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since congress decision to make Yucca Mountain the site for nuclear waste
disposal, Nevada has been critical of the selection process and how they
believed the selection process was completely unfair. They believe an argument
can be made that both economic and political incentives have influenced the
government and made it so that an objective evaluation was almost impossible to
have. Other concerns Nevada has had are with Department of Energy scientist and
how they feel like their credibility should come into question because they’re
employees of companies who are only continuing to benefit financially the
longer they work on this project.

Department of Energy proposed plans to deposit about 70,000 tons of high level
waste under Yucca Mountain. The site has been deemed ideal for several reasons,
one being Nevada doesn’t experience much rain. When it comes to high level
nuclear waste disposal, corrosion from water is a red flag. Some other reasons
the site is considered ideal is that the county that Yucca Mountain is located
only houses a couple hundred residents, and there is a military base close by
that could provide protection of the site if needed.  A kind of system of checks and balances was
put in place to make sure the disposal site was ideal. The Environmental Protection
Agency, or EPA for short, developed a set of standards for the Yucca Mountain
disposal site and if they weren’t met then the Department of Energy couldn’t go
through with their plans. The standards that the EPA developed were made to
protect both the public and the environment from exposure to radiation.

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of dollars have gone into researching the Yucca mountain site. Research
concluded that if Yucca Mountain was approved as a site for dangerous
radioactive waste that it wouldn’t have been able to do so until at the
earliest the year 2010. Had the schedule stayed on track, then construction
would have begun in 2004 and the repository would have been able to start
accepting nuclear waste in 2010 and even this was years behind the original
schedule outlined by the Nuclear Waste policy Act of 1982. The site had to
undergo years of numerous studies to determine how unknowns like volcanic
activity or an earthquake would affect the repository. After funding was reduced
in 1995 and then again further reduced over the next two years, the schedule
for when the site would finally be put to use was even further delayed.
Numerous attempts to get the project up and running again were made after
lawsuits were filed against the Department of Energy in 1994. The United States
senate made multiple attempts to amend the Nuclear Waste Policy act in 1996 in
order to get the Yucca Mountain project going again and both bills were never
passed. The politics involved in trying to establish Yucca Mountain as a
national geological repository only increases as time continues to pass. The
Department of Energy along with the government will be under more pressure to
get a nuclear waste facility up and running. Not only will there be increased
pressure politically, but there will also be increased pressure economically.
Currently the nuclear waste industry uses their own resources in order to store
nuclear waste on site, and eventually when storage runs out, they have to spend
more money trying to find suitable ways to store this waste safely. So by
establishing a national disposal facility for radioactive waste money that can
be spent elsewhere is being saved. Another problem is that with nowhere to
place this waste, nuclear power plants can’t build new reactors and without new
reactors, nuclear energy isn’t being converted into electrical energy. Survival
for nuclear energy will depend on a permeant disposal site being constructed.

are some hazards that had to be addressed when it came to choosing the Yucca
Mountains as a disposal site, one of which is water contamination. When water
comes into contact with nuclear waste disposal containers, corrosion could be
caused to the container which could in turn create a mix of radioactive waste
and water that could seep into an aquifer located underneath the site that
supplies local drinking water. Other dangerous hazards of choosing this site
are the numerous earthquake fault lines located not only around the site but
also in the site and the close proximity of a volcano. The chances of a volcano
erupting in the area have already been determined to be very slim, but it’s
better to be safe than sorry and scientist have determined that the repository
would be able to withstand even a severe earthquake.

It’s no
question that many people whether they’re scientist, environmentalist, or even
politicians agree that it’s very important that nuclear waste is disposed of
properly. It’s just a matter of everyone agreeing on a safe site to dispose of
the waste and how exactly the waste should be disposed of. Finding a solution
to dispose of nuclear waste is very important and should be a high priority for
the United States. Nuclear energy doesn’t produce greenhouse gases like other forms
of energy being used around the world, so no one really objects when it’s
labeled a clean source of energy. The amount of radioactive waste that is
produced says differently though. Nuclear energy is not as safe and clean as
it’s made out to be and the buildup of waste from past years on top of years
needs to be properly disposed of. Burying tons of waste in a geologic
repository under Yucca Mountain and leaving it up to future generations to deal
with is not a permanent solution, but right now it seems to be the only
temporary solution that anyone has been able to come up with.

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