Nevada consultant warns of nuclear risks

LAS VEGAS - A Nevada consultant warned a Nuclear Regulatory Commission advisory panel Tuesday that the Energy Department is on course to submit a license application for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository that won't fully address public safety.

The two-day meeting of the NRC's Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste continues Wednesday.

Consultant Steve Frishman said safety risks involved with the potential for water entering the maze of tunnels where waste would be entombed in Yucca Mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, should be part of the application expected to be submitted to the NRC in 2002.

Water flooding the repository floor could result in deadly nuclear materials being carried off into the environment.

Durability of the canisters designed to hold the waste - some 77,000 tons of mostly spent nuclear fuel pellets - for at least 10,000 years is also in question, he said.


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