Environment News Service

AmeriScan: February 25, 2000

YUCCA MTN. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT JUDGED INADEQUATE

WASHINGTON, DC, February 25, 2000 (ENS) - The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has criticized a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on the proposed permanent high level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. In formal comments presented to the Department of Energy (DOE), the NRC notes a "lack of an integrated and clearly defined proposed action" in the EIS. "The draft EIS does not describe and discuss the environmental impacts of a clearly defined proposed action," the nuclear agency says, and "it is not clear that DOE has fully identified or considered all the combined potential environmental impacts that could result from the repository."

The nuclear agency is asking the DOE to perform an "in depth, integrated analysis of a clearly defined proposed action" before preparing its final EIS. In addition, the NRC says the Dept. of Energy failed to address the possible cumulative impacts of the repository, including future growth of cities and tribal developments, and effects on endangered species. "The draft EIS does not fully address the environmental impacts of the repository when added to other past, present and reasonably foreseeable future actions relating to groundwater use, land use, and cultural and biological resources," the NRC says. The Dept. of Energy did not thoroughly discuss its strategies to mitigate potential impacts of the repository, the nuclear agency says, and it recommends that the final EIS discuss the use of environmental monitoring to assess the effectiveness of mitigation measures. The complete NRC comments are available at: http://www.nrc.gov/NMSS/DWM/eiscomments.htm

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