Energy and Commerce Committee Members Question NRC Commissioners on Fate of Yucca Mountain Nuclear Repository

May 4, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko and three other NRC commissioners appeared before Congress today at a joint hearing hosted by House Energy and Commerce Subcommittees on Environment and the Economy and Energy and Power. 

Listening to the Commissioners' testimony, it became apparent that Chairman Jazcko has attempted to circumvent the collegial structure of the Commission and prevent other Commissioners' voices from being heard on key policy matters including license review for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.  

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Environment and the Economy Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) recently launched an investigation into the NRC's  decision-making process on the Department of Energy's license application for construction at Yucca Mountain. A letter was sent to Chairman Jaczko requesting documents and detailed explanations about recent Commission practices, including its license review process.

NRC's processes came into question during the today's hearing when the discussion shifted to the NRC's pending vote on the nuclear waste site. The NRC Commissioners were due to vote on matters related to the Yucca Mountain project after President Obama set out to shut down support for the program.  Members pressed the Commissioners on the status of those votes.  Despite Chairman Jaczko's stance that the voting process will still open, several of the Commissioners testified that they had already voiced their final votes on the matter.

In case you missed it, here is some of the news coverage on today's hearing:

House Republicans Accuse Democrat Of Jeopardizing Yucca Mountain Investigation

Dow Jones Newswires, By Tennille Tracy

Nuke agency under fire for confusion over Yucca

Associated Press, By Matthew Daly

NRC Hearings on New Reactor Licenses to Proceed, Jaczko Says

Bloomberg, By Simon Lomax

GOP launches probe into allegations over Yucca Mountain

Las Vegas Sun, By Karoun Demirjian

US regulator grilled about nuclear waste dump

Reuters, By Roberta Rampton and Ayesha Rascoe