Yucca Mountain is a future level 2, or high level, radioactive waste storage facility. The plan is to transport and store the waste within a larger dug out area deep within the earth. The mountain itself is only about 1000 ft tall, putting it at 4950 ft above sea level. View from the top of Yucca Mountain.
Yucca mountain is located in scenic Nevada, just a short 100 miles Northwest of Las Vegas, and a shorter 40 miles east of Death Valley. The closest family is living 14 miles away in the Amargosa Valley. The Amargosa Valley Death Valley
There are several types of wildlife on the Yucca mountain site. The plants include the cottontop cactus, mariposa Lily, Mormon Tea, Rock Lichen, and Scalebud. Some animals found within the yucca range are Black-tailed Jackrabbit, Desert Spiny Lizard, Gopher Snake, Tarantula, and Western Whiptail Lizard. Mariposa Lily Black-tailed Jackrabbit
Currently nuclear waste is stored on site, or slightly away from the nuclear reactors which produce it. It is usually buried below the earths surface. The problem with this is that the reactors tend to be in somewhat populated areas, therefore the waste is also in populated areas. The chances of rain water seeping into the ground, become irradiated and running into the main water supply are substantial enough that they pose a threat.
Nuclear waste and radiation can have drastic effects on living tissue depending on the amount we receive. Even people working on it regularly wear special badges that show signs when they have received too much radiation, and must take a break from work. Radiation can reach the general public through many different methods however.
To drill out Yucca Mountain we used several large boring machines (as seen at right). These machines made large tube-like entryways into the mountain. After we reached deep enough into the mountain, modern mining techniques were used to excavate and prep the site for the storage of nuclear waste.
Preparations being done are various geological studies, as well as many environmental studies. The permeability of the rock has been tested to see if leaks would seep into ground water, which they in fact would; however, the time it would take to reach the water table is long enough that the waste would be at a suitable radioactive level. This process would render the waste within the water nearly harmless.
<ul><li>The waste will be shipped from on sight nuclear waste plants to Yucca mountain. </li></ul><ul><li>The waste will be carried deep into the mountain on a rail entry system. </li></ul><ul><li>Once inside the waste will be stacked and stored in such a way that leaks will be unlikely, maybe impossible. </li></ul><ul><li>The areas being used will be sealed in a chamber like fashion. This is to avoid future workers being irradiated by older waste. </li></ul>