NRC postpones weapons nuke waste meeting
August 30, 2006
By Ben Lando

U.S. nuclear regulators have postponed a Thursday meeting with the U.S. Energy Department in an ongoing dispute over the disposal of nuclear weapons waste.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission notified the Energy Department Wednesday that it would delay Thursday’s meeting because it didn’t meet the required 10-day public notification of open meetings.

The sit-down was requested by the Energy Department to air and resolve complaints it has over the NRC’s proposed guidelines for how to dispose of a portion of nuclear waste from U.S. nuclear weapons manufacturing, NRC spokesman David McIntyre said.

At issue is how much oversight the National Defense Authorization Act of fiscal year 2005 gave the NRC over the Energy Department’s plans to determine whether the waste at two facilities is high- or low-level radioactive byproduct.

The Energy Department wants the negotiations to be private, but NRC Chairman Dale Klein has said it should now be in the sphere of public debate because Energy Department complaints were made part of the pubic comment of NRC’s proposed Standard Review Plan, instead of internally.

The Standard Review Plan is the NRC’s proposed guidelines for “consultation and monitoring” of the Energy Department’s disposal plan, McIntyre wrote in an e-mail to United Press International.

A new meeting date has not been set.