United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment
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Site Recommendation Process

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What was NRC's role?

  • The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 requires NRC to provide preliminary comments on certain information in any Department of Energy (DOE) site recommendation.
  • NRC's comments were "preliminary" and addressed the extent to which the DOE information seems to be sufficient for inclusion in any potential license application.
  • NRC commented on the sufficiency of the at-depth site characterization analysis, the waste form and packaging proposal and, what, if any, additional DOE data or analyses are needed.
  • DOE included NRC's preliminary comments as part of DOE's site recommendation submittal.
  • NRC will perform a detailed review of any license applications DOE may submit.

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How were NRC's comments used?

NRC's preliminary comments provided an independent indication to the President and the Congress on whether the DOE has acquired, developed, and assembled sufficient information for a license application.

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What did DOE's site recommendation include?

The Secretary of Energy submitted to the President of the United States a site recommendation report that consisted of the following seven sections:

  1. A description of the proposed repository.
  2. A description of the waste form, waste package, and their interaction with the geologic system.
  3. A discussion of safety-related site characterization data.
  4. A final environmental impact statement.
  5. Preliminary comments of the NRC on whether the extent of at-depth site characterization and the description of the waste form proposal are sufficient for inclusion in a potential license application.
  6. Views of the Governor and legislature of any State, or the governing body of any affected Indian tribe, and the response of the Secretary of Energy to those views.
  7. Any impact report submitted under the Act by the State of Nevada.

In February 2002, the DOE submitted the site recommendation to the President. On February 15, 2002, the President notified the Congress that he considers Yucca Mountain qualified for a construction permit application. Congress approved the recommendation. It is expected that DOE will prepare a license application seeking NRC authorization to construct a repository at Yucca Mountain.

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Public Involvement

There will be no further meetings on NRC's sufficiency comments. However, as part of the ongoing dialogue between the public and NRC, the public can participate as observers in key technical issue resolution meetings.

See the NRC Public Meeting Schedule for meetings pertaining to the NRC high-level waste program. This schedule is regularly updated when new meetings are scheduled.

Related Regulations and Guidance

An agreement between DOE and NRC governs interactions between the two agencies during the pre-licensing phase and discusses the extent of public involvement permitted in the issue resolution meetings.

Related Documents and Other Resources

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, November 18, 2013