Judges refuse to rule on document access

WASHINGTON — A panel of judges declined this week to weigh in on a dispute over the availability of government Yucca Mountain documents.

A three-judge panel formed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in an order issued Monday that to tackle a complaint that Nevada filed in July would be premature.

The state charged that the Department of Energy was likely to withhold disclosure of research and analysis for the proposed Nevada nuclear waste repository site.

Thirteen environmental groups also asked the NRC judges to weigh in on the matter.

Such documents are required to be posted to a public Web site.

The DOE has posted 3.4 million documents and has said it plans to add more before it certifies the database later this year.

The judges said that if a problem occurs, it would not become evident until the Energy Department certifies the document collection.

“The dispute is clearly not ripe for resolution,” the judges said.

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