Carbon-14 releases from an unsaturated repository: A senseless but expensive dilemma

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The purpose of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Standards for the Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel, High-Level and Transuranic Radioactive Wastes (40 CFR Part 191 or standards) is to protect public health and safety. The 1985 rule was developed on the basis of the assumption that the repository would be located in a geologic formation that lies below the water table. It is appropriate to examine gaseous releases and transport of pollutants in order to determine site adequacy. When the provisions of the 1985 standard are applied to Yucca Mountain, specifically the limits for carbon-14, we ... continued below

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6 p.

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Pflum, C.G. October 1, 1993.

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The purpose of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Standards for the Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel, High-Level and Transuranic Radioactive Wastes (40 CFR Part 191 or standards) is to protect public health and safety. The 1985 rule was developed on the basis of the assumption that the repository would be located in a geologic formation that lies below the water table. It is appropriate to examine gaseous releases and transport of pollutants in order to determine site adequacy. When the provisions of the 1985 standard are applied to Yucca Mountain, specifically the limits for carbon-14, we can release in 10,000 years no more than 7,000 curies of carbon-14 in the form of carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, the US Department of Energy (DOE) and others indicate that the repository may release about 8,000 curies of carbon-14 dioxide, an amount that exceeds the standard by 10 to 20 percent. The original basis of the 1985 standards was that, in a site below the water table, the limit for carbon-14 was technically achievable. It was not a standard based on a release level that would prevent a danger to public health. If we examine the danger to public health of the release of 8,000 curies of carbon-14 dioxide during and 8,000-year period, this release would not a pose a significant threat to the average individual. Industry and natural sources release many times this amount of carbon-14 dioxide each year. The question therefore becomes: is it appropriate to spend an additional $3.2 billion on waste packages when the expenditure does not measurably improve the public health?

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6 p.

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INIS; OSTI as DE94000976

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  • Waste management `93, Tucson, AZ (United States), 28 Feb - 4 Mar 1993

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  • Other: DE94000976
  • Report No.: CONF-930205--82
  • Grant Number: AC08-87NV10576
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 140591
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc627749

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • October 1, 1993

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  • June 16, 2015, 7:43 a.m.

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  • Aug. 2, 2016, 2:27 p.m.

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Pflum, C.G. Carbon-14 releases from an unsaturated repository: A senseless but expensive dilemma, article, October 1, 1993; Las Vegas, Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc627749/: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.