OIG Report: Yucca Mountain Records Retention

Stephen Dingbaum
Assistant Inspector General for Audits


oigAn Office of the Inspector General audit that looked at the NRC’s policy and procedures on document management related to the high level waste repository at Yucca Mountain is now available.

The audit set out to determine if agency policy and procedures on document management are compliant with federal requirements and provide reasonable assurance that documentation related to the review of the Yucca Mountain facility has been appropriately managed and retained.

In 2008, DOE submitted a license application to the NRC to build the repository at Yucca Mountain, in Nevada. DOE later filed a motion to withdraw the application in March 2010. NRC staff was subsequently directed to prepare the orderly closeout of their technical review.

The OIG audit report indicates that all records were retained; however, NRC was out of compliance with the agency’s records management policy during the period that the licensing process was suspended. OIG notes the NRC has recently become compliant with its records management policy; therefore, OIG makes no recommendations.

The NRC’s OIG is an independent, objective office tasked with auditing NRC programs and operations with a focus on — among other things — detecting fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement.


Author: Moderator

Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

12 thoughts on “OIG Report: Yucca Mountain Records Retention”

  1. Three million documents were publicly available and widely accessible via the agency operated LSN for 11 years. Those three million documents were then turned over to NRC and became maintained and secured by SECY – – but not publicly accessible for the extended period of time it took to resolve paying to enter them to the ADAMS system. The agency then paid to convert and load the three million documents, and once converted to ADAMS format they were made non-publicly available and non-accessible until such time as a small portion of them used as references in the SER will again be made publicly available. I think I understand. As I understand it, then, any documents NOT referenced, but which may be useful to validate or challenge the SER, will still be non-accessible to the public and to the parties to the licensing. And the NRC is going to encourage external party training in the publicly accessible ADAMS while withholding access to the non-used background documentation.

  2. The records in SECY were not entered into ADAMS (please see bottom of page 5 to page 6), and did not have a NARA-approved disposition schedule (please see Matters for Consideration 3 on page 9). However, NRC was required to maintain and secure the records in SECY, per Management Directive 3.53 (MD 3.53), which indicates that documentary materials received by an agency of the U.S. Government in their normal course of duties are considered agency records. MD 3.53 requires that agency records be maintained and properly secured. For the specifics of MD 3.53, please see page 4 of the audit report under “Records Management Requirements.” Since NRC received the LSN records as a result of an Atomic Safety Licensing Board Panel Order, the records were received as a result of the agency’s normal duties. Please see Footnote 9 on the bottom page 5 of the audit report.

    OIG raised a Matter for Consideration (#2) regarding the training availability for internal and external stakeholders of the ADAMS LSN collection library. After the Safety Evaluation Report (SER) is finalized and available to the public, the sources cited in the SER will be removed from non-public status, to public status. Please see Footnote 13 on the bottom of pages 7 and 8 of the audit report.

    Stephen Dingbaum

  3. With this and other approvals and documents, who is responsible of any and all future damages caused by the waste materials, including third party damages?

  4. The records received from all the parties to the proceeding were delivered to the HLW docket maintained by the Office of the Secretary. They were delivered on hard drives or other hard storage media and custody was maintained by SECY. If the record material was not thereafter entered into the Official Agency Record system (ADAMS), however, the documents were not under control of the defined and NARA-approved system of records. Perhaps one issue not adequately addressed by the OIG report was exactly why they were recommending document access training to the HLW parties because the report clearly indicates the documents will be placed in the non-publicly accessible portion of the system that is available only to NRC staff.

  5. So is this going to over ride any discussion made before by all or any others.

  6. OIG started this audit in July 2013, before the August 2013 United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Writ of Mandamus, and subsequent Commission Order in November 2013. OIG was determining whether the records would be available and properly maintained, if and when the licensing process was continued. The records were not maintained according to the agency’s own policy during the period of time that the licensing process was suspended; however, all records were available. For specifics regarding the compliance issues that OIG found, please see page 5 of the audit report under, “Records Management and Maintenance Weaknesses During the License Suspension Period.”

    The records were loaded into the NRC’s official record-keeping system when the technical safety review was required to be completed. Consequently, the agency came into compliance with its own records management policy. As of report publication, all Yucca Mountain documentation was available to complete the technical safety review and all documentation is now maintained in NRC’s official record-keeping system.

    Stephen Dingbaum

  7. Is this article trying to say that the NRC’s record retention policy is on par with the IRS? Or is this another case of the industry has to do what the government (NRC) says but they (the NRC) can do what ever they like because it meets “federal requirements”? Is the industry supposed to keep records the NRC doesn’t? Sure seems like it and explains why I was asked to “Please provide documentation of that NRC letter.”

  8. This article is not very clear and should be rewritten using the above comments as a guide to what is needed!

  9. I have the same thoughts, before reading your statement I was confused as hell as to what is been conveyed here. It seems like double talk to me, was a bad decision but now good for some reason. U.S.NRC please elaborate on this, may be you are assuming all have a good memory of past events. Thanks

  10. I would like to have comments on what specifically was not in compliance.

  11. This very limited audit scope does not seem worthy of the OIG?! They looked only at records management. The OIG should be looking at much bigger picture issues concerning high level waste disposal. Is the limited scope because the audit is being conducted by the NRC OIG? According to this, DOE first submitted and then withdrew a license application for the site. Does the NRC then feel it has no obligation to find a suitable central location to store reactor high level waste either temporarily or permanently? As you know this dangerous high level waste has been piling up at approx.100 sites all over the US. This makes these sites an even more tempting terrorist target. The NRC should therefore be taking the lead in resolving this national security issue. A suitable audit should be conducted to find out who is doing the foot-dragging on this important issue. Personally I think that both the NRC and the DOE are being hamstrung by a President and an administration that does not put the safety of this country and its citizens first.

  12. This statement to me is confusing, “The OIG audit report indicates that all records were retained; however, NRC was out of compliance with the agency’s records management policy during the period that the licensing process was suspended. OIG notes the NRC has recently become compliant with its records management policy; therefore, OIG makes no recommendations.”
    So the NRC was out of compliance yet all records were maintained and the NRC is now in compliance. What is this-no harm no foul? What specifically was “temporarily” wrong with the agency’s record management policy

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