Letter: Computer models not for Yucca, either

The article by Bob Thomas, "Concorde's design, engineering made safe aircraft" clearly pointed out the limitations of computer simulation. Mr. Thomas stated, "computer programs aren't that good because no flights are ever the same in terms of stress." This statement flies in the face of a previous article written by Mr. Thomas regarding the safety of Yucca Mountain.

The Department of Energy is attempting to convince the public that they can stimulate the structural integrity of the containers that will contain high level nuclear waste for a period exceeding 100,000 years. The computer simulations must take into account long term high temperature on the metal, high corrosion effects and various stress changes due to temperature and pressure variations that will occur over 100,000 years.

Mr. Thomas, in the previous article, wanted us to let the "scientists" solve the problem. The cornerstone of the entire Yucca Mountain project is computer simulation. Engineers have a difficult time simulating three decades into the future as stated in the Concorde article. Mr. Thomas, in a previous article, defended the DOE because he must believe that DOE has the tools to predict 10,000 decades into the future.

Mr. Thomas, DOE may be smart, but no honest scientist believes that simulations can be accurate within a factor of 10, 100,000 years in the future. You can't have confidence in the DOE analysis if you are sincere regarding your very informative article on the Concorde. Will the "real" Mr. Thomas step forward?


Carson City


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