Erosion of the Yucca Mountain crest

May 5, 2009

The Yucca Mountain crest in Nevada, USA has been proposed as a permanent site for high level radioactive waste. But a new study, already published as an article in press by Elsevier's journal Geomorphology and recently included in the Research Highlights of Nature, shows that there may be erosion of the crest.

Kurt Stüwe of the University of Graz, Austria, together with his colleagues, used a simple numerical landscape evolution model to explore the rate of erosional decay of the Yucca Mountain crest. The model they used is well established in the expert literature, but Kurt Stüwe and his coauthors used it for the first time for a subject of economic relevance.

The researchers predict that the crest could be denuded within 500.000 years to 5 million years, using conservative parameters as the local geology of the region. It may be even more rapid if other factors are involved. The erosion procession also have the potential to affect the long-term stability of this repository.

"In our research of the morphological imprint of tectonics in mountain belts around the world, it was exciting to be able to apply our numerical models to a subject of high interest to experts outside the narrow field of geomorphology or tectonics".commented Dr. K. Stüwe, the study's lead investigator.

More information: The article "Erosional decay of the Yucca Mountain crest, Nevada" by K. Stüwe, J. Robl and S. Matthai appeared in Geomorphology, Articles in Press (28 January 2009), published by Elsevier. http://www.elsevier.com/locate/geomorph

Source: Elsevier

Explore further: 20 years of Yucca Mountain research now available for scientific review

Related Stories

Yucca Mountain: Good spot for nuke waste?

December 6, 2007

A U.S. government study suggests the proposed Yucca Mountain radioactive waste repository in Nevada is arguably the best location for such storage.

Feds unveil Yucca Mountain cleanup plans

October 27, 2005

U.S. Energy Department officials have announced plans to make Yucca Mountain a "clean" nuclear waste dump, but Nevada officials aren't happy.

Washington proposes nuclear reprocessing

December 27, 2005

Radioactive waste reprocessing from U.S. nuclear power plants, which has never worked in the United States, is being proposed in Washington.

Researcher urges nuclear waste options

August 18, 2006

The Bush administration is eagerly pushing nuclear power as a way to help solve the U.S. energy crisis. But in its new plan for nuclear waste management, the administration is taking the wrong approach, says an MIT professor ...

Recommended for you

Scientists examine bacterium found 1,000 feet underground

December 8, 2016

Pioneering work being carried out in a cave in New Mexico by researchers at McMaster University and The University of Akron, Ohio, is changing the understanding of how antibiotic resistance may have emerged and how doctors ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

GrayMouser
not rated yet May 06, 2009
1) There is no reason to believe humans will exist in 500K years, much less 5M years.
2) Every exposed surface on the face of the Earth is subject to erosion.
3) This is a computer model projecting things far beyond what can be expected to be reasonable. What are the error margins? What is the projected climate? What were the assumptions?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.