The Department of Energy put a 21-day hold on dismantling the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site near Las Vegas, giving federal judges a chance to review a legal challenge to shutting down the site.

DOE

WASHINGTON, D.C – The Department of Energy put a 21-day hold on dismantling the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site near Las Vegas, giving federal judges a chance to review a legal challenge to shutting down the site.

“We are confident that we have the legal authority to withdraw the application for the Yucca Mountain repository,” Department of Energy Stephanie Mueller said in a statement. “However, the parties need some time to prepare and the court needs time to consider the issues.”

In documents filed with the D.C. Circuit, attorneys from the DOE and the Department of Justice wrote that the agency “has agreed to stay for 21 days further action to effectuate a shutdown of the Yucca Mountain program in order to provide additional time for response and consideration of the motion for preliminary injunction.”

In the filing, the DOE promised to stop laying off employees, terminating contracts or telling contractors to stop work on the project through May 5 in order to give judges time to review Washington state’s motion for a preliminary injunction.

The hold keeps the agency under contract with site operator USA Repository Services.

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Source: Courthouse News Service
Photo: Department of Energy