Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository
Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository (Encyclopedia of Environmental Issues, Revised Edition)
The 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act began the process of establishing a permanent underground storage repository for America’s high-level radioactive waste. In 1987 Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, which singled out Yucca Mountain as the only site to be studied for the national repository. The Department of Energy (DOE) had begun studying the area as a possible repository site almost a decade earlier. Yucca Mountain is located roughly 160 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. Plans were for specially designed waste canisters to be stored in tunnels bored into Yucca Mountain at a depth of approximately 305 meters (1,000 feet) below ground surface and 305 meters above the water table.
Any proposal to construct a high-level nuclear waste repository somewhere in the United States is bound to meet with controversy. In Yucca Mountain’s case, many questions have been raised concerning its geologic suitability. One concern is the site’s location within a seismically active region. There are more than thirty known earthquake faults in and around Yucca Mountain, some of which have been active since work began on the repository. In 1992 an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.7 caused considerable damage to the aboveground Yucca Mountain project field operations center. The DOE has maintained that the threat of earthquakes to the underground repository is not a significant problem because deep subsurface...
(The entire section is 782 words.)
Further Reading (Encyclopedia of Environmental Issues, Revised Edition)
Macfarlane, Allison, and Rodney C. Ewing, eds. Uncertainty Underground: Yucca Mountain and the Nation’s High-Level Nuclear Waste. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2006.
Vandenbosch, Robert, and Susanne E. Vandenbosch. Nuclear Waste Stalemate: Political and Scientific Controversies. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2007.
Walker, J. Samuel. The Road to Yucca Mountain: The Development of Radioactive Waste Policy in the United States. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.
(The entire section is 65 words.)