Nevada asking NRC for money to fight Yucca |

Nevada asking NRC for money to fight Yucca

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS – Nevada is asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for millions of dollars to continue fighting government plans for a national nuclear waste dump in the state.

“We are coming to you with hat in hand but with a justifiable argument why we should get assistance,” Joe Egan, the state’s lead anti-Yucca lawyer, told commission officials Thursday in Washington.

The state got no immediate commitment from Jack Strosnider, head of the commission’s office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, and staff members from the Office of General Counsel in Washington.

Janet Kotra, an NRC senior project manager, said the commission might not be able to grant the request, but said the state should get a decision later this year.

Kotra said commissioners in 1985 interpreted NRC regulations to rule out such financial assistance and that decisions about federal funding for the state’s Yucca efforts might be up to the Energy Department.

The Energy Department has given the state $1 million for Yucca activities this year and rejected state requests for more. The state has sued, arguing it is entitled to more funding under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.

It also submitted a 34-page funding request to the NRC in May.

“Without financial assistance for Nevada, the Yucca Mountain licensing proceeding will be seriously compromised by Nevada’s inability to participate meaningfully and by the lopsided nature of the parties and their respective resources,” the petition said.

The Energy Department plans to submit an application to the NRC by the end of the year for a license to open the repository in 2010.

The state opposes the Yucca plan, and Bob Loux, state director of nuclear projects, has projected the cost of fighting the license application at $10 million a year for at least four years.

Included in the NRC request is $2 million to examine repository performance, $1.8 million to continue corrosion research, $800,000 for hydrology work and $600,000 for transportation analysis.

Nevada also seeks $4.75 million to pay Egan and his law firm, based in McLean, Va.