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NEWS: NV Panel Says Yucca Mountain Project Can Be Killed

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posted on Feb, 7 2005 @ 11:38 AM
Due to budgetary constraints and legal setbacks, the Yucca Mountain nuclear dump is on its way to be dumped itself. A report from the Nevada Commission on Nuclear Projects was presented to the Nevada State Legislature immediately prior to the 2005 season. This report states that the Yucca Mountain project is vulnerable and can be "killed," and cites Department of Energy delays after a federal court rejected proposed radiation standards for Yucca Mountain.
A report by a state board says a proposed southern Nevada nuclear waste dump is on the "verge of collapse" because of legal and budgetary setbacks.

The Nevada Commission on Nuclear Projects, which oversees the state's fight against the dump at Yucca Mountain, calls the project a "dead man walking" and expresses optimism that it can be killed. The report was delivered to Governor Guinn and the Legislature just before Monday's start of the 2005 session. The panel is urging legislators to continue funding the state's anti-Yucca Mountain efforts.

An Energy Department spokesman disputes the report, while a Nuclear Energy Institute consultant says it's designed to prod lawmakers to continue spending on the fight.

The 32-page report recounts DOE delays after a federal court last year rejected proposed radiation standards for the dump. It says the state is making inroads against Yucca Mountain because of the aggressiveness of its lawyers and Energy Department missteps.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Of course, this is not the end for Yucca Mountain, but it is a big step towards the end. As a person who lives in Nevada, I am overjoyed to hear this news and sincerely hope this is the beginning of the end for Yucca Mountain.

[edit on 7-2-2005 by Banshee]

posted on Feb, 7 2005 @ 12:46 PM

posted on Feb, 7 2005 @ 01:10 PM
Man, where the heck is the overflowing nuclear waste going to go? Yucca was 'the best' (but not perfect) site available. Now a secondary site is going to be used? There needs to be some sort of national site to use, are the constituents of every state going to knock it down? Or is the US going to have to switch over to more reliance on coal and other fossil fuel power production plants?

posted on Feb, 7 2005 @ 01:38 PM
Some problems with Yucca Mountain from

There are 33 known geologic faults at or in the near vicinity of the Yucca Mountain site. In the past 20 years, there have been over 600 recorded seismic events of Magnitude 2.5 or greater within 50 miles of the site, the largest of which was a Magnitude 5.6 earthquake in 1992, known as the Little Skull Mountain earthquake. It was centered about 8 miles from the site, causing damage to DOE's Yucca Mountain project office at the Nevada Test Site (NTS).

The hydrologic picture at Yucca Mountain is complex and not well understood. The hydrology of Yucca Mountain consists of a thick, dry or unsaturated zone and a saturated zone, i.e., the water table below. The site was initially selected because, in part, the actual repository location would be in the dry, unsaturated zone, well above the water table. This was thought to be an advantage over other sites as they were all located beneath the water table. [Now] DOE has determined that water moves rapidly through the dry, unsaturated zone by the discovery of an isotope of chlorine [36] at the repository horizon [800 feet below the surface] that is a residue from the above ground weapons testing program carried out in the Pacific Ocean in the 1950s. DOE had previously estimated that it would take many thousands of years for water to reach the repository horizon from the ground surface.

Water is now recognized to move very rapidly in the saturated zone and is capable of reaching the accessible environment in less than 500 years.

more problems from

On July 9, 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled on challenges regarding radiation standards and design flaws in the site. While several of the challenges were ultimately dismissed, the Court did vacate a rule set by the EPA regarding radiation standards. The Court held in its ruling that EPA established a 10,000 year groundwater radiation standard for the Yucca Mountain Project that failed to match the findings of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), as is required by law. NAS scientists found that peak doses of radiation would not occur until 300,000 years after the repository opened, and that the waste would remain a danger to humans and the environment for even a greater span of time.

there's already a lot of waste out there and a lot more to come

Approximately 20 percent of our nation’s energy comes from nuclear power plants. There are over 100 nuclear reactors, already having produced nearly 80,000 tons of waste, yet not one adequate solution as to what we will do with this waste yet exists. The most toxic part of the waste from nuclear plants, plutonium, will remain a threat to the environment for almost 250,000 years and should be isolated to keep it out of our air and water. Despite this knowledge, there is a push to open up Yucca Mountain as a permanent storage facility, even though it cannot be demonstrated that waste stored there will be protected for even 10,000 years.

If not Yucca Mountain, then what?

That's a very good question.

posted on Feb, 7 2005 @ 01:55 PM

Originally posted by poonchang
[url=]If not Yucca Mountain,
In the short term, irradiated reactor fuel should be stored as safely as possible on site or as close to the point of generation as possible for an interim period (several decades) [...]
For the long-term, more basic research on various geologic settings is needed

IOW, nothing, there is no alternative to Yucca Mountain.

other source
Water is now recognized to move very rapidly in the saturated zone and is capable of reaching the accessible environment in less than 500 years.

The importance of this cannot be overlooked. THe storage times for these wastes are fantastically long, no site is not going to have active faults of one sort or antoher, thats not especially important, but water, water will react with the various storage mediums. Water can corrode them, over immense time, and release them. Therefore the portion that the waste is stored in cannot be in long term contact with water. Short term contact is something that has to be expected, I should think, over the vast amount of geological scale time that is involved here.

posted on Feb, 7 2005 @ 03:26 PM
Every argument against the Yucca Mountan site as a storage facility boils down to one thing...


NIMBY -- Not In My Back Yard -- is the mantra chanted by people who want the benefits of technology but not its pitfalls; in other words, people who want to have their cake and eat it, too.

Many (not all) NIMBYs want to block Yucca Mountain because they think it will cripple the American nuclear industry, and they could be right. With no place to store spent fuel, it will become impossible to get licenses for new sites and, as the existing N-plants are decommissioned, no no new ones will be built to replace them.

The result will be our country further in thrall to the goblins of OPEC, and increased pollution as we burn hydrocarbons. (I will refrain from going into the issue of acit rain, thinning of the ozone layer, etc.) Nuclear power is not perfect, but it's the only workable alternative for burning hydrocarbons with all of their disadvantages.

Of course, many other countries, like France and Japan, are switching to nuclear as the only sane replacement for increasingly haphazard and shrinking supplies of oil. If we don't do so ourselves, I believe the long-term outlook for our country's economy and even existence could be problematic.

posted on Feb, 7 2005 @ 03:39 PM
You don't think that there is any validity to the concerns with respect to the fluctuating water table?

I'd say that, if there was a genuine surprise as to the hydrology of the site, that it can warrant delaying the project to examine how often the flucuation in the water table occurs and how it can be controlled.

Meanwhile the hazzard train transport cars can be building in large numbers and hte regulations for moving the waste state to state can be begun. Heck they can even start hiring security for it so that those people will have some experience before the actual waste gets moved, or start hardening security and safety on the rails ingeneral as a preparation. Even if Yucca isn't used some site somewhere in the coninental US is going to receive it.

For that matter I'd think that this might be an oppurtune time to create a cabinet level position to deal with this tremendously important undertaking. Moving that much waste from that many plants into whatever storage location is chosen, coordinating the logistics and the security and even oversight on funding relevant to all the science involved might be a good thing that would take some years to begin.

But ultimately, anything resembling 'nimby' can't be accepted. THe only criteria is that the National storage site chosen be the best one possible, regardless of what the citizens of any district of state or even coalition of states think.

posted on Feb, 7 2005 @ 04:15 PM
The answer to the problem is dilution, vitrification and return-to-origin. Hold it till the hottest stuff half-lifes, vitrify the material with the tailings, and put it back into the mines it came from. The sites were radioactive to begin with. Of course this makes no sense from an 'economic' standpoint as it would require more energy than you got out, but last time I checked it out 'economics' was some kind of bad monopoly-game nightmare with no basis in reality anyway.

OTS, are you volunteering to put the stuff in Utah?

posted on Feb, 7 2005 @ 11:13 PM
chakotay says:

"Of course this makes no sense from an 'economic' standpoint as it would require more energy than you got out."

Well, that's a pretty good reason for us not to do it, don't you think, Chakotay?

I mean, how long would you continue to buy candy bars at a quarter each and then sell them at ten cents a pop? Think you could support your family with a job like that?

"...but last time I checked it out 'economics' was some kind of bad monopoly-game nightmare with no basis in reality anyway."

Maybe you ought to check it out from a book or real life rather than a peyote-dream or wherever you checked it out last time! Economics is the study of choices -- how you choose to dispose of your resources and goods and services to the benefit of yourself, your posterity, and your community.

If you make stupid economic choices and lose your wealth or foul your land, that is not a reflection on the study of economics, it is a reflection on you.

"OTS, are you volunteering to put the stuff in Utah?"

I would even volunteer to put it in Arizona (which is where I live) if it were the most effective from a cost and safety point of view.

posted on Feb, 7 2005 @ 11:22 PM
So the neighsayes have weighted in. Is yucca perfect? No, the anti nuclear crowd will have a problem with anything and everything.

The bottom line is this:

Kerry opposed it because he needed Nevada.
As off put its its a total NIMBY.

It has been studied for decades

I can go on and on forever.

Okay, what do you want to do with this stuff? And for gods sake, spare me the above ground storage or shooting it into space.

posted on Feb, 8 2005 @ 09:37 AM
What does everyone here think about processing the waste to get Plutonium Fuel for more energy production in reactors? Which also, from what I understand, results in waste with a shorter half life? The US doesn't do this, citing concerns about terrorism (this is way before 911), the French (and I suppose other Europeans?) do do this.

Originally posted by Chakotay
The answer to the problem is dilution, vitrification and return-to-origin.

This will result in contamination , death, and mutation.

Hold it till the hottest stuff half-lifes,

Ok, but lets hold it inside of yucca mountain in a special cement matrix inside of coated metal containers and then buried in more cement, while we wait for a half life to occur.

vitrify the material with the tailings, and put it back into the mines it came from.

You mean mix it with the debris that it was originally seperated from? Intersting idea, however, I think that the processes that occur when its used in a nuke reactor make them more radioactive than when they come out of the ground.



Also, are you infavour of continuing to use nuclear power, or would you say that it should be halted, and the current waste be disposed of this way?

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