Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Yucca Mountain: Putting A Limit On Risk

Date:
December 5, 2007
Source:
Seismological Society of America
Summary:
Looking ahead 100 million years, new research puts a maximum limit of 3.6 meters per second on potential ground movement caused by earthquakes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the site of the proposed high-level radioactive waste repository. Yucca Mountain has unique characteristics that make it arguably the best location to store hazardous waste, chiefly a water table so low that it is possible to store steel canisters of waste 1000 feet below ground and 1000 feet above the water table. Two questions form the current debate: how dry will the site remain, and what is the risk from earthquakes?

Looking ahead 100 million years, new research puts a maximum limit of 3.6 meters per second on potential ground movement caused by earthquakes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the site of the proposed high-level radioactive waste repository.

Related Articles


Yucca Mountain has unique characteristics that make it arguably the best location to store hazardous waste, chiefly a water table so low that it is possible to store steel canisters of waste 1000 feet below ground and 1000 feet above the water table. Two questions form the current debate: how dry will the site remain, and what is the risk from earthquakes?

Seismic hazard assessments usually look at the risk over 500 to 1000 years. The Nuclear Regulatory Agency is requiring a much more cautious evaluation that exams what would happen with odds as low as 1 in 10,000 over 10,000 years, which would be equivalent to something that happens only once every 100 million years. Scientists study the past to help predict the future, but Yucca Mountain was formed only 10 million years ago, limiting the value of the historical record.

While the relative stability of the area is clear, some seismic hazard evaluations assessed potential movement at rates larger than experienced anywhere on earth. Researchers turned their attention instead to quantifying the maximum possible movement from any earthquake at Yucca Mountain, given its unique geological composition. Was there a limit to ground motion?

D. J. Andrews and colleagues at USGS looked at the worst-case scenario to find that the ground can move a maximum of 3.6 meters per second, which is near the most intense ground motion ever recorded anywhere, but is within the range of feasible engineering mitigation.

Andrews, et al., used a numerical method to calculate ground motion related to stress changes at the source of an earthquake and throughout the surrounding area to establish physical limits on extreme ground motion.

The authors suggest this new finding adds significantly to the body of evidence that supports a long-term stable seismic environment for Yucca Mountain and provides an opportunity to shift discussion to the large question of the comparable merits of available options for hazardous waste storage.

The full research article was recently published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. D. J. Andrews, Thomas C. Hanks, and John W. Whitney work at the U.S. Geological Survey -- Menlo Park.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Seismological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Seismological Society of America. "Yucca Mountain: Putting A Limit On Risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071204170120.htm>.
Seismological Society of America. (2007, December 5). Yucca Mountain: Putting A Limit On Risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071204170120.htm
Seismological Society of America. "Yucca Mountain: Putting A Limit On Risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071204170120.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) A new study of nearly two decades of satellite data shows Antarctic ice shelves are losing more mass faster every year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for 25 Oklahoma counties after powerful storms rumbled across the state causing one death, numerous injuries and widespread damage. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) At least four people have been killed by severe flooding in northern Chile after rains battered the Andes mountains and swept into communities below. Rob Muir reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oklahomans "devastated" By Tornado Damage

Oklahomans "devastated" By Tornado Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 26, 2015) Buildings and homes lay in ruins and a semi-truck gets flipped following a fierce tornado that left at least one person dead. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins