Information Guide for Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Proceedings at the NRC Las Vegas Hearing Facility (NUREG/BR-0336, Revision 1)
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Date Published: March 2009
Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001
This brochure provides information and guidance to members of the public who wish to attend an adjudicatory proceeding conducted by an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board at the Las Vegas Hearing Facility (LVHF) concerning U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) activities related to a license application to construct and operate a high-level radioactive waste geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
Through the Atomic Energy Act, Congress created the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel (ASLBP), a group of administrative judges whose responsibilities include ruling on issues relating to civilian nuclear matters. Individuals and entities directly affected by any licensing or enforcement action involving a facility producing or using nuclear materials may submit a request for a hearing to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). When a hearing request is filed, three judges from the ASLBP are generally assigned to a licensing board, which evaluates the matter and determines whether the case should proceed to a hearing. The licensing board decides whether the challenger’s issues have merit and whether the licensing or enforcement action should be authorized. These decisions may be appealed to the NRC Commissioners and, ultimately, to the Federal courts.
In the case of the construction authorization proceeding for the proposed Yucca Mountain repository, NRC regulations require that DOE and other parties make their documentary material associated with the DOE application available to the public before the application was filed and for some period thereafter. This material is available through the Web-based Licensing Support Network, which can be found at www.lsnnet.gov.
Following DOE’s filing of its construction authorization application in June 2008 and the NRC staff’s September 2008 decision to docket and begin its technical review of that application, intervenor hearing petitions challenging various aspects of the application were filed in December 2008, which began the adjudicatory hearing regarding the application. Each of the intervenor challenges that a licensing board determined should be admitted for hearing could become the subject of an evidentiary trial before a licensing board.
Consistent with NRC policy, licensing board evidentiary hearings are generally conducted in the vicinity of the proposed nuclear facility. This allows members of the public who may be most affected by the proposed licensing or enforcement action to attend. Accordingly, the licensing boards assigned to the Yucca Mountain proceeding will use the LVHF when appropriate. When a board holds its proceeding in the ASLBP’s hearing room in Rockville, Maryland, the proceeding will generally be video-streamed to the LVHF so members of the public may attend and observe. Licensing Board proceedings regarding the proposed Yucca Mountain repository also may be publicly available over the Internet at www.nrc.gov.