Yucca Mountain is a safe nuclear waste site, says NRC report

Permanent closure plans for Yucca Mountain met all safety evaluation objectives before Obama cut the plug on the Nevada waste dump, according to federal nuclear regulators.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a delayed report stating that the Yucca Mountain, a volcanic structure near to what used to be the Nevada Test Site, is a suitable location for a disposal spot for nuclear waste.

The report could help kick-start congressional spending to renew the licensing effort Congress and the White House stopped in 2010.

The report said that the design of the project is in line with the commission’s requirements, laying the groundwork to begin the project.

Republicans have backed the plan to use the site as a place to store spent reactor fuel and radioactive leftovers. However, the project has been blocked by President Obama, along with the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada. As a candidate for president Obama promised to put an end to the project.

yucca mountain

Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

The report was mostly done in 2010, however it was put on hold until just recently. It concluded that the project has the required multiple barriers, to ensure isolation of radioactive materials.

Rep. John M. Shimkus, R-Mich., who is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said:

“Today’s report confirms what we’ve expected all along: Nuclear waste stored under that mountain, in that desert, surrounded by federal land, will be safe and secure for at least a million years,”

He added that the report “should only add to the bipartisan support the repository has consistently received in both the House and Senate,”

In 1994, the Energy Department began drilling a five-mile tunnel through the mountain. This news means that the project has the potential to actually go ahead.