Yucca Mountain Documents Now Publicly Available – In a New Online Library

David McIntyre
Public Affairs Officer

The NRC is flipping the switch today on its new LSN Library — making nearly 3.7 million documents related to the adjudicatory hearing on the proposed Yucca Mountain repository available to the public.

yuccatunnelThe library makes the discovery documents by various parties to the hearing public for the first time in five years, and with enhanced search capabilities. The new LSN Library is part of the NRC’s online documents database, known as ADAMS. Although the NRC staff’s discovery documents were already publicly available in ADAMS, those materials have been incorporated into the LSN Library to permit “one-stop” searching for Yucca-related technical information.

Here’s the genesis of the new library: The NRC created the Licensing Support Network, or LSN, back in 2001, years before the Department of Energy submitted its application in 2008 for construction authorization for a high-level waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The network was designed to allow easy access to the volumes of discovery documents that would support various aspects of the hearing.

The LSN was a database that required participants to house their documents on their own servers that were accessible for “crawling” by LSN software maintained by the NRC. This software created a document index. Participants and the public could search the index and generate a link to relevant documents on the participants’ home servers.

The LSN worked smoothly through the early stages of the hearing. But then the Department of Energy shut down the Yucca Mountain Project in 2010, and the NRC staff proceeded with an “orderly closure” of its review of DOE’s license application. As part of the orderly closure, an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel’s Construction Authorization Board suspended the hearing in September 2011. The LSN was closed down the previous month, with the CAB directing the parties (other than the NRC staff, whose documents were already public in ADAMS) to provide all their LSN documents to the NRC’s Office of the Secretary.

Then in August 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered the NRC to resume its review of DOE’s Yucca Mountain application, using previously appropriated money from the Nuclear Waste Fund.

The Commission directed the staff to finish and publish its Safety Evaluation Report, the main technical review of the application. The staff published the final volumes in January 2015. Then the Commission directed the staff to prepare a supplement to DOE’s Environmental Impact Statement, covering certain groundwater issues that were not fully analyzed in the EIS. The staff issued the final supplement this past May.

Additionally, the Commission directed that if there was enough money remaining, the LSN documents should be made publicly available. As explained in a paper published August 12, that’s the work being completed now with activation of the LSN Library.

The library is significant for three reasons. First, it meets federal records requirements. Second, the library again provides public access to the previously-disclosed discovery materials should the Yucca Mountain adjudicatory hearing resume. Third, should the Yucca Mountain hearing not resume, the library will provide an important source of technical information for any future high-level waste repository licensing proceeding.

And of course, the library helps us meet the NRC’s goal of being an open and transparent regulator.

A Road Trip through the NRC Website

Ivonne Couret
Public Affairs Officer

homepageIt’s summer, so you’re probably going on a road trip somewhere. While perhaps not as interesting as a jaunt to Yosemite or Niagara Falls, a “road trip” through the NRC website won’t involve a lot of bickering in the back seat or repeated stops at gas station rest rooms. So here we go.

First stop is the subject area tabs — NUCLEAR REACTORS, NUCLEAR MATERIALS, RADIOACTIVE WASTE, NUCLEAR SECURITY and SAFEGUARDS, PUBLIC MEETINGS and INVOLVEMENT, NRC LIBRARY, and ABOUT NRC. This is where you will find the links to web pages for more information on NRC programs and current regulatory activities. These subject area tabs aim to be a source of general information organized by topic in an accessible fashion.

Second stop is the FACILITY LOCATOR. This is where you can find facilities near you by NRC region, or state, including operating power reactors, nuclear material facilities, research and test reactor sites, major nuclear fuel facilities licensed by the NRC, as well as all kinds of sites undergoing decommissioning. These locations are listed by state or by site name.

Third stop is the link to ADAMS, the Agencywide Documents Access and Management System, the official recordkeeping system. This is where you can access our online libraries or collections of publicly available documents. Here you can also find agency correspondence to Congress or plant reports.

Fourth stop is the PUBLIC MEETING CALENDAR. This page allows you to search both currently scheduled meetings and previously held meetings dating back to October 1, 2003.For example, if you want to see a list of meetings for the next month in your state, enter a start date and an end date and select your state from the drop down list. You can also find copies of past presentations and agendas.

Fifth stop is the COMMISSION MEETING WEBCASTS. This page allows you to view live or archived Commission meeting webcasts, or other NRC meeting webcasts hosted on the NRC webcast portal. So here you can watch meetings and participate virtually in the regulatory process from the convenience of your computer.

The final stop is a special overlooked spot –the WHAT’S NEW section. Here you can find direct links to recent regulatory documents posted on our website. You can find them listed by the date added to the site in chronological order and as well as past month and year, such as the April 24, 2015, posting of  NUREG/BR-0523 Mitigating Strategies: Safely Responding to Extreme Events.

There is still so much more to discover. Try using the upgraded search tool to find other areas. And we’re updating the Student Corner section soon, so stay tuned. We hope you, enjoy both your real summer road trip and your trip through the NRC website Thanks for visiting!