Upton & Shimkus Ask, "Where Are the Findings?" Following NRC's Incomplete Release of Long Overdue Yucca Evaluation

July 21, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) today called on Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko to release the full and uncensored safety evaluation for the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository. 

Documents obtained during the committee's investigation into the Obama administration's efforts to terminate the Yucca project indicate involvement of either Chairman Jaczko or staff in his office in the alteration of the original language in the professional staff's draft of the Technical Evaluation Report (TER). The TER was prepared at Chairman Jaczko's direction to replace the staff-prepared Safety Evaluation Report regarding post-closure safety of the repository (SER Volume 3). Today's release of the TER comes on the heels of a recent subcommittee hearing where NRC scientists expressed frustrations over Chairman Jaczko's efforts to terminate their work on the third volume of the SER, the most important technical evaluation of whether the DOE application meets regulatory requirements. 

Upton and Shimkus released the following statement:

"Today is an important step for some of the critical work of the NRC's career scientists to finally see the light of day, but where are the findings? It took months of Congressional prodding and courageous testimony from NRC staff for this TER to finally be made public, but how much longer must we wait to see the fruit of their labors? The time is now for Chairman Jaczko and the entire Commission to formally vote to fully release the staff's complete and uncensored report. The American people are still waiting for a full safety evaluation that they have already paid for. It is a shame that our nuclear future is still being dictated by the Obama administration's political agenda."  

The NRC Inspector General recently released a report that revealed damning evidence that Chairman Jaczko abused his legal authority by deliberately withholding key decision-making information from his fellow Commissioners and intentionally blocking issues for resolution that were long overdue. On July 8, Upton and Shimkus pressed Jaczko for more answers and documents on NRC staff's evaluation.