UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20460

October 23, 1998

THE ADMINISTRATOR

 

The Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson
Chairman
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
11555 Rockville Pike
Rockville, Maryland 20857

Dear Ms. Jackson

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) release of its implementing regulations for the Yucca Mountain repository. As you know, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the NRC have specific but distinct responsibilities regarding the proposed high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

The Agency is committed to establishing the health and safety standard for the Yucca Mountain repository as quickly as possible. However, the Commission seems to confuse the process and risks confusing the public by releasing its implementing regulations (10 CFR Part 63) entitled "Disposal of High-Level Radioactive Wastes in a Proposed Geologic Repository at Yucca Mountain, NV". We also understand that the Commission will soon vote on whether or not to publish this as a proposed regulation prior to EPA having established a standard. This is disconcerting to me as your regulation not only describes how you will implement a yet to be established EPA standard, but also proceeds to establish that standard, a role Congress clearly gave to EPA in the Energy Policy Act 0f 1992

I request that you not go forward with these implementing regulations until the Agency has established the standards to be implemented. EPA expects to propose standards early next year. If you do not wait, it may be necessary for you to re-propose your regulation depending on the elements of the Agency's final standard. However, should you decide to proceed, I request that all sections which propose to establish the health and safety standard to be developed by EPA be removed

 

Sincerely;

Carol M. Browner