The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in December spent $1,566 of its remaining balance from the fund intended to pay the agency’s licensing activities for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada.
That left the industry regulator with an unobligated, unexpended balance of $412,552, according to its latest report to Congress, posted this week on the NRC website.
The majority of the December spending, $1,315, was for unspecified program planning and support. The NRC spent the remaining $251 on federal court litigation – possibly related to its successful opposition to the state of Nevada’s petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that Commissioner David Wright recuse himself from any decision-making on Yucca Mountain licensing.
The NRC in 2008 received a Department of Energy license application for a permanent disposal facility about 100 miles from Las Vegas for high-level radioactive waste from defense nuclear operations and spent fuel from commercial nuclear power reactors. The Obama administration defunded the licensing program two years later, but the D.C. Circuit appeals court in August 2013 ordered the NRC to proceed with the proceeding.
At that time, the agency had a carry-over balance of just over $13.5 million from the Nuclear Waste Fund. As of December, it has spent roughly $13.1 million. That included nearly $8.4 million to complete a safety evaluation report for the project, over $1.5 million to prepare a supplement to the DOE environmental impact statement for the geologic repository, and more than $1.1 million to load documents from the database for the licensing proceeding into the NRC’s public documents library.
Of the full remaining balance of $442,473, $29,921 is already committed, the report says.
The NRC has said it does not have enough money to adjudicate the Yucca Mountain license application, should it be resumed. Both DOE and the NRC requested funds for fiscal 2018 and the current fiscal 2019 to restart the process. Congress rejected the requests.