The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in October spent $14,707 from its remaining available balance of the Nuclear Waste Fund, according to the agency’s latest update to Congress.
That left the regulator with $527,408 in unspent, unobligated funds from the account intended to pay for development of a permanent repository for U.S. high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.
The Obama administration in 2010 halted work on the planned Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada, but a federal court three years later ordered the NRC to proceed with the process of licensing the Department of Energy facility. The NRC as of October had spent more than $12.9 million of the $13.5 million it had available at the time of the August 2013 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
More than $8 million was spent on completion of a safety evaluation report on Yucca Mountain, along with nearly $1.6 million for a supplement to the environmental impact statement on the site and $1.1 million to load the License Support Network into the NRC’s online ADAMS document database.
The majority of October spending was split between two projects: $6,019 on knowledge management reports, which provide technical information to assist in the Yucca licensing review; and $6,524 on planning a virtual meeting of the Licensing Support Network Advisory Review Panel (LSNARP) and information collection regarding potential license application adjudicatory hearing venues.
In its fiscal 2018 budget proposal, the NRC requested $30 million from the Nuclear Waste Fund to pay for Yucca Mountain licensing review activities, per the Trump administration’s intention to revive the project. The House has backed the request, while Senate appropriators have yet to approve any Yucca Mountain money for the NRC or DOE. The budget year began Oct. 1, and the federal government is running on a continuing resolution that includes no money for the repository.
The NRC’s total remaining balance fund balance of $591,082 as of the end of October encompassed $63,674 in money that had been committed, largely for contracts with the Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses and for the LSNARP virtual meeting.