Yucca getting bigger and more expensive

Yucca Mountain plans are getting bigger and more expensive, according to a U.S. Department of Energy announcement in mid-August. The agency estimates the proposed radioactive waste repository at the Nevada Test Site will cost $96.2 billion through the time it is sealed in 2133—a 67 percent increase from costs estimated in 2001. Part of those costs are for expansion of the facility, as the DOE says it also plans to dump more nuclear power byproduct than previously expected—over 134,000 tons. A former congressional law said the site would hold a maximum of 77,000 tons.

On June 3, the DOE filed an application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for construction authorization for Yucca Mountain. The State of Nevada has filed a petition to reject it because it is “unauthorized and substantially incomplete,” reports the Environmental News Service. The NRC has until Sept. 1 to decide whether to accept it for further review.