Savannah River Site's Citizens Advisory Board expressed its approval of the U.S. Court of Appeals' decision to continue the licensing process for the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository.

After federal funding for Yucca was cut in 2009, talk began that Savannah River Site could become a potential interim facility for nuclear waste. However, last week's ruling ordered that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission spend $11.1 million to begin reviewing Yucca as a spent fuel facility.

“The CAB has always believed that the abandonment of the Yucca Mountain Repository for nuclear wastes was a faulty policy driven by local Nevada politics rather than technical reasons,” said Don Bridges, chairman of the Citizens Advisory Board. “We are happy to learn that, as expected, the licensing process for Yucca is being restarted.”

According to U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., the state of South Carolina has invested more than $1.3 billion in the Yucca Mountain project over the last three decades.

While the $11.1 million will be used in the early stages, larger amounts of funding will be required if the Yucca project is to be successful. During a two-day, bimonthly meeting in July, the advisory board reinforced its approval of Yucca by voting against nuclear spent fuel potentially coming to SRS.

“Unfortunately, much time has been lost along with technical information and resources; restarting the process now will be delayed longer than the three years the licensing process was delayed,” Bridges added. “It is also necessary that Congress approve the funding to continue the licensing process. Despite the delays, the CAB is gratified that this step in the process has been completed.”

The Citizens Advisory Board is a part of the Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board. The board provides input on environmental management issues including clean-up standards, waste management and disposition, future land use and long-term stewardship, risk assessment and management, and clean-up science and technology activities.

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard news team and joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a journalism degree in May 2012.