YUCCA MOUNTAIN LICENSING

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Yucca Mountain Licensing – In August 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in In re Aiken County, directed the NRC promptly to continue [resume] “the legally mandated licensing process” for DOE’s application to construct a geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste (HLW) at Yucca Mountain, NV.  Following that directive, the NRC returned to its work on the technical, safety and environmental evaluation of DOE’s application and on other licensing-related matters to the extent that currently available Nuclear Waste Fund appropriations will permit.

On October 16, 2014, the NRC Staff completed Volume 3 of its Safety Evaluation Report – Repository Safety after Permanent Closure (NUREG-1949, Volume 3).  Volume 3 contains 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.  From its analysis and evaluation, the Staff finds that DOE demonstrated compliance with the NRC regulatory requirements for postclosure safety.  The NRC staff finds that the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain has the requisite multiple barriers and meets the 10 CFR Part 63, Subpart L limits for individual protection, human intrusion, and the separate standards for protection of groundwater – the “one-million-year” Yucca Mountain standards established by EPA and incorporated into NRC regulations.  A description and abstract of SER Vol. 3  (NUREG-1949, Volume 3) can be found at www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/staff/sr1949/v3/.  SER Volume 3 itself can be found at pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1428/ML14288A121.pdf and can be accessed at www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/staff/sr1949/.

On December 18, 2014, the NRC Staff completed Volume 4 of its Safety Evaluation Report (SER).  SER Volume 4 deals with administrative and programmatic requirements for the repository at Yucca Mountain and documents the NRC Staff’s evaluation of whether DOE’s research and development and performance confirmation programs, along with other administrative controls and systems meet applicable NRC requirements.  From its analysis and evaluation, the Staff finds that most administrative and programmatic requirements in NRC regulations are met with certain significant exceptions.  The exceptions involve DOE’s failure, at this point, to acquire ownership or jurisdiction over the land where the geologic repository operations area would be located and the failure to acquire water rights that DOE has determined are needed to accomplish the purpose of the repository operations area.  NUREG-1949, Volume 4: Safety Evaluation Report Related to Disposal of High-Level Radioactive Wastes in a Geologic Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, Volume 4: Administrative and Programmatic Requirements (December 2014) is accession number ML14346A071 and can be accessed at www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/staff/sr1949/.

In January 2015, the NRC Staff completed Volume 5 of its Safety Evaluation Report.  SER Volume 5 addresses Proposed Conditions on the Construction Authorization and Probable Subjects of License Specifications and its accession number is ML15022A488.  SER Volume 5 can be accessed at pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1502/ML15022A488.pdf.

The status of the NRC Yucca Mountain-related activities from the remand in In re Aiken County is provided in monthly reports to Congress prepared by the Commission.  The monthly status reports can be accessed at www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/congress-docs/correspondence/. To access the latest status report, click on the current year and select from the menu of reports.