The Environmental Protection Agency expects to issue new radiation standards by the end of 2006 for the planned nuclear waste repository under Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, William Wehrum, acting assistant administrator for air and radiation, told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on March 1.

EPA last year proposed limiting exposure outside the repository to 15 millirem over 10,000 years, rising to 350 millirem within 1 million years. In 2004 a federal appeals court rejected an earlier EPA proposal, which didn’t extend past 10,000 years.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) predicts further lawsuits. She says EPA’s extension of the time period and increase in exposure level won’t survive a court challenge.