August 4, 1997


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If you’re depositing nuclear waste, you want to be sure you’re putting it in a safe spot. You want to be very sure. So, you take your time; it’s not a decision to rush into.

Even if you think that the barren desert of Yucca, Nevada, might be the best place, you would certainly want to spend some money and time making sure the waste will do no harm to man or nature.

In fact, Yucca Mountain has become the proverbial bottomless pit for U.S. tax dollars. Despite spending $3 billion dollars and two decades’ worth of time, the federal government is still not willing to say if they’ve found a safe place to bury nuclear waste.

Yucca Mountain may be a classic case of a federal program run amok. It has had huge cost overruns, incredible scheduling delays, management problems, changing criteria, political opposition, and scientific controversy.

The original estimated cost of the study was $60-80 million. The study has thus far cost 37 times more than the original estimate — and it’s not even close to being finished yet.

During two decades of study, the government has accumulated over one million pages of scientific data, yet they still haven’t answered basic questions about water infiltration into the mountain. The current director of the project says that additional data accumulation will take until the year 2001. Only then will the decision be made to start the application process. And then, of course, if the application process is successful, the thing would actually have to be built. The $3 billion and 20 years thus far is
just to decide whether or not to apply for the permit.

The original deadline for opening the repository was 1998. The year 2015 is now the best guess as to when the repository might really open.

We should note that the nearest major city to Yucca Mountain is Las Vegas. But, even in Sin City, you can’t get anyone to take a bet on when this program will ever end, or what it will cost.

(Source: Newsday .)

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