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Yucca Mountain Repository
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  QUICK FACTS
 
Map of Nevada. Click on the map for more detail.
  Location:  View maps
Federally-controlled land in Nye County, Nevada, about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
  Land withdrawal area:
About 230 square miles (150,000 acres) that is currently under the control of the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Air Force, and the Bureau of Land Management.
  Population:
None. The closest year-round housing is about 14 miles south of the site, in the Amargosa Desert.
Geology:
Yucca Mountain is a ridge comprised of layers of rock, called “tuff.” This rock is made of ash that was deposited by successive eruptions from nearby volcanoes between 11 and 14 million years ago.
Elevation:
4,950 feet
  Climate:  
Desert.
  Natural Resources:
No known natural resources of commercial value (such as precious metals, minerals, oil, etc.).

Yucca Mountain Repository
Yucca Mountain is the nation's planned repository for spent nuclear fuel.

The U.S. Department of Energy began studying Yucca Mountain, Nevada, in 1978 to determine whether it would be suitable for the nation's first long-term geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Currently stored at 126 sites around the nation, these materials are a result of nuclear power generation and national defense programs.

On July 23, 2002, President Bush signed House Joint Resolution 87, allowing the DOE to take the next step in establishing a safe repository in which to store our nation's nuclear waste. The Department of Energy is currently in the process of preparing an application to obtain the Nuclear Regulatory Commission license to proceed with construction of the repository.

Yucca Mountain is located in a remote desert on federally protected land within the secure boundaries of the Nevada Test Site in Nye County, Nevada. It is approximately 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Why do we need a national repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste?

Why was Yucca Mountain chosen?

What is the plan for the repository?

How do we know the repository would be safe?

Who pays for Yucca Mountain?

How will the material get to Yucca Mountain?

What is the Repository's Chronology and What's Next


Why do we need a national repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste?

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Why was Yucca Mountain chosen?

  • Yucca Mountain is in a remote, desert area on federal land.
    Read More: Why Yucca Mountain? [pdf]
  • Most scientists around the world agree that the best place to put this radioactive material is in a facility deep underground.
    Read More: Why Do Scientists Think a Repository Will Work?
  • After over 20 years of research and billions of dollars of carefully planned and reviewed scientific field work, the Department of Energy has found that a repository at Yucca Mountain brings together the location, natural barriers, and design elements most likely to protect the health and safety of the public, including those Americans living in the immediate vicinity, now and long into the future.
    Read More:
    Site Recommendation

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What is the plan for the repository?

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How do we know the repository would be safe?

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Who pays for Yucca Mountain?

  • The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 requires utilities which generate electricity using nuclear power to pay a fee of one tenth of one cent ($0.001) per kilowatt-hour into the Nuclear Waste Fund.
    Read More:
    Budget and Funding
  • The cost for the expected life cycle of the Program (136 years, between 1983 and 2119) is projected to be $58 billion.
    Read More: Total System Life Cycle Cost Report
  • Approximately $9 billion has been spent so far.
    Read More: OCRWM Budgets and Financial Information
  • Which states have paid most?
    Read More: Purchaser Fee Payments to the Nuclear Waste Fund
  • "For each year beyond 2017 that the repository’s opening is delayed, the Department estimates that U.S. taxpayers’ potential liability to contract holders who have paid into the Nuclear Waste Fund will increase by approximately $500 million. This will be in addition to the estimated current potential liability of approximately $7.0 billion due to the Department’s not beginning removal of spent nuclear fuel in 1998 as required by contract." -- OCRWM Director Ward Sproat, testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives.
    Read More of Sproat's testimony to Congress

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How will the material get to Yucca Mountain?

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What is the Repository's Chronology and What's Next

Last reviewed: 03/08



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This page last modified on: March 26, 2008  
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