D.C. Circuit won’t rehear Yucca Mountain issue

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has declined Nevada’s request for the full court to reconsider a recent decision by a three-judge panel that effectively ordered the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to restart license proceedings for the Yucca Mountain spent fuel repository in Nevada.

In late September, Nevada filed a petition asking the full appeals court to rehear the three-judge panel’s two-to-one decision. On Oct. 28, the D.C. Circuit rejected the request.

“Upon consideration of intervenor’s petition for rehearing en banc, the response thereto, and the absence of a request by any member of the court for a vote, it is ORDERED that the petition be denied,” the D.C. Circuit said in a one-paragraph ruling.

In August the three-judge panel granted a “writ of mandamus” compelling NRC to promptly continue with consideration of the Department of Energy (DOE) application to build a high-level radioactive waste repository in Yucca Mountain, Nev.

Now that appeals court rehearing has been rejected, it is possible Nevada could still ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the issue. The case is No. 11-1271; In re: Aiken County, et al.

In related litigation, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) is hoping that the D.C. Circuit will also agree to suspend certain nuclear waste fees that nuclear operators have been paying in order for DOE to take control of waste from nuclear power plants across the nation.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.