Department of the Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Tina Kreisher
For Immediate Release: March 16, 2005 (202) 208-6416

Statement by US Geological Survey Director Chip Groat

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Department of Energy has notified the Department of the Interior that e-mails by United States Geological Survey employees have raised serious questions about the review process of scientific studies done six years ago on the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository located in Nevada.

The employees studying water infiltration at the Repository, during the 1998-2000 period, are alleged to have committed improprieties after moving into the quality assurance phase imposed by the Department of Energy to begin the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's licensing process. The e-mails indicated that employees involved in studies of water infiltration and climate may have falsified documentation of their work.

USGS Director Chip Groat has issued the following statement:

"Serious questions have been raised about quality assurance practices performed in 1998-2000 by USGS scientists on the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository project for the Department of Energy. Two actions are underway to investigate these issues. First, I have referred the matter to the Inspector General for action. Second, I have initiated an internal review of the allegations. Once the facts are known, appropriate actions will be taken. USGS remains committed to maintaining scientific excellence."




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