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Yucca Mountain Nuclear Repository

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Yucca Mountain Nuclear Repository

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  • October 20, 2013
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Yucca Mountain Nuclear Repository

Nuclear waste, a byproduct from nuclear power plants, has to be disposed of somewhere and so in 1987 it was suggested that Yucca Mountain, in Nevada, become the nation’s consolidated nuclear waste disposal and storage facility. However, it’s been bogged down in controversy and subject to delays since the very beginning. In 2009, it was opposed by the Obama administration, voted down by the U.S. Senate but supported by the U.S. House of Representatives. The pros and cons of the issue of Yucca Mountain continue to make it a very controversial issue. People base their views on how safe it is, the legal implications of finding somewhere else to store the nuclear waste, the financial cost, and the environmental impact. One of the most serious problems (con) of the Yucca Mountain program is that it would require nuclear waste to be shipped from all around the United States to the facility. Right now waste is temporarily stored at over 100 sites around the country. Transporting nuclear waste is a complicated process. The nuclear waste has to be shipped to the site in robust containers known as spent nuclear fuel shipping casks, approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. These casks would have to be trucked over public highways, or on train cars going through heavily populated cities and farmland. The planned routes, dates and times of transport would have to be made public for security reasons. State and tribal representatives would have to be notified before shipments of spent nuclear fuel enter their jurisdictions. This constant transportation greatly increases the chance of a radioactive spill due to a train or trucking accident. This kind of accident could be catastrophic. There is also concern that by moving the waste, it will become less secure and therefore a more accessible target for a terrorist attack. "Every one of these trucks, every one of these trains, is a target of opportunity for a...