"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission released draft staff reports Thursday on the proposed Yucca Mountain repository but omitted any conclusions about whether the site would be safe for storing radioactive waste.
Agency officials delivered two thick volumes to Capitol Hill and made them public in response to a Freedom Of Information Act request from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
One of the documents was a key 700-page volume in which NRC scientists set out to evaluate the controversial question of whether tunnels carved in the mountain might safely hold radioactive particles from decaying nuclear fuel for up to a million years.
While they could have been politically explosive, the staff's findings and conclusions were whited-out in that volume and in an accompanying 655-page volume. NRC spokesman David McIntyre said the reports were 'predecisional draft documents,' and the redactions were justified by a Freedom of Information Act exemption that excludes material that could affect a legal process."
Steve Tetreault reports for the Las Vegas Review-Journal February 18, 2011.