USA seeks overseas dumps for radioactive waste

The USA now seeks to do nuclear waste dumps deals with other countries after the USA EPA set a high standard of radiation emission the US Government must meet for 10,000 years to 1 million years into the future.

Yucca Mountain waste dump an election issue: On August 9, 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a limit of 350 millirem per year for that period. Also the local folk – Nevada citizens – opposed the dump plan. In March, 2006, the majority staff of U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works issued a 25 page white paper "Yucca Mountain: The Most Studied Real Estate on the Planet".

Science versus politics: Because of questions raised by the State of Nevada and Congressional members about the quality of the science behind Yucca Mountain plans, the Department of Energy announced on March 31, 2006 the selection of nuclear researcher Oak Ridge to provide independent expert reviews of scientific and technical work on the Yucca Mountain Project.

Rethink planned: The US Department of Energy began studying Yucca Mountain, Nevada, in 1978 to determine whether it would be suitable for the nation’s first long-term geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Currently stored at 126 sites around the nation, these materials are a result of nuclear power generation and national defense programs.

Plan to move waste to Yucca: By early 2002, 7 billion US dollars had been spent on the project which has made Yucca Mountain the most studied piece of geology in the world. Total cost is expected be between 50 and 100 billion dollars. The cost of the facility is being paid for by the public using nuclear generated electricity and the federal government for disposal of defense nuclear waste.

2012 the start date: Sometime between 2012 and 2015 was the projected date that the facility will begin to accept waste. This project is widely opposed in Nevada and is a hotly debated topic. Polls indicate that most Nevadans are against the repository.

Nevada NIMIBY factor: There was also general resentment felt by many Nevada residents over the fact that 87 per cent of the land in Nevada was federal property. Although about 15 per cent of its electricity comes from the Palo Verde nuclear station in Arizona, many Nevadans feel it was unfair for its state to have to store nuclear waste when there are no nuclear power plants in Nevada.

Waste piles up: Because of delays in construction, a number of nuclear power plants in the US have resorted to storing waste onsite indefinitely in nearly impervious steel and concrete casks. It is possible that a temporary facility may open at the Yucca Mountain site or somewhere else in the American west if opening of the underground storage continues to be held up.

False documents? On February 17, 2006, the Department of Energy’s Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) released a report confirming the technical soundness of infiltration modeling work performed by US Geological Survey (USGS) employees. In March 2005, the Energy and Interior departments revealed that several US Geological Survey hydrologists had exchanged e-mails discussing possible falsification of quality assurance documents on water infiltration research.

Erisk Net, 23/6/2006

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