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?
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.
The State of Nevada lost a major battle in their attempt to block the US Department of Energy’s attempt at licensing the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. The panel of judges in the case threw it out after a week of oral arguments by the State. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, the Judge’s ruling stated "Nevada’s legal position is incorrect."