Preparing to Submit a License Application for Yucca Mountain

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In 1982, the U.S. Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, a Federal law that established U.S. policy for the permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Congress amended the Act in 1987, directing the Department of Energy to study only Yucca Mountain, Nevada as the site for a permanent geologic repository. As the law mandated, the Department evaluated Yucca Mountain to determine its suitability as the site for a permanent geologic repository. Decades of scientific studies demonstrated that Yucca Mountain would protect workers, the public, and the environment during the time that a repository would be ... continued below

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Arthur, W.J. & Voegele, M.D. March 14, 2005.

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Description

In 1982, the U.S. Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, a Federal law that established U.S. policy for the permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Congress amended the Act in 1987, directing the Department of Energy to study only Yucca Mountain, Nevada as the site for a permanent geologic repository. As the law mandated, the Department evaluated Yucca Mountain to determine its suitability as the site for a permanent geologic repository. Decades of scientific studies demonstrated that Yucca Mountain would protect workers, the public, and the environment during the time that a repository would be operating and for tens of thousands of years after closure of the repository. A repository at this remote site would also: preserve the quality of the environment; allow the environmental cleanup of Cold War weapons facilities; provide the nation with additional protection from acts of terrorism; and support a sound energy policy. Throughout the scientific evaluation of Yucca Mountain, there has been no evidence to disqualify Yucca Mountain as a suitable site for the permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Upon completion of site characterization, the Secretary of Energy considered the results and concluded that a repository at Yucca Mountain would perform in a manner that protects public health and safety. The Secretary recommended the site to the President in February 2002; the President agreed and recommended to Congress that the site be approved. The Governor of Nevada submitted a notice of disapproval, and both houses of Congress acted to override the disapproval. In July 2002, the President's approval allowed the Department to begin the process of submittal of a license application for Yucca Mountain as the site for the nation's first repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Yucca Mountain is located on federal land in Nye County in southern Nevada, an arid region of the United States, approximately 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Las Vegas (Figure 1). The location is remote from population centers, and there are no permanent residents within approximately 14 miles (23 km) of the site. Overall, Nye County has a population density of about two persons per square mile (two persons per 2.5 square km); in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, it is significantly less. Yucca Mountain is a series of north-south-trending ridges extending approximately 25 miles (40 km), and consists of successive layers of fine-grained volcanic tuffs, millions of years old, underlain by older carbonate rocks. The alternating layers of welded and nonwelded volcanic tuffs have differing hydrologic properties that significantly impact the manner in which water moves through the mountain. The repository horizon will be in welded tuff located in the unsaturated zone, more than 1,000 feet (300 meters) above the water table in the present-day climate, and is expected to remain well above the water table during wetter future climate conditions. Future meteorology and climatology at Yucca Mountain are important elements in understanding the amount of water available to potentially interact with the waste.

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  • Report No.: NA
  • Grant Number: NA
  • DOI: 10.2172/893837 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 893837
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc884483

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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.

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  • March 14, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Dec. 8, 2016, 9 p.m.

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Arthur, W.J. & Voegele, M.D. Preparing to Submit a License Application for Yucca Mountain, report, March 14, 2005; Las Vegas, Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc884483/: accessed November 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.