May 8, 2000


Edwin S. Lyman, Scientific Director

Paul L. Leventhal, President

Nuclear Control Institute

1000 Connecticut Avenue, NW Suite 804

Washington, DC 20036


Dear Dr. Lyman and Mr. Leventhal:


            I am writing in response to your letter of April 28 concerning the National Research Council report, “Electrometallurgical Techniques for DOE Spent Fuel Treatment: Final Report.”


            After reviewing the comments and suggestions made in your letter of April 28, we have concluded that the best course of action is to make the report---which was released to the public on April 18---widely available without restriction, so that it can be critically examined and judged by all on its merits.


            The central charge to the Committee on Electrometallurgical Techniques for DOE Spent Fuel Treatment was to examine the technical viability of electrometallurgical technique as a possible method for treatment of DOE spent nuclear fuel.  The committee has done so, as clearly delineated in its report.  Prior to the release of this report, the committee---composed of highly regarded experts---unanimously agreed to its contents, including all recommendations and findings.  Another group of experts then reviewed the report to ensure its independence and objectivity, and the committee responded to suggestions for improvement made by the reviewers.  Upon completion of this review process the report was publicly released.


            The National Academies’ most valuable contribution to the federal government and the public has been to provide unbiased, high-quality scientific advice on controversial, complex issues.  The process by which we conduct studies ensures our independence from government officials, lobbying groups, or others.  We believe that the Electrometallurgical Techniques report meets our standards of scientific quality, evidence, objectivity and independence.  We hope that you will evaluate this report based on its substance and that you will find it to be a useful contribution to the larger public debate on these important issues.







                                                                        Bruce Alberts


                                                                        National Academy of Sciences