Yucca Mountain Repository Assessment Office

Inyo County has been participating in licensing activities being conducted by Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) concerning the proposed Repository for High Level Nuclear Waste at Yucca Mountain for many years.  In 2008, the NRC issued and Adoption Determination Report (ADR) which concluded that the Department of Energy’s (DOE) final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which addresses the impact of the proposed Repository did not adequately address all the potential impacts on groundwater or from surface discharges of groundwater – in part due to the County’s concerns – and required the DOE to prepare a Supplemental EIS (SEIS) analyzing groundwater impacts.  In accordance with applicable law, DOE elected to not prepare the required SEIS, but instead, requested the NRC to prepare it and submitted an Analysis of Postclosure Groundwater Impactsreport in July 2009 to the NRC.  In October 2014, DOE issued an updated Analysis of Postclosure Groundwater Impacts report, which provided technical updates to the 2009 report and information necessary to allow for NR to prepare the required SEIS.  

The NRC released the draft SEIS for public comment in August of 2015, and the final SEIS May 2016. The SEIS supplements DOE’s 2002 Final EIS for the Repository and the subsequent 2008 Final SEIS, as required by the NRC’s 2008 ADR.  The SEIS describes the affected environment and assesses potential impacts with respect to contaminant releases that could be transported through the volcanic-alluvial aquifer in Fortymile Wash and the Amargosa Desert, and to the Furnace Creek/Middle Basin area of Death Valley, over a one-million-year period on the aquifer, soils, ecology, and public health, as well as the potential for disproportionate impacts on minority or low-income populations and cumulative effects.  The draft SEIS finds that all of the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts would be small.