WASHINGTON — A federal court is standing by its decision that the government should resume license hearings for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Monday dismissed a request by the state of Nevada that the case be reheard. The decision came without explanation in a one-sentence order.
The order clears the way for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to move forward on restarting its evaluation of the controversial Nevada site 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas as the location for a repository of high-level nuclear waste.
The agency has not yet announced the specifics of how it intends to comply with the ruling issued Aug. 13 by a three-judge court of appeals panel. The court ruled the NRC broke the law when it suspended Yucca Mountain proceedings in 2011.
Arguing the ruling was flawed, attorneys for Nevada asked that the Yucca case be reheard en banc, by the full complement of circuit judges. The state said the NRC does not have sufficient funds to make headway on Yucca Mountain licensing, and it would be a waste of time and money to order it to do so.
“We’re disappointed but not surprised,” Marta Adams, Nevada chief deputy attorney general, said of the rejection. “These things are not frequently granted.”
Adams said officials were conferring this week with the state’s outside nuclear waste counsel on what if any response might be taken to the ruling, such as whether to seek a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at email@example.com or 202-783-1760. Follow him on Twitter @STetreaultDC.