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Keywords:

  • radioactive waste;
  • Yucca mountain;
  • hazards

Although the final report of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future is not expected until January 2012, the tentative conclusions of the commission's draft report were dissected during a recent joint hearing by two subcommittees of the House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Among the more heated issues debated at the hearing was the fate of the stalled Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada. The Blue Ribbon Commission's (BRC) draft report includes recommendations for managing nuclear waste and for developing one or more permanent deep geological repositories and interim storage facilities, but the report does not address the future of Yucca Mountain. The BRC charter indicates that the commission is to “conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle.” However, the draft report states that the commission was not asked to consider, and therefore did not address, several key issues. “We have not rendered an opinion on the suitability of the Yucca Mountain site or on the request to withdraw the license application for Yucca Mountain,” the draft report states.