Roles of the Federal Agencies
Yucca Mountain Standards
Several federal agencies are responsible for one or more aspects of the proposed geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada:
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Department of Energy
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission
- Department of Transportation
- Mine Safety and Health Administration of the Department of Labor
The responsibilities of each agency is described briefly below. If you have questions or need more information, please contact us.
Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for developing site-specific standards for Yucca Mountain, Nevada. These standards protect public health and the environment from harmful exposure to the radioactive waste which would be stored and disposed in the proposed underground geologic repository. EPAs standards address all environmental pathways: air, ground water, and soil.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is responsible for implementing the standards developed by EPA. NRC is also responsible for determining whether DOE can meet the standards, which is a prerequisite to opening the repository.
Department of Energy
The U.S. Department of Energy is responsible for the construction, management, and operation of the potential geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
DOE follows Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations to ensure the safety and health of workers on-site. DOE is working with the Department of Interiors U.S. Geological Survey on site characterization issues and activities.
If the site is licensed and approved to accept radioactive waste, DOE would obtain a license, construct, operate, monitor, and close the repository.
Before any waste could be transported to the site, DOE would route the carriers using Department of Transportation and Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations.
- General information about DOE's Yucca Mountain Repository
- DOE's Transporting Nuclear Waste web site
This site describes DOE's program for developing
shipping caskets, complying with federal transportation
regulations, and providing assistance to emergency
response organizations in states through which shipments
to Yucca Mountain will pass.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is responsible for determining whether DOE will receive the necessary licenses to dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in the potential Yucca Mountain repository.
Now that EPA's standards are finalized, NRC will revise its regulations to be consistent with EPA's standards.
If the Yucca Mountain site is approved to accept waste, shipments by NRC licensees to the site would be made in accordance with NRC and DOT transportation regulations. NRC is the approving authority for safeguard and security (theft and sabotage protection) of spent-fuel transportation.
Regulatory Commission, High-Level Waste
This page describes the scope and basis of NRC's
regulation of radioactive waste and the Yucca
Department of Transportation
If waste transportation to Yucca Mountain is authorized, the Department of Transportation would be charged with ensuring that waste carriers comply with routing regulations and guidelines. Radioactive waste carrier drivers must be trained and retrained each year to tackle a variety of transport conditions and situations, including rough terrain and severe weather conditions. Drivers must complete a First Responders Course, to help them prepare for incident prevention and response. Additional emergency response support is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Administration which assists state and local governments in developing emergency response plans.
of Transportation, Hazardous Materials
This site describes the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration's role in regulating the transport of
Mine Safety and Health Administration/ Department of Labor
The Mine Safety and Health Administration of the Department of Labor is responsible for ensuring the health and safety of underground workers at the Yucca Mountain facility. MSHA provides technical assistance and consultation services and conducts on-site safety and health visits at the facility.