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Yucca Mountain

5 Pages 1272 Words

Yucca Mountain is the possible site of a nuclear repository designed to store and dispose of spent nuclear fuel. It is located in Nye County, Nevada, which is about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas (this can be seen on Figure #1). This land is federally owned, and located on the edge of the Department of Energy’s Test Site. The repository would be located in the mountain and be approximately 1000 feet below the top of the mountain and 1000 feet above the groundwater level. The repository will be designed to hold well over the 77,000 tons of nuclear waste already accumulated. If the project receives approval, it would be the nations first geological repository for disposal of spent nuclear fuel.
The Yucca Mountain site was chosen for several reasons. First of all, water is the main means of transporting waste out of a nuclear repository and into the environment. The Yucca Mountain site is located in one of the driest and remote places in the United States. The area receives less than 7.5 inches of rain per year, and 95 percent of that does not even reach the mountain. The site also has many natural barriers, which prevent what little water is available from entering the site. The possible site is also located on federally owned land, which eliminates the lengthy task of acquiring land from the state. There is also no risk that groundwater that serves any of the nearby cities will be contaminated by the site. This is not possible, because the groundwater system that encompasses Yucca Mountain is not connected to groundwater of the Las Vegas Valley. The groundwater system at Yucca Mountain is an isolated hydraulic basin; that is; it does not connect to any other water sources. Isolated hydraulic basins are a very rare feature, and it is very well suited for the site. For these reasons, Yucca Mountain was chosen as the possible site of the geological nuclear repository.

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