Yucca Mountain Can Meet EPA Radiation Standards, DOE Reports - But there's more to the story
August 23, 2001 8:57 AM   Subscribe

Yucca Mountain Can Meet EPA Radiation Standards, DOE Reports - But there's more to the story WASHINGTON, DC, August 22, 2001 (ENS) - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has a new report assessing the performance of the proposed high level nuclear waste disposal site at Yucca Mountain against strict safety standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The report concludes that the Yucca Mountain site "would likely meet" the agency's radiation protection standards.
posted by Wicker (4 comments total)
And what did the report say about the safety of the trucks transporting waste to the site? Or will we be using teleporters?
posted by straight at 9:52 AM on August 23, 2001

The transportation methods have been studied and tested thoroughly. They?re safe.
posted by mrbula at 12:49 PM on August 23, 2001

The entire concept of the repository is flawed, and driven by politics, not science. The government will be liable for billions of dollars' reimbursement (and penalties) to the utility companies nationwide who were promised disposal for their nuclear waste prior to now. The foolishness of the government's promising to provide this with no notion of how they would go about it aside, they are now legally culpable, and this creates tremendous pressure on them to provide a solution, any solution.

The entire history of the project--from the moment Congress arbitrarily lowered the potential repository sites being studied from three to just one--is political. Nevada has not historically had the political clout to prevent this material from being transported far from where it was generated and stored here, and therefore has been subject to the "not in my backyard" mentality.

Every effort has been made to make the repository a fait accompli before the public has a chance to understand and respond to the issue. As one example, no transportation routes have been identified, so that there would be no opportunity for protest to arise in Cincinnati, Birmingham, etc. By marginalizing the protest to Nevada, those pushing the project have again attempted to circumvent both scientific and democratic processes.

As far as the "standards" which they so optimistically hope to meet, they are not even the same standards applied in other cases, having been relaxed and exempted several times. (Don't have a link supporting this at hand atm, but they are easy to find.)

In any case, the entire logic behind the repository is severely flawed. Does anyone (outside the government) truly believe that technology will not provide us with new and better solutions to the challenge of nuclear waste over the next TEN years, much less the next TEN THOUSAND? Nothing can be controlled for a period of time that extreme, no matter how much research and planning goes into the effort. It is insane hubris to imagine otherwise.

Yes, a short-term solution must be provided to the utility companies, who cannot realistically be expected to competently and cost-effectively deal with the waste that they have generated and continue to generate without assistance--though I would argue that the responsibility DOES largely lie with them. But rather than burying it out of sight (and mind) beneath a mountain in the desert, a caretaker approach makes a lot more sense, protecting humans and the environment from the material's toxicity until we are better able to render it harmless or utilize it in some as-yet unguessed manner.
posted by rushmc at 2:26 PM on August 23, 2001

Thank you rushmc :)

You've helped shed some light on a very important issue.
posted by Wicker at 8:34 AM on August 24, 2001

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