More on Yucca Mountain

Remember in February, when President Obama decided to cease any further work on the construction of America’s only long term nuclear waste site at Yucca Mountain?  The President’s decision caused Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to withdraw the application to have the facility licensed.  As it turns out, that may not be happening after all.

Yesterday, a three judge panel of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board ruled that the Secretary’s actions were illegal because a 1982 law passed by Congress required the Department of Energy to move forward with the Yucca Mountain project.

The law “does not give the secretary the discretion to substitute his policy for the one established by Congress,” the panel ruled.

Undaunted, a spokesperson for the Department of Energy has said that the Department,

remains confident that we have the legal authority to withdraw the application for the Yucca Mountain repository…we believe the administrative board’s decision is wrong…

The panel’s ruling, however, does seem to make perfect sense.  The executive branch of the government can’t ignore laws passed by Congress simply because it doesn’t like them. 

Then again… see Arizona.

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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. Dimsdale on June 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    It seems like everything falls under the aegis of "I won".  It is looking like the lefties, with the Congress and the media in their back pocket, are confident that they can pass edicts rather than legislation.   Separation of powers, anyone?


    Again, the Constitution is stepped on.

  2. sammy22 on July 1, 2010 at 5:24 am

    Having the facility licensed and having spent nuclear fuel stored there, are very different kettles of fish.

  3. Law-AbidingCitizen on July 1, 2010 at 7:13 am

    The workers at Yucca Mountain must not have been Union workers. Otherwise, Obama would never have tampered with the work going on.

    Once again, SURFACE OVER SUBSTANCE! "And, the beat goes on . . ."

  4. PatRiot on July 1, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Hmmm… Seems the Dems are caught up in contradictions again.  1.  Demand the world to round up nuclear weapons and nuclear material for fear of terrorism.  2.  Keep the spent fuel at each of the 100+ US nuclear power plants instead of one very big, very expensive(but paid for) cave with one exit/ entrance. 

  5. sammy22 on July 1, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Spent fuel and nuclear weapons are barely related, if related at all. Moving spent fuel to Yucca Mountain is not something that I'll see in my lifetime (and possibly will never happen).

  6. Tim-in-Alabama on July 1, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Storing spent nuclear fuel in Yucca Mountain makes sense. It must be stopped at all costs.

    • Dimsdale on July 2, 2010 at 7:08 pm

      Sounds like you are turning into a lefty, Tim!  😉


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