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You are not telling the history of how Yucca Mt. was selected. It was all political and not based on science. Since you claim to have followed the history please fill in the missing information.


The Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) used to have some really good information on its website about why Yucca Mountain was considered a good location for disposal of spent nuclear fuel. Unfortunately, someone at the Energy Department seems to have scrubbed the website clean of anything useful, so I can't link to it. A cynic might assume someone from the White House might have ordered the website scrubbed.

From my memory, there were four good reasons for choosing the Yucca Mountain site.

1. It is out in the middle of the desolate Nevada desert, on federal land, and many miles from any large population centers.

2. It is located adjacent to the Nevada Test Site (now called the Nevada National Security Site). The test site is where the government exploded around 1000 nuclear weapons for testing purposes during the cold war. Nobody is going to start building condominiums on that land any time soon.

3. The area receives very little rainfall every year. Death Valley is about 50 miles away on the other side of the California border. The current climate makes it unlikely the area will become populated to any great extent in the foreseeable future.

4. The area is in a hydrological basin. Any water that might be in the area is not going to flow out.

I am not saying there were zero politics involved with choosing the Yucca site. Whenever Congress does anything there is politics involved by definition. What I am saying is there were good scientific, technical, and reasonable reasons why Yucca Mountain was designated by Congress.

If anyone is interested, the link below shows a Google Maps view of the mountain. It is really more of a long ridgeline rather than your classic mountain.

- Pete
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