New Projects, Nuclear, Reactors, Waste Management & Decommissioning

Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage license could cost $330mn

The chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said completing the licensing process for Yucca Mountain would cost an additional $330 million.
All four commissioners appeared before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. Chairman Stephen Burns said completing the used fuel repository construction licensing process would require the additional funds from Congress in the NRC’s budget. The commission proposed a $1.03 billion budget for fiscal year 2016, which is 1.7 percent higher than was approved for fiscal 2015. NRC did not request any funds from Congress to continue its review of the Yucca Mountain license.

Subcommittee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) both said during the hearing that they intend to pursue passage of the Nuclear Waste Administration Act, which would allow for the establishment of consolidated storage facilities such as the one proposed by Waste Control Specialists in Texas.
Alexander said the cumulative burden of regulations is not because lawmakers have “evil intent,” but that they pile up over time, creating a resource issue for the industry. NRC Commissioner Kristine Svinicki said a recent NRC pilot study found that the cost-benefit analyses regulators use to justify imposition of new regulations have, in some cases, been as much as ten times lower than the eventual true cost. If the true cost had been recognized, Svinicki said commissioners would have rethought the efficacy of the rule.
Alexander recently spoke up for U.S. nuclear power, saying the subcommittee would hold a series of year-long hearings to look into the future of nuclear power in the U.S.
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