The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in February spent $1,249 of its remaining available balance from the Nuclear Waste Fund, leaving it with $407,230 absent an additional appropriation from Congress.
The NRC uses its portion of the federal fund to pay for work connected to its adjudication of the Department of Energy license application for a nuclear waste repository under Yucca Mountain, Nev.
The February spending covered unspecified program planning and support, according to the agency’s latest report to Congress, posted Friday on the NRC website.
The Energy Department filed its application with the NRC in 2008 during the George W. Bush administration, but the Obama administration defunded the proceeding two years later. However, a federal appeals court in August 2013 ordered the industry regulator to resume licensing activities.
The NRC as of February had spent over $13.1 million of the more than $13.5 million it had on hand from the fund at the time of the court directive. The top expenditures were: completion of a safety evaluation report, at nearly $8.4 million; preparing a supplement to the environmental impact statement for the repository project, at nearly $1.6 million; and loading documents from the license adjudication into the agency’s online documents library, at over $1.1 million.
The remaining balance of $437,151 covers $29,921 that has not been spent but is already obligated, the new report says.
The NRC has requested Congress appropriate $38.5 million from the Nuclear Waste Fund to enable the agency to resume the license adjudication in fiscal 2020, which begins Oct. 1. Congress rejected similar requests in the last two budget cycles.