Abandon Yucca Mountain

Today we are using an immense amount of energy that is unnatural to Earth.  People have been affecting our environment with their need for more energy, which is causing global warming.  When it comes to nuclear energy, there is a great debate.  Where do we put the leftover waste?  In the past, not much was known about nuclear energy, but now scientists have studied it thoroughly.  The advances in nuclear energy are promising, but there is no single secure place to store the nuclear waste.  In 1987, Yucca Mountain, located in Nevada, was announced to become the single repository for the nuclear waste.  Other states should be responsible for the disposal of their nuclear waste.

President Obama has recently stopped funding for Yucca Mountain, which will most likely keep it from opening.  The project is very expensive, and not a priority.  The United States’ economy is already struggling so why add billions of dollars more to our debt?  Yucca Mountain won’t even fix our problem with nuclear waste.  The site is “limited to 70,000 metric tons of UNF and defensive related waste” and we already have “more than 60,000 metric tons of UNF stored on the U.S.” (Hylko, How to Solve).  With the exception of 10,000 metric tons of waste, there will still be no single place to put the leftover waste if the U.S. uses nuclear energy.  Each state will have to take the responsibility of holding their nuclear waste, which in many cases, is a safer plan.

The idea of transporting nuclear waste across the Unites States is dangerous.  Obama’s decision to cut funding is great news because it not only prevents Nevada from becoming the nation’s nuclear dumping ground, it also protects hundreds of communities through which the waste would have had to travel in order to get to Yucca Mountain.  What happens if there’s an accident?  The possible danger of sending nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain is the same as disarming a bomb in the middle of a populated mall.  The United States cannot take the chance of transporting the material to one location.  Think about all the people in Nevada.  Would they want over 60,000 tons of nuclear waste directed to their state?  Yucca Mountain might not even be environmentally safe.

Some scientists still believe the location of the repository is not ideal.  There is the “… likelihood of the degradation of the storage containers and the occurrence of earthquakes…” (Yucca Mountain, Col. Elect. Encyc.).  Earthquakes are unpredictable and give reason that there is too high of a risk to use Yucca Mountain.  There has even been “…a realization that water flows through Yucca Mountain a lot faster than initially believed. That raises the prospect that the nuclear waste would leach over time, polluting the water table (Wald, Future Dim).  The decision of continuing the project with the chance of water pollution is inhumane.  We are entering a green age and there is no purpose in building something that goes against where the world is heading too.

States can regulate their own nuclear waste, which in turn, will allow an increase in energy production.  Our nation does not need Yucca Mountain to achieve an increase in energy.  Allowing states to control their nuclear waste will also employ many residents.  There have been multiple nuclear disasters caused by failing reactors, but with today’s technology, there is a slim to none chance for error.  People assume it is bad and argue that the U.S. should not rely on nuclear energy, but with our advances, nuclear power will help support our lifestyles.  What do you think the US should do?


Hylko, James M. “How to solve the used nuclear fuel storage problem.” Power 152.8  (2008): 58-1NULL. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Feb. 2010.

Wald, Mathew L. “Future Dim for Nuclear Waste Repository.” The New York Times [New York City] 6 Mar. 2010, A15 sec. The New York Times. The Associated Press, 5 Mar. 2010. Web. 5 Mar. 2010.

“Yucca Mountain.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th edition (2009): 1. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Feb. 2010.



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