Energy and Commerce Leaders Welcome Court’s Decision Compelling NRC to Resume Consideration of Yucca Mountain License Application

August 13, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today ruled 2-1 that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must resume its consideration of the Department of Energy's license application for Yucca Mountain. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) welcomed the court’s decision, which affirms that the NRC has the statutory duty to complete the license review using the funds appropriated by Congress.

Upton and Shimkus made the following statement:

“We welcome this long-awaited decision. Today’s action by the court is a significant milestone for Yucca Mountain and a clear rebuke of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s failure to implement the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. The Obama administration rejected the law and prematurely terminated the Yucca Mountain repository program, but Congress and the courts have spoken out to prevent billions of taxpayer dollars and three decades of research from being squandered. Last month, 335 House members, including the majority of Democrats, voted to boost funding for the license review in the energy and water appropriations bill.

“Our great system of checks and balances will ensure the law is carried out, and we will soon know once and for all whether Yucca Mountain is safe. Ultimately, our goal continues to be the safe permanent storage of spent nuclear fuel, giving states and communities the certainty they need. This decision will help re-start the important work toward a resolution. We will continue our oversight of the Commission to ensure the license review is swiftly resumed and the NRC’s independent, technical conclusions about the safety of Yucca Mountain are made available to the public. Let the science be the deciding factor on Yucca Mountain, not politics.”