Summary of Yucca Mountain Oversight and Impact Assessment Findings

January 1997

Table of Contents



Key Site Suitability Issues

The Implications of Water and Vapor Movement Within Yucca Mountain

Regional Aquifer System

Future Climate Variations

Fault and Earthquake Hazard

Volcanic Hazard

Geochemical and Thermal Conditions

Natural Resource Potential

Findings from Engineering Oversight

Findings from On-Site Monitoring

Findings from Environmental Oversight


In summary, the Agency's technical review, on-site monitoring, and independent studies lead to the conclusion that the Yucca Mountain site's natural conditions cannot isolate radioactive waste from the environment for 10,000 years and beyond, as required under federal regulations. While the Agency's assessment acknowledges that data and knowledge uncertainties in some issue areas are large, the Agency's evaluation of site conditions is based on available data (facts) and objective interpretations of the data, not on favorable assumptions, opinions, beliefs, or optimistic judgements about the site's viability.


In summary, the analyses undertaken to date indicate that the development of the Yucca Mountain repository represents a significant gamble for Nevada's future economy. The nature of that gamble cannot be specified precisely given the uncertainties inherent in the federal program, but the characteristics of Nevada's economy make it uniquely vulnerable to the risk-related impacts associated with high-level radioactive waste transportation and storage. The research has demonstrated that there exist credible possibilities of losses to the visitor economy, the retirement economy, and the business economy. These losses could be large and, under certain conditions, long-lasting.


In summary, the Agency's research has documented that there are substantial risks to Nevada communities and to communities in other states along potential shipping routes from the transport of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste to a repository or interim storage facility in Nevada. These risks are likely to be significant "drivers" of many of the socioeconomic and related impacts associated with the federal program. The Agency also found that DOE activities in the area of transportation analysis and planning have done little to attenuate these risks and could, in certain cases, actually exacerbate risks and their consequences.

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