Issue Date: July 12, 2004
DOE releases flood of Yucca Mountain data
Some 5.6 million pages--1.2 million documents--of federal material in support of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository are now available, the Department of Energy announced on June 30. The timing of the data's release is intended to meet a requirement of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the data be publicly available six months before DOE applies to NRC for a license to build and operate the high-level radioactive repository in Nevada. DOE is aiming to have an application ready by the end of the year. The material must be placed on NRC's Licensing Support Network, a public and searchable database of all Yucca Mountain licensing information. So far, however, NRC has received from DOE 500,000 documents, less than half the 1.2 million total. Also, DOE has asked NRC to withhold this information from the public until DOE can determine if all privacy information has been deleted, an NRC official says. The official adds that NRC cannot index and process more than 150,000 documents a week, which will stall input of the material for more than a month. The official was unclear on how DOE's restrictions or delay will affect timing of the application; DOE officials would not comment. On July 7, NRC appointed G. Paul Bollwerk III, chief of NRC's Atomic Safety & Licensing Board Panel, to the position of "pre-license application officer" to resolve this licensing dispute and others. Meanwhile, DOE says the material is available at its website, http://www.ocrwm.doe.gov.
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