Nuclear waste site review irks lawmakers

June 16, 2011 at 8:50 AM

WASHINGTON, June 16 (UPI) -- A U.S. House subcommittee on energy accused the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of deceptive behavior regarding a nuclear waste site.

NRC Inspector General Hubert Bell in a report last week said NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczcko halted a study on the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository without informing his colleagues.

Jaczcko is a former adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who is a fierce opponent of sending the nation's nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain.

U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and ranking member of the subcommittee, said Jaczcko's actions were "a legitimate concern and one that should be examined."

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., and subcommittee chairman, said the NRC chairman's misleading actions were a shocking neglect of duty.

"There is outright malfeasance," he said in a statement. "The report is replete with instances of Chairman Jaczcko deliberately misleading both his fellow commissioners and senior NRC staff."

Shimkus in early June said a decision by U.S. President Barack Obama to scrap the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository was illegal.

Lawmakers in 1987 picked the site for the nation's nuclear waste. After more than 10 years and $15 billion, Obama and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu abandoned the idea.

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