Morning Briefing - May 06, 2019
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May 06, 2019

NRC Spends $128 From Nuclear Waste Fund Balance in March

By ExchangeMonitor

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in March spent just $128 of its remaining balance from the Nuclear Waste Fund, according to its latest update to Congress.

That left the agency with $407,102 in unspent, unobligated funding for work on licensing a federal repository for disposal of spent nuclear reactor fuel and high-level radioactive waste from defense nuclear operations.

The George W. Bush administration Department of Energy in 2008 filed its license application with the NRC for a disposal site under Yucca Mountain, Nev., but the Obama administration defunded the proceeding two years later. A federal appeals court in August 2013 ordered the NRC to proceed with licensing activities, even though DOE was no longer pursuing the project.

The NRC has spent over $13.1 million of the $13.5 million it had on hand at the time of the court order. It used nearly $8.4 million to finish a safety evaluation report for the license application, along with over $1.5 million for a supplement to the environmental impact statement on the project.

Spending has slowed significantly in recent years after the major projects wrapped up and in the absence of renewed funding and authorization from Congress to restart licensing.

“While there are no significant actions to report for the month, the NRC provided limited program planning and support activities that resulted in nominal expenditures,” NRC Chairman Kristine Svinicki wrote in an introductory letter to the senior members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The letter, dated April 26, was posted Friday to the NRC website.

Of the remaining fund balance of $437,023, $29,921 has been committed but not yet spent, according to the update.

The Trump administration has requested $38.5 million in the upcoming 2020 federal fiscal year for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to resume review of the DOE license application. Congress rejected requests in the prior two budget years for licensing funding at DOE and the NRC.