Dangers of Yucca Mountain

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Much as I'd rather the US annex Mexico and put all of its waste there, it seems that a place within the 48-state border must be selected as a repostiroy for all the dangerous waste that nuclear reactors have made in the past 50 years and all that is to come.

The best bet found so far is a mountain in the middle of a desert, far from people are far from the water table udnerneath. It is called Yucca Mountain, in Nevada.

Except for protesting Nevadans, there seems little reason not to make a centralized nuclear depostiroy. UIt would be much cheaper to maintain than hundreds of separate (overflowing) spots, and much more secure - you could put an army base at the door.



Problems: Yucca is not big enough. If we hollow the mountain, it's still not enough to contain all the nuclear waste that exists right now.

Yucca containers might leak.

If a container leaks, you can't send a human in there. Even if acure for cancer is found and the person puts germ cells in storage somewhere else, the radiation exposure would certainly kill in minutes in Yucca. Gotta be robots.



AAnd the pronblem I just thought of: if a bring-everyone-to-God group gets ahold of a nuclear weapon, and gets it within the USA, what's the best place to put it?

WHy, a place that would kill absolutely everyone, of course.



An atom bomb goes off in the mountain. I dion't know if the radioactives within the mountain would also undergo fission, but if they do it, it's an enormous explosion.



What's more imporant is the amount of radioactive posions released on Earth. There's certainly enough to kill everything on Earth's surface.



I think I'll write a story with this premiss.



[ 05-23-2002: Message edited by: cdhostage ]</p>
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    noahjnoahj Posts: 4,502member
    You had me right up to the end. Radioactive waste has to go somewhere unfortunately. It makes sense to sotre it in the same place that you store similar waste. OR at least store large quantities of it together in different locations.



    If all you worry about are how "bring everyone to god groups" might blow the place up then you are norrowing your focus a bit much I would say. And which groups would you worry about? Care to elaborate?



    Sure, religious extremists are a problem, but they are not the only threat to the US. The base should be well guarded and protected, for the safety of the nation and the world. In a mountain is about a good as that gets.
  • Reply 2 of 31
    cdhostagecdhostage Posts: 1,038member
    Well somehow the idea that a terrorist wouldn't kill EVERYONE doesn't ring true to me. Suicidal bombers kill everyone aeround them including themselfves, but do it to help their own groups.



    Detonating inside a full Yucca would kill everything on the surface,
  • Reply 3 of 31
    noahjnoahj Posts: 4,502member
    [quote]Originally posted by cdhostage:

    <strong>Well somehow the idea that a terrorist wouldn't kill EVERYONE doesn't ring true to me. Suicidal bombers kill everyone aeround them including themselfves, but do it to help their own groups.



    Detonating inside a full Yucca would kill everything on the surface,</strong><hr></blockquote>



    That does not follow my post very well. Never did I say that terrorist would not try to kill everyone. As I stated in other places there are wackos out there to whom life, even their own, is not that precious. They would gladly do that if they could know that they "won".



    The other point is, if the Yucca mountain is properly secured how do "they" get in?
  • Reply 4 of 31
    skipjackskipjack Posts: 263member
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by cdhostage:

    <strong>

    Problems: Yucca is not big enough. If we hollow the mountain, it's still not enough to contain all the nuclear waste that exists right now.</strong>



    Have you read anything that states this? Yucca Mountain should have plenty of room. Nuclear fuel is very compact.



    One answer is to repeal the laws that prohibit the reprocessing of nuclear fuel. Then the volume of waste would be relatively insignificant.



    <strong>Yucca containers might leak. If a container leaks, you can't send a human in there. Gotta be robots.</strong>



    Radiation levels for spent nuclear fuel are much lower than in an operating reactor. I would guess that the larger radiation hazard would be from the irradiated power plant machinery. I wouldn't have a problem responding to a leak in a waste storage facility.



    <strong>An atom bomb goes off in the mountain. I don't know if the radioactives within the mountain would also undergo fission, but if they do it, it's an enormous explosion.</strong>



    Well, first it is spent fuel and it will be dispersed. You won't see a nuclear explosion in a nuclear reactor because the fuel density is too low to begin with. With lots and lots of fast neutrons from the explosion of a nuclear bomb, you may have a lot of fissions, but there still won't be a critical mass and I'd guess you'd have a radiation spike which would be insignificant compared to the effect of the bomb. At the fuel densities for nuclear reactors, you want slow neutrons, which have a greater probability of causing a fission, and the fuel density for waste containers should be even less than in a fuel rod.



    <strong>What's more imporant is the amount of radioactive posions released on Earth. There's certainly enough to kill everything on Earth's surface.</strong>



    We put more radioactivity in the air by burning coal. In fact, there are uncontrolled coal fires all over the world, notably China.



    I've been out of the nuclear industry for a while and don't have references at my fingertips, but maybe these comments will stir some debate. For the most part they are somewhat informed speculations, except for the part about the hazards of coal and the existence of coal fires, which are definitely true.



    Meanwhile,



    <strong>I think I'll write a story with this premise.</strong>



    It would still be a good story, and people will believe it whether or not it is technically possible.
  • Reply 5 of 31
    stroszekstroszek Posts: 801member
    [quote]Originally posted by cdhostage:

    <strong>Much as I'd rather the US annex Mexico and put all of its waste there...</strong><hr></blockquote>



    nah. how about canada? then it can be buried in ice. who wants to go spend time on a glacier looking for nuclear waste?



    p.s. to all the canadians out there, i'm just kidding. don't hate me. please?
  • Reply 6 of 31
    scott_h_phdscott_h_phd Posts: 448member
    [quote]Originally posted by cdhostage:

    <strong>



    An atom bomb goes off in the mountain. I dion't know if the radioactives within the mountain would also undergo fission, but if they do it, it's an enormous explosion.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    That would never happen. You get fission by compressing the fuel. If the fuel is out side the shapped charge it cannot be compressed enough to undergo fission.
  • Reply 7 of 31
    cdhostagecdhostage Posts: 1,038member
    [quote]Originally posted by scott_h_phd:

    <strong>



    That would never happen. You get fission by compressing the fuel. If the fuel is out side the shapped charge it cannot be compressed enough to undergo fission.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Not as I understand it. Fission happens spontaneously, rather slowly compared to an explosion, to scattered atoms in a small lump of uranium.

    When a neutron from a previous fission hits an intact Uranium atom, it splits as well.



    The point of comppression is thus : neutrons travel at enormous speed when spat out by a fissioning atom. If you get all those uranium atoms closer to eachother, then the "natural" emission of neutrons is more likely to hit other atoms, which emit more neutrons of their own... a chain reaction all happening very very fast. Before the small piece of metal has time to rebound from being compressed by the explosive charges around it, its atoms have been split and an enormous amount of neutrons, heat, and radiation is released.



    The wave of neutrons might trigger nearby radionuclides. Even if they don't undergo fission, they can bescattered by the earlier explosion. Thus my idea.
  • Reply 8 of 31
    scott_h_phdscott_h_phd Posts: 448member
    Sigh. It wont happen.
  • Reply 9 of 31
    airslufairsluf Posts: 1,861member
  • Reply 10 of 31
    cdhostagecdhostage Posts: 1,038member
    More plausible than an evil group driving up to the gates and detonating:



    1) ICBM. Plenty of them left in the world. Aim one with GPS at the entrance to the mountain.



    2) Get a couple guys inside at one of the centers where the waste is being packed into the containers meant to last 10,000 years. Sneak your 5 pounds of plutonium covered with high explosives and detonator into one of the bins.

    Couple days later, it's in the mountain. have the timer set to when the place will be as full as you like, then set it off.
  • Reply 11 of 31
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    Nuclear waste is just that: waste. It's gone through its life as viable nuclear-grade plutonium, and is thus discarded. Besides, even if some of it were of reaction quality material, unless it is under extreme pressure and heat, it won't bother to create a chain reaction because that only happens when they can't avoid one another at incredible speeds. They won't fission unless forced. That's why you need the pressure and heat, and a smaller container.



    If someone blew up a device there, it would throw the radioactive waste all over. That's really the biggest threat to national security: that some of this waste could be collected to be used as poison or in a "dirty" bomb.



    Think of the situation like a network. One server is easier to manage than many until it gets too big. Then when it fails, all hell breaks loose. One dump like this is easier to manage until it is too big to keep an eye on all of it. And once it is breached or fails, then all hell breaks loose.
  • Reply 12 of 31
    skipjackskipjack Posts: 263member
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by cdhostage:

    <strong>1) ICBM. Plenty of them left in the world. Aim one with GPS at the entrance to the mountain.</strong>



    I think the primary blast will be a more significant effect. If you want to contaminate the world, go after a large operating reactor. Boiling water type preferably. One of the Chernobyl design if you can still find one.



    <strong>2) Get a couple guys inside at one of the centers where the waste is being packed into the containers meant to last 10,000 years. Sneak your 5 pounds of plutonium covered with high explosives and detonator into one of the bins.

    Couple days later, it's in the mountain. have the timer set to when the place will be as full as you like, then set it off.</strong>



    They aren't like garbage bins. This isn't meant to be accurate, but expect to find a specified amount of waste material incorporated in a glass compound and then maybe in a metal cannister. Your guys would probably have to sneak a pre-built bomb in a simulated cannister. Not likely.



    How about an international conspiracy. Terrorists fire a nuke at Yucca Mountain. Evil president takes advantage of the situation to fire retaliatory strikes on suspected perpetrators and starts a full scale war on terror against targets of his choice. Scientist assigned to assess damage to Yucca Mountain finds falsified reports grossly overestimating the effects of the blast. Somehow the scientist finds links to the Oval Office and uncovers the evil president's grand plan. Will the scientist find the right people to tell? Black helicopters. Former KGB agents in the US on the side of the good guys. Can the evil president be stopped? Is he or she a mole? A terrorist? Or just a typical meglomaniac?



    To find out, but the book by cdhostage.
  • Reply 13 of 31
    As someone else noted, and I don't know how true it is, the level of radiation would kill anyone walking around in there for any length of time. Nukes are powerful but an ICBM aimed at the door might do nothing more than close off the entrance. It is a mountain you know.
  • Reply 14 of 31
    bluesignsbluesigns Posts: 315member
    what can we do about NOT using such a filthy, planet-threatening process for making energy?
  • Reply 15 of 31
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,037member
    The level of ignorance here astounds me.



    1. Yucca mountain is quite "big enough".



    2. Have you ever seen pictures of the system they would use? The waste would be deep within the mountain, surrounded by steel, concrete, and encased in state of the art containers.



    3. The only danger would be if the whole mountain was blown away. Very unlikely. Any nuke launched at us is more likely to take out a population center than the mountain. And, we all know those GPS guided thermonuclear weapons are a dime a dozen. I mean, ****, EVERYONE has them!



    4. There is no way the material would detonate. It isn't the same as weapons grade plutonium.



    5. Making a nuke isn't the same as "taking 5 LBS of plutonium and strapping explosives and detonators to it".......if it were, we would all be dead by now.



    [ 05-26-2002: Message edited by: SDW2001 ]</p>
  • Reply 16 of 31
    [quote]Originally posted by bluesigns:

    <strong>what can we do about NOT using such a filthy, planet-threatening process for making energy?</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Well? It's a lot cleaner than the other stuff we burn to make electricity.
  • Reply 17 of 31
    noahjnoahj Posts: 4,502member
    [quote]Originally posted by SDW2001:

    <strong>The level of ignorance here astounds me.



    {then post his 5 points}</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Thank you SDW2001. Well spoken.
  • Reply 18 of 31
    [quote]what can we do about NOT using such a filthy, planet-threatening process for making energy?<hr></blockquote>



    <a href="http://www.fortunecity.com/greenfield/bp/16/test.jpg"; target="_blank">http://www.fortunecity.com/greenfield/bp/16/test.jpg</a>;



    I know only so well that 99% of stuff in this *area* is totally BS, where fakes and charlatans abound....but the Methernitha generator (see above) is the real article.



    [ 05-26-2002: Message edited by: Samantha Joanne Ollendale ]</p>
  • Reply 19 of 31
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,037member
    [quote]Originally posted by Samantha Joanne Ollendale:

    <strong>



    <a href="http://www.fortunecity.com/greenfield/bp/16/test.jpg"; target="_blank">http://www.fortunecity.com/greenfield/bp/16/test.jpg</a>;



    I know only so well that 99% of stuff in this *area* is totally BS, where fakes and charlatans abound....but the Methernitha generator (see above) is the real article.



    [ 05-26-2002: Message edited by: Samantha Joanne Ollendale ]</strong><hr></blockquote>



    My astonishment at the ignorance here has now been replaced by my yelling "WTF is SJO talking about"?????



    I have never heard of that thing before....what is it?
  • Reply 20 of 31
    [quote]My astonishment at the ignorance here has now been replaced by my yelling "WTF is SJO talking about"????? I have never heard of that thing before....what is it?<hr></blockquote>



    SDW, I am not an engineer and I cannot explain how that device works. But a relative of mine who has visited the place on a number of occasions has seen it functioning, and it does work...they (the Methernitha Community in Switzerland) have 3 or 4 of those generators which supposed convert the "Zero Point Energy" of the vacuum of space itself into usuable electricity which supplies their community. This sounds kind of "out there" and wacky but it isn't a "perpetual motion" machine, which of course we all know is *NOT* possible.



    Here's a link on "zero point energy. Perhaps this is the source of "energy" that this machine taps?



    T. Henry Moray of Salt Lake City back in the 1920s also built a similar machine....

    <a href="http://www.cheniere.org/books/excalibur/moray.htm"; target="_blank">http://www.cheniere.org/books/excalibur/moray.htm</a>; except this one had no moving parts, and incandescent lamps that were powered by his generator ran *cold* (!!!)...weird.



    Any physicists here?



    <a href="http://www.sciam.com/1297issue/1297yam.html"; target="_blank">http://www.sciam.com/1297issue/1297yam.html</a>;



    <a href="http://users.erols.com/iri/ZPENERGY.html"; target="_blank">http://users.erols.com/iri/ZPENERGY.html</a>;
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