The June 22 Energy 202 column, “Push to revive nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain riles lawmakers,” reported that the Energy Department has revived the plan for the high-level nuclear-waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The plan is being opposed by three Nevada politicians. This important repository for nuclear waste was long blocked by former Nevada senator Harry Reid (D), using his position as majority and then minority leader.
I visited Yucca Mountain during construction of the repository. Two things struck me. Standing atop the mountain, you can see for vast distances. There is no human activity in view other than the Yucca Mountain site and the nearby weapons test site, where more than 900 nuclear-weapons tests have been conducted. The area is brown with very little vegetation.
Also, the tunnel into the mountain is very dry. At one time, I was responsible for drilling a very large tunnel in conjunction with a power plant. I have visited several tunnel sites. The first thing you are issued is a raincoat. Driving through highway tunnels, water from leakage is always apparent. This is true almost everywhere. But Yucca Mountain is dry. Sections of the tunnel have to be closed to ventilation to get the humidity to rise. It is unlikely a better location for the disposal of nuclear waste could be found.
Let us hope that the long-needed Yucca Mountain repository can proceed to completion.
Frank Cole, Williamsburg, Va.