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ABSTRACT

By Yucca Mountain Project, R. Mccullum, J. H. Kessler and M. L. Eyre

Abstract

International scientific consensus backing geologic disposal as the preferred method of long term management of used nuclear fuel and defense high level radioactive waste has existed since the 1950s. Furthermore, many believe that geologic disposal programs should be implemented in a staged or ‘step-wise ’ approach. These principles have also been at the root of US waste management policy for which a regulatory framework for site selection, and the licensing of a site once selected, is set forth in a series of legislation. The US program has now matured to the point where these regulatory components are now in place. Sufficient data has also been gathered and evaluated to support a site recommendation decision. This decision – on whether or not to proceed with a repository site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada – is about to be put before the US President and Congress. If made in the affirmative, the decision would initiate the next phase in the US disposal process as originally envisioned by Congress – a three-step repository licensing process (Construction, Operation, & Closure). This paper explores the many facets of the licensing process that may lie ahead. Approaches that could be deployed to effectively implement this process are discussed and opportunities to optimize the process, by capitalizing on its evolutionary nature to assure that the best available science is always applied to the protection of public health and safety, are identified. Focus is also placed on a key prerequisite to the accomplishment of this goal – the definition of the level to which post closure repository performance must be addressed at each stage of the licensing process

Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.134.5697
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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