With an ID of around 10-in (260-mm), I get the sense they would need multiple boreholes to dispose of any significant quantity of waste.The waste would be sealed within two stainless steel canisters, and placed within a permanent steel casing that is grouted into place. The bottom of the hole would be plugged first, and the top would have some kind of backfill. I imagine the key to this technology is the geologic media the waste is being stored in. Obviously a site with a deep groundwater table would be significant. Any thoughts on what else one would be looking for in terms of the site and specifically the geology? Do you think the U.S. would ever implement such a system?
More problems for the US Department of Energy related to the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository. The New York Times is reporting that the DOE is already 10 years behind in a commitment made to Power Companies to store their nuclear waste, and according to the DOE, it will likely be at least another 10 years before they are able to begin accepting waste for permanent storage. Who cares you ask? Well, the US has already payed out $342 million in 60 lawsuits filed by utility companies, and that total could reach $11 billion according to government estimates or $35 billion according to industry estimates before Yucca Mountain finaly opens and begins accepting waste. Source: New York Times by way of Ontario-geofish.
Thanks to Harold at the Ontario-geofish blog, I came accross this AP article that releases the first Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository cost estimate update since 2001. The US DOE now puts the cost of the facility at $90 billion, up $32 billion from that 2001 estimate. Of course that estimate is slightly deceptive. It covers the $9 billion already spent and 100 years of operation. Perhaps the bigger issue is funding has not been secured largely in part to the efforts of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat-NV). If a steady stream of money can be secured, the best case scenario for the facility is a 2020 opening.
I also found a neat blog called Yucca Facts that has a refreshing perspective on the facility that is pro-science if not necessarily pro-Yucca. They also have a commentary about this latest DOE announcement and some commentary on Senator Reid.