Nuclear Regulatory Commission urged to speed up Yucca decision

WASHINGTON -- It has been a month since the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was briefed on arguments for and against terminating the Yucca Mountain Project license process, and Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., is calling on the commissioners to issue their decision "without delay."

The longer it takes the NRC to decide, the more time the Department of Energy has to dismantle the Nevada program, Hastings, a Yucca proponent, wrote Tuesday to agency Chairman Gregory Jaczko.

"I believe every day of delay creates serious harm to the project," wrote Hastings, who expressed concern DOE is moving ahead with dismantlement even after a legal board within the NRC ruled it has no authority to do so.

Annette Vietti-Cook, the secretary of the commission, sent Hastings a response Wednesday. She said the commission "is moving with all due haste," but gave no indication when a decision might be forthcoming.

The commissioners have a meeting set for Aug. 27, but the Yucca issue was not on the tentative agenda, and agency officials say it is uncertain whether a decision might be ready by then.