Licensure process must continue for Yucca nuclear waste site via The Augusta Chronicle

YOU MAY remember that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2011 abruptly stopped the licensure procedure of Yucca Mountain – the Nevada storage facility for nuclear waste. The reason for the shutdown? They didn’t have a reason. When they started to dismantle the program, there was $29 million in funds appropriated by Congress. There was a specific instruction from Congress in the law that required the review. Yet the chairman of the agency, a former staff member to U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, effectively shut down both the program and the review process.

In an incredible display of agency chutzpah, the NRC’s counsel claimed the agency shut down the program office because the agency “knew” Congress would not provide funding last year, and will not provide funding again.

The problem, which more than one of the three judges suggested during the oral arguments, is that an agency cannot capriciously ignore the direct commands of Congress – even the president.

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