A Republican-led panel on Tuesday disparaged President Obama’s administration for not acting faster to restart its study of the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste-storage project in Nevada.
Representative John Shimkus (R-Ill.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee panel that held the hearing, said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission “again appears to be stalling” action on the Nevada project, according to Bloomberg. Obama and Senate Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) oppose the effort to establish a subterranean atomic dump roughly 90 miles from Las Vegas.
NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane told the Environment and the Economy Subcommittee that her agency still lacks the funds to complete a required safety review of the potential facility, the wire service reported. She said the commission had yet to finish estimating how much money it would need for the environmental study.
Still, Macfarlane testified that her group is “now following the law, we are moving forward.” NRC staff members are working on a revised estimate of costs to complete the study, and will collect input from the public until the end of the month, she added.
A federal appeals court ruled on Aug. 13 that the commission had to accept or reject a permit for the proposed waste site, saying the administration was “flouting the law” by not completing the review.
House Republicans argue that current law clearly designates Yucca Mountain as the nation’s nuclear-waste repository.
“Compliance with the law is not optional,” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) reportedly said at the Tuesday hearing. He argued jump-starting the Yucca Mountain program is the “clearest, fastest and most fiscally responsible way” for the United States to discard spent nuclear fuel.