Major actions on nuclear dump under Jaczko's rule

AP News
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Posted: Jun 13, 2011 3:35 AM
Major actions on nuclear dump under Jaczko's rule

President Barack Obama appointed Gregory Jaczko chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in May 2009. Some of the major actions that have taken place on the high-level radioactive dump at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, since then.

February 2010: Obama's 2011 budget request announces termination of Yucca Mountain and provides zero funding for work at the Department of Energy.

March 1, 2010: The Obama administration announces a special commission to find alternatives to Yucca Mountain for handling the nation's spent fuel.

March 3, 2010: The department seeks to withdraw its application to construct Yucca Mountain, pending before the independent nuclear licensing board, saying it is not a workable option. The department had filed the application in June 2008 and the NRC accepted it three months later.

June 11, 2010: Jaczko directs staff in a memo to not issue scientific reviews ahead of schedule.

June 29, 2010: The licensing board rejects the Energy Department's request to withdraw its license application, saying administration officials had not justified the request.

June 30, 2010: The NRC asks for briefs on whether it should review, reverse or uphold the board's decision.

July 2010: NRC technical experts complete their review of the long-term environmental and health risks associated with Yucca Mountain. The document still needs final approval.

August 2010: The first of five technical reviews of DOE's application to build Yucca is completed and released. Commissioners begin voting on whether to uphold or reverse the licensing board's decision to withdrawal the construction application for Yucca Mountain.

Sept. 15, 2010: A majority of commissioners have registered their votes on the licensing board decision. Jaczko has not voted.

Oct. 4, 2010: A budget memo from the NRC's executive director directs all work on the license review to stop, citing authority under the budget process. The safety review on the dump's long-term risks is not finalized.

Oct. 6, 2010: NRC commissioner William Ostendorff files a motion objecting to Jaczko's decision to stop work and to leave review on long-term risks incomplete. Ostendorff argues the decision is a policy matter that should have been voted on by full commission.

Oct. 8, 2010: Two of the five commissioners vote in support of Ostendorff's motion, two others choose not to participate. The motion fails for lack of a quorum.

Oct. 29, 2010: Jaczko submits his position on the board's rejection of the department's licensing application, does not schedule a final vote.

Nov. 2010: The date the long-term risk review for Yucca was expected to be complete for licensing board.

June 6, 2011: The NRC's inspector general finds that Jaczko strategically withheld information from commissioners to gain support for killing the licensing review and other policy decisions. The inspector general finds Jaczko broke no laws.

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Sources: Inspector general report; House Science, Space, and Technology Committee investigation, June 2011; Associated Press research.