Sen. Murkowski Welcomes Board's Decision on Yucca Mountain

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, applauded yesterday’s decision of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board denying the Department of Energy’s motion to withdraw its application for a high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

“This decision affirms what many of us have long suspected – that the Department of Energy does not have the authority to withdraw the license application,” Murkowski said. “The department did their part by submitting the license application in 2008, and the responsibility for making the final determination to approve or disapprove it lies solely with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”

The board’s decision makes clear that under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, Congress specifically directed that the Department of Energy’s license applications shall be considered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which has sole authority to issue a final decision on the application.

“Despite spending billions over the past 25 years to develop the license for Yucca Mountain, the nuclear industry still faces uncertainty regarding spent fuel liabilities, states have no permanent disposition path for defense related wastes and the federal government cannot address tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer liabilities,” Murkowski said.

Yucca Mountain was chosen as a national repository for spent nuclear fuel in 2002. It is the only long-term nuclear repository in the United States.

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