Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM
NUCLEAR WASTE REPOSITORY SITING IN THE U.S.:GEOSCIENCE, GEO-POLICY, AND LESSONS LEARNED FROM PREVIOUS REPOSITORY SITING EXPERIENCE
Geoscience suitability was identified in the Blue Ribbon Commission Report as an integral component of a consent-based approach to find an amenable host community for permanent radioactive-waste disposal. Geoscience-based repository screening and siting criteria could be developed allowing efforts to focus on the identification of regions where potentially suitable natural attributes exist to isolate radioactive wastes. Initial screening based on geoscience attributes, historical resource extraction, potential for future resource development, water resources and critical ecosystems, for example, could be utilized to exclude unsuitable regions. An initial step is the organization and documentation of the geoscientific lessons learned from earlier repository siting and characterization experiences. Extensive information from the initial waste disposal programs (1960s–1980s) could be collected and assembled, along with updated resource information, into a GIS-based data set. The Yucca Mountain Project (1980s–2010) data, interpretive reports, and lessons learned could be compiled, organized and made available for future reference. This information is likely to contribute to an informed scientific foundation for future policy makers. Resolution of key geo-policy issues may be needed to clarify siting parameters for the geoscience and technical community. These decisions potentially will dictate waste emplacement methodologies (tunnel, deep borehole…etc.) and the types of host geologic media to be considered. Disqualifying distances could be established from known geo-hazards including for example: active volcanoes, high seismic risk zones, and climate-change driven sea level and inland water body rise. The site screening and selection process may benefit from the inclusion of independent and objective scientific organizations unencumbered by financial incentive or other motivations. Geoscience activities likely will be conducted in a high public visibility environment, necessitating transparent and open communication of geoscience information with members of the local communities and consenting entities.