The Nuclear Regulatory Commission\u2019s failure to make a final decision on the Department of Energy\u2019s license for a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada \u201cflaunts\u201d the 1983 Nuclear Waste Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled Aug. 13. The court decision was hailed as the final nail in the Yucca Mountain coffin by Friends of the Earth. Federal appeals judge Randolph Kavanaugh, representing the two-person majority of the three-member panel, wrote that by not finalizing the license process the commission is \u201csimply flouting the law. In light of the constitutional respect owed to Congress, and having fully exhausted the alternatives available to us, we now grant the petition for writ of mandamus against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.\u201d The writ forces the commission to make a final determination on a license for Yucca Mountain\u2014presumably a rejection\u2014because of strong political opposition to turning it into a waste repository for the nation\u2019s nuclear energy waste. The regulator\u2019s defense\u2014that Congressional leadership opposed approving a license for a dump to permanently house the stockpiles of nuclear waste stored at nuclear plants inside and outside California at Yucca Mountain\u2014carried little weight with the court. The panel was particularly critical that the commission failed to formally approve or disapprove a Department of Energy license although Congress authorized $11 million in 2011 to fund its work to reach a final decision. Federal regulators argued that it is unlikely that Congress will authorize additional funds for the licensing process. That argument also was rejected by the majority. \u201c[A]n agency may not rely on political guesswork about future congressional appropriations as a basis for violating existing legal mandates,\u201d it held. Dissenting Chief Judge Merrick Garland said the existing funds were insufficient to finalize the license process. Garland also complained that the majority ruling directs the commission to do \u201ca useless thing.\u201d He compared the court\u2019s order to \u201clittle more than ordering the commission to spend part of those funds unpacking its boxes, and the remainder packing them up again.\u201d According to Katherine Fuchs, Friends of the Earth nuclear subsidies campaigner, \u201cThe NRC will quickly spend the remaining funds and then Congress must go back to the drawing board to develop new laws on how highly radioactive spent fuel is managed.\u201d The case, No. 11-1271, was initiated by a suit brought by Washington and South Carolina, with Nevada intervening.