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NWRPO Program Description

  Mission Statement
  Nye County Policy



In 1982, Congress established a national policy to solve the problem of nuclear waste disposal. This policy is a federal law called
the 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).

Sites Considered                 

In 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.

Nye County Nuclear Waste Repository Project Office (NWRPO)

Nye 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.

The 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 DOE’s 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).

The 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.

The 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.


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   NWRPO.  All Rights Reserved.                                                                                                     Last Updated on 06/25/2010