If you are keen to know everything about Yucca Mountain, read BLDG BLOG: One Million Years Of Isolation: An Interview With Abraham Van Luik. Seekerblog isn’t much interested in Yucca Mountain because we now know that we do not want to “bury” the incredibly valuable asset of unburned nuclear fuel.
I found the link to the BLDG BLOG article on Stewart Brand’s Chapter 4 webpage. In stark contrast to the Yucca Mountain fiasco Canada has developed a sensible strategy for managing unburned nuclear fuel — again from Brand’s page:
A year after the Yucca trip, Global Business Network was invited to run a scenario workshop for Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization, which was conducting a series of meetings to explore what Canada should do with the waste from its twenty-two CANDU nuclear reactors.…
After eighty meetings across Canada, the nation’s nuclear waste policy emerged. It is based, says a report from the organization, on the principle of “Respect for Future Generations: we should not prejudge the needs and capabilities of the future. Rather than acting in a paternalistic way, we should leave the choice of what to do with the used fuel for them to determine.” Accordingly, Canada has an “adaptive phased management” plan, where the spent fuel remains in wet and dry storage at the reactor sites while a “near term” (1 to 175 years) centralized shallow underground facility is built, designed for easy retrieval; that will be followed by a deep geological repository for permanent storage. Future Canadians have options at every step. No mention is made of 10,000 years. The report does note that “during the 175-year period, the overall radioactivity of used fuel drops to one-billionth of the level when it was removed from the reactors.…”