LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Nuclear Regulatory Commission legal panel says the federal Department of Energy can't withdraw its application to build a national nuclear waste dump in Nevada.
Millions of gallons of liquid waste at the Hanford site was to be turned into glass logs and stored at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
The NRC's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board ruled that Congress directed the DOE to file an application for the Yucca Mountain repository, and directed the NRC to consider it.
It says letting the department "single-handedly derail" the process would be "contrary to congressional intent."
The NRC legal panel held hearings on the issue earlier this month in Las Vegas. Neither Nevada nor DOE officials have said yet whether they will appeal.
Nevada opposes the plan that's been studied since the 1980s to bury the nation's spent nuclear fuel 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.