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Proposed High-Level Nuclear Waste Repository: Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Progress (pdf)


Congress has designated the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada as the sole candidate location that DOE may investigate for possible development as a permanent spent nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear waste repository. If the site proves unsuitable, DOE must return to Congress for further instructions. This report discusses current findings on the site's geology, hydrology, geochemistry, and tectonic history; reviews the site characterization process that DOE is pursuing; discusses the problems inherent in assessing risk and projecting site suitability; and reviews concerns regarding attempts to model the repository's behavior into the distant millennia. Despite Congress' long involvement, disposal of radioactive waste is still a contentious issue. This report is intended to supplement other CRS products that track current legislative initiatives and policy options on nuclear waste disposal and on the use of risk analysis in environmental protection. (See CRS Reports IB 88090 Nuclear Energy Policy , IB92059 Civilian Nuclear Waste Disposal, IB94036 The Role of Risk Analysis and Risk Management in Environmental Protection, 96-212 Civilian Nuclear Spent Fuel Temporary Storage Options, 97-403 Transportation of Spent Nuclear Fuel, 98-616, RL30043 Environmental Health and Safety Tradeoffs: A Discussion of Policy Making Opportunities and Constraints, and RL30129). It will be updated as significant decisions regarding Yucca Mountain site-suitability develop.

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* These CRS reports were produced by the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress providing nonpartisan research reports to members of the House and Senate. The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) has made these reports available to the public at large, but the Congressional Research Service is not affiliated with the NCSE or the National Library for the Environment (NLE). This web site is not endorsed by or associated with the Congressional Research Service. The material contained in the CRS reports does not necessarily express the views of NCSE, its supporters, or sponsors. The information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. NCSE disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall NCSE be liable for any damages.