Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Dump Beset With Problems

The perpetually beleaguered nuclear waste dump being constructed at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain is coming under fire again, from several directions. Yesterday, Paul Craig, who recently resigned from the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board to make his concerns public, stated flatly that the Department of Energy’s current design for Yucca Mountain would leak radioactive waste. “The science is very clear,” Craig said. “If we get high-temperature liquids, the metal would corrode and that would eventually lead to leakage of nuclear waste.” Also yesterday, Margaret Chu, director of the DOE’s Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, made public a letter in which she accused DOE officials of allowing employees excavating the tunnels in Yucca Mountain to work without face masks despite knowing they were being exposed to unsafe levels of airborne silica particles. And a deposition from a former Yucca Mountain employee was uncovered, claiming that she was forced to falsify her field reports on the levels of silica in the tunnels.