United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Licensing Criteria for the High-Level Waste Disposal Facility

Related Information
  • Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended (NWPA)
  • Part 60 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) governs disposal of high-level radioactive waste in geologic repositories. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 required that the NRC modify its licensing criteria for disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive wastes in the proposed geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada to be consistent with the Environmental Protection Agency's final site-specific standard for Yucca Mountain. The NRC published its final licensing criteria, known as 10 CFR 63 on November 2, 2001.

NRC has published licensing criteria for disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive wastes in the proposed geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. These criteria address the performance of the repository system at Yucca Mountain, a system that must comprise both natural and engineered barriers. The requirements implement a health-based, safety objective for long-term repository performance that is fully protective of the public health and safety, and the environment, and is consistent with national and international recommendations for radiation protection standards.

Background

On February 22, 1999 (Federal Register Volume 64, page 8640), the NRC published a proposed rule establishing licensing criteria for disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive wastes in a proposed geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

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Process Description

Publication on February 22, 1999 of NRC's proposed rule for disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive wastes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada started a 75-day public comment period. Public meetings were held in the State of Nevada to: (1) engage the public in a discussion of the proposed rule; (2) outline the roles and responsibilities of government and the public in the licensing process; and (3) ensure that the process for developing the final rule gives full consideration to the views and concerns of the public. At the request of members of the public, NRC extended the comment period an additional 51 days. Comments obtained during the public comment period, including those provided in the public meetings were considered in revising the proposed rule.

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Status as of January, 2002

The final rule was published in the Federal Register on November 2, 2001 (Federal Register Volume 66, pages 55, 731-55, 816).

On January 25, 2002, in the Federal Register, the NRC proposed to amend its regulations governing the disposal of high-level radioactive wastes in a potential geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, to define the term "unlikely" in quantitative terms. The NRC proposes this amendment to clarify how it plans to implement two of the final environmental standards for Yucca Mountain issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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Public Involvement

The NRC is requesting public comments, through its NRC's rulemaking web page, on its proposed amendment. The comment period for this amendment expires April 10, 2002.

The public was involved in commenting on the proposed licensing criteria for disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive wastes in the proposed geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Public meetings were held in Nevada at which the public was afforded the opportunity to interact with NRC staff and to comment on the proposed rule. The public at large had the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule through NRC's rulemaking Web page.

No further meetings have been scheduled on this initiative. Documentation from past meetings concerning this initiative is available on our High Level Waste Meeting Archive page.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, November 18, 2013