US Department of Energy (DoE) attempts to keep the Yucca Mountain draft licence application private are set to be foiled after a ruling by the Atomic Safety Licensing Board.
The ruling stipulated that the department must reveal the draft document to state authorities before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) receives the final version.
The ruling refers to a draft licence application by Bechtel, the project's main contractor, which the DoE intended to turn into a final application by the end of 2004.
In response to the requests by Nevada, the department argued that the draft was not a final document. However, Nevada insisted that once Bechtel had finished the draft and department management began reviewing it, it qualifies under commission rules as a document that should be made public.
Access to the draft will allow opponents of the project to preview the design for the below-ground repository and above-ground staging facilities. It will also show how the department plans to meet the Environmental Protection Agency's two-tiered, 1 million-year radiation safety standard.
The NRC is considering an appeal against the ruling.