Policy ForumNuclear Waste

Proof of Safety at Yucca Mountain

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Science  21 Oct 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5747, pp. 447-448
DOI: 10.1126/science.1112786

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Controversy over geologic disposal of spent fuel and other highly radioactive waste has long turned on a persistent question, within as well as outside the technical community, whether radioactive elements will be safely contained over the long period of hazard. In this Policy Forum, Carter and Pigford call for a proof of safety in repository design very unlike what the U.S. Department of Energy is pursuing at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. A containment system based on a capillary barrier is proposed as quite possibly the best choice available at this site for satisfying a robust proof of safety.