NRC is flipping the switch today on its new LSN Library -- making
nearly 3.7 million documents related to the adjudicatory hearing on the
proposed Yucca Mountain repository available to the public.
The library makes the discovery documents by various parties to the hearing public for the first time in five years, and with enhanced search capabilities. The new LSN Library is
part of the NRC’s online documents database, known as ADAMS. Although
the NRC staff’s discovery documents were already publicly available in
ADAMS, those materials have been incorporated into the LSN Library to
permit “one-stop” searching for Yucca-related technical information.
the genesis of the new library: The NRC created the Licensing Support
Network, or LSN, back in 2001, years before the Department of Energy
submitted its application in 2008 for construction authorization for a
high-level waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The network was designed
to allow easy access to the volumes of discovery documents that would
support various aspects of the hearing.
LSN was a database that required participants to house their documents
on their own servers that were accessible for “crawling” by LSN software
maintained by the NRC. This software created a document index.
Participants and the public could search the index and generate a link
to relevant documents on the participants’ home servers.
LSN worked smoothly through the early stages of the hearing. But then
the Department of Energy shut down the Yucca Mountain Project in 2010,
and the NRC staff proceeded with an “orderly closure” of its review of
DOE’s license application. As part of the orderly closure, an Atomic
Safety and Licensing Board Panel’s Construction Authorization Board
suspended the hearing in September 2011. The LSN was closed down the
previous month, with the CAB directing the parties (other than the NRC
staff, whose documents were already public in ADAMS) to provide all
their LSN documents to the NRC’s Office of the Secretary.
in August 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit ordered the NRC to resume its review of DOE’s Yucca Mountain
application, using previously appropriated money from the Nuclear Waste
Commission directed the staff to finish and publish its Safety
Evaluation Report, the main technical review of the application. The
staff published the final volumes in January 2015. Then the Commission
directed the staff to prepare a supplement to DOE’s Environmental Impact
Statement, covering certain groundwater issues that were not fully
analyzed in the EIS. The staff issued the final supplement this past
the Commission directed that if there was enough money remaining, the
LSN documents should be made publicly available. As explained in a paper published August 12, that’s the work being completed now with activation of the LSN Library.
library is significant for three reasons. First, it meets federal
records requirements. Second, the library again provides public access
to the previously-disclosed discovery materials should the Yucca
Mountain adjudicatory hearing resume. Third, should the Yucca Mountain
hearing not resume, the library will provide an important source of
technical information for any future high-level waste repository
And of course, the library helps us meet the NRC’s goal of being an open and transparent regulator.