Yucca Mountain Essay

378 WordsFeb 25, 20112 Pages
Pros 1. On-site interim storage can only last so long, and that stuff has to go somewhere. 2. It is in a fairly remote, sparsely populated area. 3. The government already owns the land. 4. The mountain is located in a large basin (the southern Great Basin), so if nasties do get into the water, they will hopefully be contained in just that one area of the country. 5. Supposedly with the planned engineered barriers (a big steel can, basically) the site is good enough that everything will be a-ok for thousands of years. This is according to a computer program that tries to take everything we know about the site into account. This Discover article spends some time describing the program. 6. Sunk cost: The U.S. has already spent over $10 billion prepping for Yucca. Do we really want to start over? Cons 1. It is unfair to the state of Nevada, which doesn’t have a single nuclear power plant and is resolutely against accepting the waste. There is some discussion about this on Alas! A blog. 2. It is only about 100 miles from Las Vegas. 3. Transporting all the waste out there is not straightforward. 4. It’s in the Basin and Range Province. That means earthquakes and maybe even volcanoes. The main concern in technical circles is actually not a big fat whopper of a shake-down so much as increased fracture formation, leading to more water dribbling in, meaning more corrosion and dissolution. Still. 5. There is an enormous amount of uncertainty in the models for what will happen, especially if you really have to try to predict out to, say, 1 million years. There is so much uncertainty that it is unclear how meaningful any assurance of long-term safety based on these models actually is. 6. I’ve heard the dryness of the area sometimes mentioned as a pro. Well, it’s not actually that dry, and I’m not actually convinced this isn’t a con, because it means you have an

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