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For Immediate Release: June 29, 2010
Contact: Robert J. Thormeyer, 202-898-9382, rthormeyer@naruc.org

Coen: Board Rejection of Yucca Withdrawal Request Gives Ratepayers a Voice

WASHINGTON—The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners issued the following statement after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board rejected a motion by the Department of Energy to withdraw its petition to construct a nuclear-waste repository in Yucca Mountain, Nev., and approved NARUC's petition to intervene in the case:

"Today's decision to continue the congressionally mandated review of the proposed Yucca Mountain repository is an important step forward. It sets the stage for a faster resolution of the nuclear waste problem.

We are also pleased the Board approved our petition to intervene in the case, giving ratepayers of nuclear utilities—the ones footing the bill—a voice in the process. These are positive developments. Still, it is not clear if the Administration will give this application the attention Congress specified.

As part of its effort to terminate the Yucca project, the Administration released key technical personnel that provided the analysis and supporting documentation for the 8,600-page petition. Further, the DOE budget for FY 2011 requests no appropriations for continuation of the program. Even if additional funding is made available, how do we know if the Administration will resume work on a project they oppose?

We would remind DOE that it continues collecting money from consumers of nuclear utilities to pay for this program. At the very least, this decision assures these consumers will glean all the lessons their investment in the Yucca repository licensing process can provide."

--NARUC President David Coen of Vermont

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NARUC is a non-profit organization founded in 1889 whose members include the governmental agencies that are engaged in the regulation of utilities and carriers in the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. NARUC's member agencies regulate telecommunications, energy, and water utilities. NARUC represents the interests of State public utility commissions before the three branches of the Federal government.

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