Yucca Mountain report finds SRS is better choice for waste reprocessing

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Yucca Mountain, designed to be a final repository for spent nuclear fuel, might have alternative uses, but waste reprocessing is better suited for places such as Savannah River Site, according to a Government Accounta­bil­ity Office report.

“Stakeholders we contacted proposed 30 alternative uses of the Yucca Mountain site,” said the 57-page study, commissioned by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, of Nevada. “However, there was no broad consensus regarding the benefits and challenges of these uses among the experts we consulted.”

Congress chose the 230-square-mile site near Las Vegas in 1987 as a permanent burial ground for spent fuel, and more than $12 billion was spent on its development. The U.S. De­part­ment of Energy and the Obama administration later canceled funding for the project.

The controversial decision left in limbo the fate of a growing inventory of spent nuclear fuel from the nation’s 104 commercial power reactors.

The accountability office examined other possible uses for Yucca Mountain including homeland security, mining research, commercial power plants and electronic data storage, with no clear avenues.

“While some experts we contacted identified benefits of the site for certain uses, experts also noted that many of these proposed uses would be costly and may face significant challenges,” the report said.

One alternative use examined was for reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel – a controversial technology.

Though one expert cited the remoteness of Yucca Mountain as an advantage in reprocessing, “another expert stated that other locations would be better suited – including the Energy Department’s Idaho National Lab­or­atory or SRS, which both have an existing infrastructure and workforce,” the report said.

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TK3
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TK3 10/18/11 - 08:05 pm
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It will, sooner or later, be

It will, sooner or later, be the final repository for spent nuclear fuel unless our "Homeland Security" and the next Neo~Fuhrer decide to use it for their bunker.

Riverman1
84887
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Riverman1 10/18/11 - 08:34 pm
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An Omni Gym.

An Omni Gym.

SCEagle Eye
917
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SCEagle Eye 10/19/11 - 08:15 am
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Uh, what's the news here

Uh, what's the news here about SRS? A commenter, most likely someone who stands to profit, thinks SRS is a super duper site for reprocessing spent fuel and dumping the large amounts of by-product waste. So, what else is new? It's well know that some in the big-government crowd in Aiken want government policies and funding for dirty, dangerous and costly spent fuel treatment called reprocessing.

bdouglas
5116
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bdouglas 10/19/11 - 08:33 am
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So Harry Reid, who has fought

So Harry Reid, who has fought against Yucca Mountain for decades now, commissions a study that just happens to say the project he has been adamantly against is not the best place for spent fuel? Shocker...

Amber Ladeira
0
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Amber Ladeira 10/19/11 - 09:54 am
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Please forget Yucca Mountain

Please forget Yucca Mountain as a permanent radwaste repository. Nevada has THIRTY-THREE earthquake faults, about EIGHT of them
under or near the proposed site. The waste casks currently in use
are NOT quake proof. The mountain is too close to Las Vegas,
another important consideration.

So much money, time and hot air were wasted on such a dangerously
flawed idea. I blame the original geologist who signed off on the
initial investigation of Yucca Mountain as a waste storage site.
(Don't geologists learn about earthquakes in college??)

I rarely see a reference or mention about Nevada's quakes in these
various discussions, even among legislators, quite alarming. Only
by possessing the relevant facts can good decisions be made.

MKG
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MKG 10/19/11 - 11:45 am
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Amber, I disagree with your

Amber, I disagree with your conclusion. Seismic analysis available to the general public have been reviewed and approved. The analyses reveal that Yucca Mountain is a suitable location; politicians not scientists are the ones who can't reach a consensus. You seem to be focused on fear, uncertainty, and doubt based on a linear threshold that there should not be any risks with any decision we make. The real world is that there are risks with every decision. The relevant facts are that Yucca mountain is the best scientifically determined location for storage of spent nuclear materials. It is not a dangerously flawed idea.

Riverman1
84887
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Riverman1 10/19/11 - 12:42 pm
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Every single candidate last

Every single candidate last night wimped out on this issue. Yucca Mt has been studied ad nausea at a cost of billions and it was deemed the best place in the country for nuclear wastes. They should have told the truth, but they all tapped danced.

Dr. Walt
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Dr. Walt 10/19/11 - 12:59 pm
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MKG, as a Nevada resident who

MKG, as a Nevada resident who lives less than 50 miles from Yucca Mountain, I disagree with your statement; but Amber is only partially correct. Besides the fault zones, there are 5 volcanic cinder cones within 20 miles of Yucca Mtn. that are less than 10,000 years old and geologically speaking that's RECENT. Also, there is a line of hot springs (geothermal waters) that run the length of Western Nevada. Mother Nature is saying "NOT HERE !" ; earthquake fault zones, active volcanically heated waters, and recent volcanic activity (cinder cones) all in the immediate vicinity of Yucca Mountain. What part of NO don't these scientist's understand. There are much better places in this country that would be better suited for storing high-level nuclear waste for the next 10,000 years.

SCEagle Eye
917
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SCEagle Eye 10/19/11 - 01:58 pm
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The GAO report has nothing to

The GAO report has nothing to do with SRS. So, why would anyone write that misleading headline or write in the article that it does?

Riverman1
84887
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Riverman1 10/19/11 - 02:08 pm
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From the article: Though one

From the article:

Though one expert cited the remoteness of Yucca Mountain as an advantage in reprocessing, “another expert stated that other locations would be better suited – including the Energy Department’s Idaho National Lab­or­atory or SRS, which both have an existing infrastructure and workforce,” the report said.

MKG
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MKG 10/20/11 - 07:56 am
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Dr. Walt, thanks for your

Dr. Walt, thanks for your input. I don't disagree that there is limited seismic activity in the area as a possibility. However, I know many of the folks that worked there at the site for many years; they are highly trained and skilled, people of integrity, and did not have an agenda to falsify geological studies. You seem to be taking the position that everyone of them is wrong and you are the only one that is correct about the management of the risks. Yucca Mountain was not selected in a random manner; logical reasoning backed by many, many scientist who disagree with your conclusion were involved with each of a series of decsions in the selection process that was based on risk analyses. Multiple independent multi-disciplined reviews confirmed each step of the selection process.

Anyone who is stakeholder in the selection process had a right to present there opinion and evidence. How did you participate? or are you just confirming the purely political decision that has been made, strictly because of Harry Reid's authority over this matter?

All decisions we make should be based on choosing the least risk. It is easy to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about these issues since most people still have an extreme fear of any thing to do with nuclear. It is not hard for even an uneducated person to come up with what if scenarios that are frightening. If you have evidence that another site has been proven to have less risk then you should document your concerns, its your right as an American. However, at the end of the day the majority should decide this issue based on scientific evidence. A unanamous decison is not required by society when thousands of people are involved. Selecting a site that has no risks is not an option in a real world.

My opinion of Yucca Mountain issues is that we should not permanently store as much used fuel there as was planned. The used fuel should be held in a temporary location, Yucca would be good, and processed at some point in the future since approximately 90% of the energy is still in the spent fuel from a commercial nuclear plant. Russia treats their spent fuel as national treasure because they recognize its value to future generations.

SCEagle Eye
917
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SCEagle Eye 10/20/11 - 11:47 am
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Thanks to Riverman for

Thanks to Riverman for confirming the GAO says nothing about reprocessing at SRS and that SRS was mentioned in relation to an opinion of a single commenter.

Riverman1
84887
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Riverman1 10/20/11 - 11:58 am
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SCEagleEye, to be fair to Rob

SCEagleEye, to be fair to Rob Pavey, it wasn't some anonymous commenter on the Chronicle, it was an "expert" the GAO consulted. (Geez, hope I didn't diss anonymous posters like myself.)

Little Lamb
46331
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Little Lamb 10/20/11 - 12:02 pm
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Maybe they can crank up the

Maybe they can crank up the Yucca Mountain repository after we get a new president in 2013 and he (she) cancels Obama's executive order and says, "full steam ahead."

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