Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Yucca eruptus

Authors

  • Anonymous


Abstract

Controversy over the proposed high-level storage site for radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, erupted again last week when The New York Times disclosed a private dispute among some federal scientists over whether such a dump might explode. The state of Nevada, among others, has been a long-time critic of the planned repository, which is to be built by 2010 to house spent fuel rods from the nation's hundred-some nuclear power plants. The proposal has survived sundry claims about threats to the safety of such a facility in the long haul—ranging from problems with the geology and geophysics of the site to water contamination issues. This new concern is yet to be debunked, however. About a year ago, a duo of physicists from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico hypothesized that buried wastes could set off a nuclear explosion. To address Charles Bowman's and Francesco Venneri's concerns, lab managers assembled three teams of scientists to study the issue. Yet the teams have been unable to entirely refute the physicists' claims, The Times reports. The solution? More study, say Nevada officials, who called for an independent review of the entire program last week.

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