Congressional Testimony. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION:FRANK L. BOWMAN. Federal DocumentClearing House. 14 Sep 2006. eLibrary. Proquest CSA. MILBANK HIGH SCHOOL. 09 Jul 2008.<http://elibrary.bigchalk.com>.Congress approved a geologic disposal site at Yucca Mountain in 2002. In the Energy Policy Act, Congress included provisions that encourage the construction of new nuclear power plants, demonstrating public policy confidence inthe nation`s ability to manage used reactor fuel in the future. In addition, the Energy Department has safely operateda geologic disposal site for transuranic radioactive waste near Carlsbad, New Mexico, and 34 temporary dry-cask storage facilities for used nuclear fuel have been licensed at nuclear power plants.Hippel, Frank N von. "No Hurry to Recycle." Mechanical Engineering. 01 May 2006. 32. eLibrary. Proquest CSA.MILBANK HIGH SCHOOL. 09 Jul 2008. <http://elibrary.bigchalk.com>.Physically, the capacity of Yucca Mountain to store radioactive waste is limited by the temperature rise of the rock caused by the heat output of the spent fuel. Most of this heat would come from the decay of the transuranicelements. If these elements were fissioned, the mountain could take fission products from five times as much spentfuel before the temperature became a problem
. If, as supporters of reprocessing advocate, two fission products with a 30-year halflife, cesium137and strontium-90, are separated and stored on the surface, the remaining fission products from perhaps 100 times as much spent fuel could be stored in the mountain.This proposal, it turns out, also is not new. The Department of Energy's Argonne and Los Alamos National Laboratories had brought it forward in the early 1990s.Argonne was interested at that time-as it is today-in a mission for the fast-neutron reactors it had been developing for decades as its core mission. Los Alamos wasinterested in applications for high-current proton accelerators that it had developed for its weapons R&D program. The first Bush administration asked the NationalAcademy of Sciences to carry out an assessment of their proposals.The academy issued a massive report in 1996. Its conclusions were so discouraging that the Department of ; Energy dropped the subject for a decade. Today, DOEspokesmen for Global Nuclear Energy Partnership refuse to discuss the NAS study.The main findings are indeed jarring. The academy found that it would take many decades or even centuries to significantly reduce the net amount of transuranicwaste. Moreover, the reduction in the public exposure to radioactivity (compared to underground storage of unreprocessed spent fuel) would be too small to justify thecost, estimated to range from $50 billion to more than $100 billion for the disposal of some 62,000 tons of LWR spent fuel. And widespread implementation of reprocessing systems could increase the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation.The conclusions of greatest concern today are those relating to cost and proliferation.
The NAS study scaled its cost estimate to 62,000 tons of spent fuel because that is approximately the amount of spent fuel that the Nuclear Waste Policy Act allows to be placed in Yucca Mountain before a second repository inanother state is in operation. The current generation of U.S. power reactors will have discharged 62,000 tons of fuel by 2008 and DOE expects that these reactors will ultimately discharge approximately twice as much.
Congressional Testimony. YUCCA MOUNTAIN PROJECT STATUS:HARRY REID. FederalDocument Clearing House. 01 Mar 2006. eLibrary. Proquest CSA. MILBANK HIGH SCHOOL.09 Jul 2008. <http://elibrary.bigchalk.com>.To date, we are not. Bad science, bad law and bad policy are what characterize Yucca Mountainand the decisions around transportation issues. The result is that transportation of highlyradioactive nuclear waste around the country and to Yucca poses extraordinary hazards to the public health, economic security and environmental safety. Moving all the high-level nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain and a second repository would take nearly 40 years and involve105,000 truck shipments, or nearly 20,000 rail shipments over more than 40 years. Moving justthe waste currently allowed by law to go to Yucca Mountain would involve nearly 53,000 truck shipments or 10,000 rail shipments over 24 years. As most of the waste in generated east of theMississippi, that means most waste will be traveling across the country. Tens of thousands of shipments of deadly radioactive waste, an average of approximately 2,800 each year, will berolling through neighborhoods in 43 states and hundreds of major metropolitan areas on its way