The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste repository in southern Nevada on August 6, 1999. The draft EIS has been almost five years in preparation and is a voluminous and complex document over 1,000 pages in length.

DOE is required to prepare an EIS by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended. The EIS must accompany any recommendation made be the Secretary of Energy to proceed with the development of Yucca Mountain as a repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The EIS must also be adopted by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as part of its licencing proceeding for a repository.

Under the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Council on Environmental Quality implementing regulations, DOE is required to solicit public comments on the draft EIS. In 1995, when DOE began the scoping process for the EIS, the Department committed to providing a public comment period of at least six months (180 days). After first announcing a shorter comment period, DOE acceded to requests from stakeholders and reinstated the 180 day timeframe for review.

Given the short comment period and the length and complexity of the document, the State of Nevada is urging citizens, interest groups, and others intending to comment on the draft EIS to immediately contact DOE and request that a copy of the draft be made available on the official release date or as soon as possible after that. To obtain a copy of the draft EIS, you should contact:

Mr. Allen Benson, Public Affairs Manager
U.S. Department of Energy
Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Office
P.O. Box 30307
North Las Vegas, Nevada 89036-0307
Phone: (702) 794-1411

In communicating with DOE, you might want to request that the your copy of the draft EIS be sent to you via overnight mail.

The draft eis can also be accessed on DOE's Yucca Mountain web site at: http://www.ymp.gov/deis.htm.

The State of Nevada will be conducting a thorough review of the draft EIS and preparing comments. Information on the State's review will be available throughout the comment period on the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Project's web page at: http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste.