Nuclear Waste:

Extensive Process to Site Low-Level Waste Disposal Facility in Nebraska

RCED-91-149: Published: Jul 5, 1991. Publicly Released: Aug 5, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the selection of a site for a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility within a 5-state area, focusing on: (1) the contractor's site-selection process; (2) the scientific merit of the geological and hydrologic assessments of the candidate sites; (3) Nebraska's statutory policy requiring community support for the proposed facility at the chosen Boyd County site; and (4) the provision of financial protection to the public against injury or property damages that might result from operation of the proposed facility.

GAO found that: (1) the detailed geologic and hydrologic assessments at the three candidate sites appeared to be technically correct; (2) the site-screening process included technical records reviews, on-site assessments, and consideration of such nontechnical factors as public values and concerns, community support, and identification of available land; (3) although initially supported by the Boyd County community, the county board of supervisors withdrew its support for the project after it determined that the contractor was unwilling or unable to meet board conditions; (4) the contractor maintains that it complied with state policy to obtain community support for the proposed facility, but the issue remains open and the state legislature is considering the need for a county vote to address this issue; (5) the contractor will obtain nuclear facility liability insurance and other commercially available insurance as required by the state; and (6) due to concerns about major liability claims, Nebraska enacted legislation requiring all states in the compact to share in the risk of third-party liability.