Inspector general says DOE not biased toward Yucca Mountain
LAS VEGAS (AP) – A four-month investigation by the Energy Department’s inspector general has found no bias on the part of the DOE in the Yucca Mountain site selection process.
Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham issued a statement Monday saying the inspector general concluded ”that there was no evidence to substantiate the concern that bias compromised the integrity of the site-selection process.”
In the wake of the inspector general’s conclusion, Abraham said he remained committed to moving forward in a fair manner with the process to select a site to store the nation’s radioactive waste.
”I am today reaffirming our commitment to a site suitability evaluation process which is objective, unbiased and based on sound science, and conveying that reaffirmation of policy to all relevant parties.”
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who with former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson requested the investigation, called the report ”a mixed bag.” While it acknowledges that some have lost confidence in the site selection process, Reid said he was disappointed in the report’s overall findings.
”We have the General Accounting Office working on their own report,” he added.
The inspector general’s investigation was prompted by documents suggesting the DOE was collaborating with the nuclear industry to recommend Yucca Mountain as the site to store 77,000 tons of the nation’s high-level nuclear waste.
Yucca Mountain, the only site under study, is 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Federal law prohibits the DOE from taking sides in the selection process.
The inspector general absolved the DOE of any wrongdoing after conducting more than 200 interviews in the past four months, Abraham said.
He acknowledged that the DOE did not get a total clean bill of health.
The investigation, he said, found that some statements attached to DOE documents in the selection process ”could be viewed as suggesting a premature conclusion regarding suitability of Yucca Mountain.”
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