It’s been evident for a while that Yucca Mountain was history after it was announced that it’s funding was eliminated by President Obama. ENR is reporting that the USDOE is officially withdrawing its Nuclear Regulatory Commission application for a waste-storage facility although it sounds like they are a little unsure about how to do that. Reportedly, more than $38 billion has been spend on research and construction at the site over the last couple decades. According to ENR, the temporary storage costs of storing spent nuclear fuel could reach $10 to $26 billion in the next 100 years if a permanent storage site is not found. It looks like we will be dealing with indefinite “temporary” storage of nuclear waste for probably our lifetime.
US Nuclear Regulatory Commission – No. 08-106 – June 3, 2008
NRC RECEIVES DOEâ€™S LICENSE APPLICATION TO CONSTRUCT HIGH-LEVEL NUCLEAR WASTE REPOSITORY AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission received an application today from the U.S. Department of Energy for a license to construct the nationâ€™s first geologic repository for high-level nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nev.
â€œWe are ready to get to work on this challenging review,â€ said NRC Chairman Dale E. Klein. â€œCongress has given the NRC a strict timetable for reviewing this application, and I want to assure the American people that we will perform an independent, rigorous and thorough examination to determine whether the repository can safely house the nationâ€™s high-level waste. The NRCâ€™s licensing decision will be based entirely on the technical merits.â€ [Editor] Read on for the rest of the press release [/Editor]
As the U.S. continues to fight over hurdles for its Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste repository, Finland is on track to become the first country with a permanent storage facility for spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors. Their Onkalo tunnel, on the western coast of Finland will eventually stretch for 5-km (2-miles) and reach a depth of 500-m (1,600-ft) in solid granite bedrock. Once at depth a grid of horizontal tunnels will be constructed. Vertical storage holes will be excavated in these horizontal shafts, and the spent rods, encased in steel cannisters with copper corrosion protection, will be placed on layers of bentonite clay. The clay will cushion the cannisters and protect them against long term geologic movement. The clay also serves as a barrier to water, swelling in its presence to seal off any cracks or conduits for water that could potentially transport nuclear contamination in the distant future if the primary measures of protection are compromised. The tunnels will eventually be backfilled with bentonite and rock. The facility is projected to open in approximately 15 years at a cost of about 3 billion euros. The projected life of the facility is through 2100. Links after the break. (Illustration by BBC)
A pilot study is about to be undertaken by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to study the possibility of CO2 sequestration in deep basalt formations throughout the West and Northwest. The study will involve injecting 3,000 to 5,000 tons of liquid CO2 at a depth of between 3,000 and 4,000-ft. The team hopes that mineralization will gradually transform the CO2 and basalt into limestone. The total cost of the pilot study is approximately $10 million and is funded primarily by the U.S. Department of Energy.