United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Evaluating Igneous Activity at Yucca Mountain: Technical Basis for Decisionmaking (NUREG-1890)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: February 2008
Date Published:
February 2008

Prepared by:
W.J. Hinze1, B.D. Marsh2, R.F. Weiner1, N.M. Coleman1

2Johns Hopkins University
3400 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

1Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste and Materials
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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Abstract

Eighty thousand years ago a small-volume basaltic volcano, the Lathrop Wells volcano, erupted about 20 kilometers south of the Department of Energy’s proposed high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Lathrop Wells is one of a series of infrequent basaltic volcanoes that have occurred near the proposed repository site during the past 10 million years. This report presents the Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste and Materials (ACNW&M) summary and analysis of the range of current technical views on the nature, likelihood, and potential consequences of future igneous activity at the proposed repository. This report responds to the request of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Staff Requirements Memorandum M06011B, February 9, 2006. The technical views have been abstracted from published literature and public agency reports and presentations. The alternative views reflect uncertainties of the igneous processes that have occurred in the region and those that are likely to occur in the future, as well as the interaction of these processes with the proposed repository. Analysis of the views and observations is based on professional judgment and quantitative considerations within the scope of the resources available to ACNW&M.

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