In 1982, Congress established a national policy
to solve the problem of nuclear waste disposal.
This policy is a federal law called
Nuclear Waste Policy Act
(NWPA). The NWPA made the U.S. Department of
Energy (DOE) responsible for finding a site,
building, and operating a deep geologic
(underground) repository to dispose of the
nation's high-level radioactive waste (HLW) and
spent nuclear fuel (SNF). The disposal
capacity of the repository is currently limited
by law to 70,000 metric tons of heavy metal
(uranium or equivalent).
1983, DOE selected nine locations in six states for
consideration as potential
repository sites. The nine sites were studied and
results of these preliminary studies
were reported in 1985. Based on these reports, the
president approved three sites for intensive
scientific study called site characterization. The
three sites were Hanford, Washington; Deaf Smith
County, Texas; and Yucca Mountain, Nevada. In
1987, Congress amended the Nuclear Waste Policy Act
and directed DOE to study only Yucca Mountain.
Nuclear Waste Repository Project Office (NWRPO)
County, as the local jurisdiction that would host
the repository and one of the 10 Affected Units of
Local Government (AULG), has certain rights of
participation related to DOE activities occurring
within its boundaries. These rights, which
include oversight of DOE activities, are defined
under the terms of the NWPA, as amended.
Nye County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) established a program in the summer of
1983 to monitor and assess the DOE efforts to find a repository site. As DOEs site characterization activities moved forward, Nye County broadened
its technical oversight of the Yucca Mountain Project. In 1993, the County hired a
full-time On-site Representative and established the Independent
Scientific Investigations Program (ISIP).
program gained formal status in 1987 when the Nye
County BOCC established the Nuclear Waste Repository
Project Office (NWRPO) to ensure that Nye County
policies and actions regarding the YMP are conducted
to protect the health, welfare, and economic
well-being of the County's residents and its
environment, and to evaluate and take appropriate
actions to mitigate possible impacts of the
repository, if it is constructed and licensed to
operate in Nye County. Consistent with this
direction, the NWRPO has conducted a variety of
technical and programmatic oversight activities to
ensure that the County's rights and interests are
appropriately represented to DOE, as well as
regulatory agencies and oversight boards.
The Nye County NWRPO, under the direction of the Nye County BOCC, is
a dynamic, service and community oriented organization, which is
committed to its mission and to implementing
the BOCC's policies
regarding nuclear waste activities in Nye County.
Community needs and values, environmental protection, effective partnerships, and
meaningful opportunities for public involvement form the framework for Nye County's
vision. The NWRPO has a strong history of teaming with the public, the Nye County Board of
Commissioners, the State of Nevada, federal agencies, local governments and technical
experts, to work together to solve problems.
Nye County NWRPO is located in Pahrump, Nevada.
NWRPO also maintains an office in DOE's Yucca
Mountain Project Office in Las Vegas, as part of an
agreement with DOE to exercise the County's on-site
oversight rights under the NWPA.