Mineral County Nevada

Yucca Mountain Oversight Program:

Mineral County Yucca Mountain Oversight Program was created when the Nuclear Waste Policy Act as amended NWPA, designated the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada as the only site to be considered for a geologic repository for disposal of spent fuel and high-level nuclear waste. The NWPA also provided for the Affected Units of Local Government (AULG) within the vicinity of Yucca Mountain to oversee and participate in the Yucca Mountain Project. By affording AULG participation rights, Congress sought to increase public confidence in the scientific integrity of the repository program, provide citizens the means to interact with the federal government, and demonstrate a commitment to external oversight.

UPDATE ON YUCCA MOUNTAIN:

The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 gave DOE the responsibility to construct and operate a geologic repository for high-level waste.

The NRC was given responsibility for regulating geologic disposal of the waste. In 1987, Congress directed DOE to focus solely on Yucca Mountain as the site of a repository. DOE made its determination in 2002 that Yucca Mountain would be a suitable location; President George W. Bush and Congress accepted that determination and directed DOE to submit its license application.

May 10, 2011 - GAO: Death of Yucca Mountain Caused by Political Maneuvering

"The Energy Department began pursuing a license for the Nevada site in 2008 but pulled support a year later when the Obama administration said it was not an attractive solution for storing nuclear waste in the United States. The administration then closed out funding for the site, eliminated jobs and contractor activities and disposed of Las Vegas properties associated with the project." (The New York Times)

The Obama administration created a presidentially appointed blue ribbon commission to review alternatives for storing, processing and disposing of nuclear waste but directed the panel not to review individual sites, including Yucca Mountain. (Blue Ribbion Commissions final report).

"House lawmakers are investigating whether NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko (Greenwire) stalled the decision to politically protect his former boss, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), a leading opponent of the project(Greenwire, May 4)." (The New York Times)

August 13, 2013: A federal appeals court ordered that the licensing process for a nuclear waste storage facility in southern Nevada to resume.The Yucca Mountain project in Nye County, NV, 100 miles north of Las Vegas, Nevada, was built as a nuclear waste storage facility, and was originally slated to open in 1998. However, legal challenges and a cut in federal funding has delayed the project indefinitely.

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Judge Brett Kavanaugh sided with petitioners by granting an order that would move the licensing process for the facility, which has been stalled since 2011, forward.

"Our more modest task is to ensure, in justiciable cases, that agencies comply with the law as it has been set by Congress," Kavanaugh said in the ruling. "Here, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has continued to violate the law governing the Yucca Mountain licensing process."

Kavanaugh referenced the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which was passed by Congress and then signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. The law calls for the NRC to consider an application to store nuclear waste at the mountain site and issue a decision within three years of the submission. He said that application was submitted in June 2008, but the NRC's deadline on a decision has passed.

January 24, 2014: MEMORANDUM AND ORDER In response to the writ of mandamus issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, we recently issued a decision and companion Staff Requirements Memorandum setting forth the course of action we selected to continue the licensing process for the Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste repository. The State of Nevada requests that we clarify certain aspects of the decision and the SRM; Nye County, Nevada, the States of South Carolina and Washington, Aiken County, South Carolina, and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (together, the "Five Parties") seek econsideration of certain aspects of our decision. As discussed below, we deny both requests.

November 21, 2013 - MEMORANDUM AND ORDER On August 13, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a decision granting a writ of mandamus, and directing the NRC to resume the licensing process for the Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste repository construction authorization application. "We issued an order seeking comment from the participants in this adjudication as to how the agency should continue with the licensing process. Today we detail the course of action we have selected. "

August 13, 2013: A federal appeals court ordered that the licensing process for a nuclear waste storage facility in southern Nevada to resume.The Yucca Mountain project in Nye County, NV, 100 miles north of Las Vegas, Nevada, was built as a nuclear waste storage facility, and was originally slated to open in 1998. However, legal challenges and a cut in federal funding has delayed the project indefinitely.

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Judge Brett Kavanaugh sided with petitioners by granting an order (Petition for Writ of Mandamus) that would move the licensing process for the facility, which has been stalled since 2011, forward.

"Our more modest task is to ensure, in justiciable cases, that agencies comply with the law as it has been set by Congress," Kavanaugh said in the ruling. "Here, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has continued to violate the law governing the Yucca Mountain licensing process."

Kavanaugh referenced the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which was passed by Congress and then signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. The law calls for the NRC to consider an application to store nuclear waste at the mountain site and issue a decision within three years of the submission. He said that application was submitted in June 2008, but the NRC's deadline on a decision has passed.

What's happening with Yucca Mountain - Timeline

 

United States Court of Appeals FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT

United States Government Accountability Office, Congressional Requesters

Report on: COMMERCIAL NUCLEAR WASTE Effects of a Termination of the Yucca Mountain Repository Program and Lessons Learned

NEI - The Economic Impact of the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository on the Economy of Nevada According to a study of the economic impact of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository on Nevada undertaken by the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, the project will add $228 million annually to Nevada's economy during construction and $127 million annually during operation. Source: NEI

Mineral County's programs on-going task and goals:

We review activities of:

  • The Department of Energy (DOE), Yucca Mountain Project (YMP),
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC),
  • Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (NWTRB),
  • Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste (ACNW), and;
  • Other related agencies to analyze any potential economic, social, public health and safety impacts the proposed repository might have on Mineral County residents under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act.

We continue to review and analyze project activities which include tracking national transportation routes and modes of transportation and any other transportation activities that have potential impacts to Mineral County residents and/or visitors regarding the possible shipment of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel through Mineral County along the U.S. 95 highway corridor.

We are conducting analysis with respect to property value impacts and other potential land use impacts that have probable economic and health and safety issues related to the DOE EIS supplemental for, and environmental impacts regarding high-level waste and spent nuclear fuel that may be shipped through Mineral County en route to Yucca Mountain.  (Please see our publications page)

Caliente mapWe are preparing optimal land use analyses utilizing the Mineral County’s GIS data that will incorporate findings of the risk perception and property value impacts regarding high-level waste and spent nuclear fuel that may be shipped by truck through Mineral County and provide this information to the Mineral County elected officials and the public.

Funding provided to Mineral County and all the Affected Units of Local Government (AULG) is paid by users of electricity generated by nuclear power plants. Under a general contract with nuclear generating utilities, the federal government collects a fee of one-mill (one-tenth a cent) per kilowatt-hour from utility companies for nuclear generated electricity. The money goes into the nuclear waste fund which is used to fund all program related activities.

Contact us:
Mineral County Nuclear Projects Office
Linda Mathias, Director
P.O. Box 1600
Hawthorne, NV 89
415</blockquote>