INSTITUTE FOR ENERGY AND
ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH

Washington, D.C. Office:
6935 Laurel Ave.
Takoma Park, Maryland, 20912, USA

Phone: (301) 270-5500
FAX: (301) 270-3029
e-mail: ieer@ieer.org
http://www.ieer.org

Media Advisory

NEW GEOLOGIC STUDY SHOWS THAT WATER PENETRATED INTO PROPOSED SITE FOR HIGHLY RADIOACTIVE WASTE

Viability of Multi-Billion Dollar Yucca Mountain Site in Nevada Is Questioned

WHAT: News conference to release an IEER report showing evidence that in the geologic past, water has penetrated into the area of the Yucca Mountain site. Later this month, the Department of Energy will issue a viability assessment for the site, which is slated for disposal of highly radioactive waste from commercial reactors and military production of plutonium
WHERE:   Zenger Room, National Press Club
13th Floor, 329 14th Street NW, Washington DC
WHEN: Tuesday, December 1, 1998 -- 10 am
WHO: Dr. Yuri Dublyansky, Geologist with the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and author of the study.

Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of IEER, author and co-author on numerous articles, reports, and books on nuclear issues.

WHY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has spent billions of dollars and many years assessing Yucca Mountain. Many questions have been raised about the suitability of this site for disposal of high level waste. Among the most important is whether ground water has ever welled up into the currently unsaturated repository area. The choice of Yucca mountain as a repository site partially rests on its location well above the level of the water table, and in a dry climate. Dr. Dublyansky's analysis of samples taken in June 1998 from along the tunnel dug by DOE at Yucca Mountain provides fresh evidence regarding this issue. By studying "fluid inclusions" -tiny pockets of fluid trapped in minerals in the course of their formation - Dr. Dublyansky has found strong evidence of past ingress of waters of elevated temperature into the repository horizon. DOE has expressed interest in conducting joint sampling with Dr. Dublyansky at the site to resolve the issue. Yet, it plans later this month to release a Viability Assessment for Yucca Mountain. IEER's report stresses the need for further study before an assessment is issued.