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Nuclear Energy Institute
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NWTRB: No Scientific Factor Identified That Eliminates Yucca Mountain as Repository Site

WASHINGTON—The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, a scientific advisory panel to the U.S. Congress, today released a letter on scientific issues related to a proposed site at Yucca Mountain, Nev., for underground disposal of used nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants and high-level waste from U.S. defense programs. The Board, in its letter to members of Congress and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, said "At this point, no individual technical or scientific factor has been identified that would automatically eliminate Yucca Mountain from consideration as the site of a permanent repository."

The following comments on the NWTRB letter are from Marvin S. Fertel, senior vice president, at the Nuclear Energy Institute:

"The NWTRB indicates that the program at Yucca Mountain should continue to move forward.

"The site approval process for Yucca Mountain is distinctly different from the licensing process. Scientific evidence supports the approval of the Yucca Mountain site for an underground repository, where used nuclear fuel can be securely managed. The scientific and technical issues raised by the NWTRB are relevant to the licensing of the facility and will be resolved during the formal Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing process.

"The concept of a phased process for approval of the site—and then the licensing of the disposal facility itself—is supported by the National Academy of Sciences. Although some 600 scientific and technical reports already have been completed on Yucca Mountain—most during the Clinton Administration—scientific research will continue under this phased process. This ensures that the most advanced science will be used in the combination of cutting-edge engineering and the natural features of Yucca Mountain that will protect public safety and the environment."


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