Technical Evaluations Necessary for Determining Site Suitability for a High-Level Waste Repository

by J. W. Bartlett,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Dynamic Analysis and Design Considerations for High-Level Nuclear Waste Repositories


Congress, under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended, has charged the Department of Energy with the responsibility for safely and permanently disposing of high-level radioactive waste, which consists of spent fuel from commercial nuclear generating stations and waste from reprocessing activities. Under the direction of this law, the Department is currently evaluating the suitability of a potential underground repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, approximately 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. In conducting its evaluations, the Department will investigate a number of technical aspects of the candidate Yucca Mountain site, such as geology, geohydrology, rock mechanics, tectonics, seismicity, volcanology, and constructability. The focus of these investigations will be to determine the characteristics and nature of the physical processes acting at the site, and the expected impact of these physical processes on the ability of a potential repository system to permanently isolate high-level radioactive waste. The ultimate goal of the site characterization process is to determine whether or not a site under consideration is suitable for development as a repository. Special importance is placed on predicting the effect of these physical processes and characteristics on the performance of the engineered barrier system, which consists of the man-made components of a repository system designed to prevent release of radionuclides.

Subject Headings: Waste sites | Site investigation | Waste management | Industrial wastes | Radioactive wastes | Waste disposal | Underground storage | Waste treatment | Las Vegas | Nevada | United States

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