A March 10, 2011 letter signed by Science Committee Chairman Ralph M. Hall, Texas Republican, Vice Chairman James Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin Republican, Investigations subcommittee Chairman Paul Broun, Georgia Republican, and Energy and Environment subcommittee Chairman Andy Harris, Maryland Republican, suggests science has taken a backseat to politics in NRC’s review of Yucca Mountain.
And internal NRC documents dated February 4, 2011, provided to The Daily Caller, seem to support their belief.
Dr. Janet Kotra, the deputy office director responsible for drafting the project’s safety evaluation, known as the Safety Evaluation Report (SER), wrote in an internal memo that Jaczko unilaterally instructed his staff to “move to orderly closure of NRC’s Yucca Mountain program.” This is despite the fact the Nuclear Waste Policy Act remains in effect and the full commission has yet to rule on whether the Department of Energy can legally withdraw the license application.
The “orderly closure” has been something less than orderly, according to her supervisor King Stablein, who suggests Jaczko’s interference caused the closure of NRC’s Yucca Mountain safety review to be full of “confusion, chaos and anguish” among staffers, many of whom had worked on the Yucca Mountain project for over two decades or more.(I left the first graf in just to demonstrate that Jim Sensenbrenner still does valuable service.)