Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

The Yucca Mountain Project: Licensing Work

Former OCRWM Director Ward Sproat delivers the license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. June 3, 2008.The 8,600-page license application (LA) for Yucca Mountain was the first ever submitted worldwide for permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste. LBNL scientists were the principal authors for two sections of the LA concerning unsaturated zone flow and seepage into waste emplacement drifts, and also made significant contributions to other sections of the license application concerning topics such as the near-field chemical environment and unsaturated zone radionuclide transport. The LA was accompanied by approximately 200 key supporting documents, and LBNL scientists authored or contributed to more than 20 major scientific reports supporting the license application.

Photo of the Yucca Mountain License ApplicationAfter docketing the LA, the NRC submitted more than 500 hundred requests for additional information (RAIs) to DOE. LBNL scientists participated in the development of responses for more than 30 RAIs concerning unsaturated zone flow, drift seepage, unsaturated zone radionuclide transport, and near-field chemical environment.  DOE closed out the Yucca Mountain project October 1, 2010, citing (1) Nevada’s strong opposition as one reason for terminating the project; and (2) scientific and technological advancements since the enactment of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, such as dry cask storage and advanced recycling, that may provide an opportunity to develop better alternatives to Yucca Mountain.