Yucca Mountain Information

Link to Department of Energy's Office of Radioactive Waste Management Offices

In the late 1950s, the National Academy of Science looked into the then-upcoming nuclear-waste disposal situation. At the time reprocessing of the fuel elements was a “given”; thus, it was just the high-level, short half-life decay products that were being considered as nuclear waste. Scientists decided that vitrifying them (making them into glass), encasing them in stainless-steel containers, and burying the canisters in geological formations that hadn’t seen moisture in millions of years was the best way to keep them out of the biosphere and eliminate the possibilities of groundwater contamination. This also allowed for retrieval of the valuable radionuclides if that became desirable in the future.

Yucca Mountain

In 1978, the Department of Energy began studying Yucca Mountain, a 4,950-foot ridge in the uninhabited desert 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, as a site for the long-term storage of high-level nuclear wastes that by now were considered to include the recyclable fuel components. The facility, which has already been paid for by the nuclear power industry and its rate payers, was expected to begin accepting nuclear wastes in 1998. This did not happen due to a bitter fight over the issues of transportation dangers and the firm opposition by the anti-nuclear activists to even the most stringent safety measures to prevent migration of the waste products into the groundwater.


Click on image for video about Yucca Mountain.
Courtesy of teachers domain

Historical Key Documents

June 1985 -Mission Plan for the Civilian Radioactive Waste Management Program, Volume 1 - pages 1-250 and pages 251-490

May, 1986 A Multiattribute Utility Analysis of Sites Nominated For Characterization For the First Radioactive Waste Repository - A Decision Aiding Methodology Volume 1 - pages 1-250 & pages 251-483

December 1998, Viability Assessment of a Repository at Yucca Mountain,  Overview  - Volume 1  - Volume 2 - pages 1-250 & pages 251-327, Volume 3 - pages 1-250pages 251-500 & pages 501-525, Volume 4, Volume 5

February 2002, Yucca Mountain Science and Engineering Report

February 2002Recommendation by the Secretary of Energy Regarding the Suitability of the Yucca Mountain Site for a Repository Under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982

March 2004 Nuclear Waste Policy Act as Amended

September 4, 2007 Civilian Radioactive Waste Management System Requirements Document, Rev. 8

March 2008,  Transportation, Aging and Disposal System Performance Specification

Environmental Impact Statements

Total System Performance Assessment

March 2002, Final Environmental Impact Statement for a Geologic Repository for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada


December 2008,  Report to Congress on the Demonstration of the Interim Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel from Decommissioned Nuclear Power Reactor Sites

June 3, 2008  Yucca Mountain License Application

Peer Review Documents

Total System Performance Assessment

Igneous Consequences

Waste Package Materials Performance


Timelines for Yucca Mountain
Regulating Yucca Mountain
Licensing Yucca Mountain
News about Yucca Mountain