RealNews

Flaw Is Found in Plan to Bury Nuclear Waste

The Energy Department’s design for burying nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, near Las Vegas, would cause corrosion that would perforate the waste containers and allow leaks, an expert panel is preparing to advise the department. Nuclear waste gives off heat as well as radiation, and the Energy Department is considering taking advantage of that, by spacing the waste containers closely. That would heat the tunnels to nearly 300 degrees Fahrenheit in the first few decades, a factor that, the department says, would keep the metal dry and thus prevent corrosion. But the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, a panel created by Congress to advise the department, believes otherwise, according to a letter the members have drafted. Members said changes to the letter were possible before it is submitted to the department, but the draft, circulated on Monday, said two new sets of laboratory tests “cast doubt on the extent to which the waste package will be an effective barrier under the repository conditions that have been presented to the board.” Full Story

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