for Senator Feinstein’s pilot storage with their ever present Yucca Mountain funding; a win-win for the Senate and the House.
The question then becomes: what would the president do if confronted with an omnibus bill or continuing resolution that included funding for Yucca Mountain? Would the pressure to sign a bill overcome the disdain of funding Yucca Mountain? That remains to be seen.
If the Senate remains under Democratic control, it is likely that the status quo would persist. We on the Bipartisan Policy Center Nuclear Waste Initiative hope that no options to solve this country’s nuclear waste issue are taken off the table and that an open, collaborative debate on Yucca Mountain and other long-term geological depositories can occur.