US GNEP programme dead, DOE confirms

15 April 2009

A US Department of Energy spokeswoman has confirmed that the US domestic component of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership has been cancelled.

"The Department has already decided not to continue the domestic GNEP program of the last administration," said DOE deputy press secretary Jen Stutsman in a statement on April 15. "The long-term fuel cycle research and development program will continue but not the near-term deployment of recycling facilities or fast reactors. The international component of GNEP is under interagency review."

The announcement comes less than a month after the closure of the public comment period on GNEP's draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. After the 14 public hearings and a comment period that was extended by 90 days because of the 'extensive interest', the DOE will have received about 15,000 comments.

But the cancellation of the GNEP programme puts the status of public input into the environmental impact statement into doubt. Normally, the comments would be recorded in a database, and analysed to determine whether a final draft of the PEIS would need further research or revision to reflect public opinion. This process would typically take at least five months. But now, "no decision has been made yet on whether a final GNEP PEIS will be completed," Stutsman said.

If a final PEIS were published in the US regulatory record the Federal Register, then the DOE might issue a Record of Decision about GNEP at least a month later. As of mid-April, no decision about the ROD has been made, Stutsman said.


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