NRC Head Accused of Withholding Info in Yucca Scuttling Decision

"WASHINGTON — A report says the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was “not forthcoming” with other commissioners in his decision to have the agency’s staff wind down the review of an application for a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

The report, by the commission’s chief internal investigator, does not accused the agency’s chairman, Gregory B. Jaczko, of breaking any laws, but is likely to add to a political controversy over the Obama administration’s decision to kill the repository program.

In the 1980s, Congress picked Yucca Mountain, about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, as the prime candidate for a burial site for civilian and military nuclear waste, and in 2008 the Energy Department applied for a license to build the repository. But President Obama, making good on a campaign pledge, terminated the program.

The Government Accountability Office recently concluded that the administration’s decision was made on a political basis, not a technical one. Critics of the site, however, say it was chosen in the 1980s as a political decision, without thorough scientific evaluation of potential alternatives in Washington State and Texas, both of which were then more powerful in Congress."

Matthew L. Wald reports for the New York Times June 9, 2011.


Source: NY Times, 06/10/2011