Blog by Rod Baltzer, COO of Deep Isolation

Viewpoint: Yucca Mountain

North Portal of Yucca Mountain
The north portal of Yucca Mountain. Photo by Steve Marcus, Las Vegas Sun 3/27/98

I’ve spoken to a lot of people over the past year about Deep Isolation and our deep, geologic horizontal drilling solution for nuclear waste.  One frequent question I hear is “what is Deep Isolation’s position on Yucca Mountain as a repository for the US”? While there has been an extensive amount of time and effort invested in the proposed Yucca Mountain repository for nuclear waste, our company does not take a position and remains neutral on this decades-long effort. I think I should explain why in a little more detail.

The first thing I want to note is that there is no real need for Deep Isolation to have a position on the proposed Yucca Mountain repository, as its legislated capacity of 63,000 metric tons falls short of the nearly 80,000 metric tons of waste currently in the US. There is a daunting amount of waste to safely dispose of that already exceeds Yucca’s capacity. We think a Deep Isolation solution is a good option as a second repository.

It is also important to share something about Deep Isolation’s employees and consultants – they are a group of diverse, eclectic, and very thoughtful experts.  We have staff that has been involved in nuclear waste for their entire careers and those that didn’t know anything about nuclear waste until they joined the company.  It makes for some really interesting team meetings; but, it also gives each of us better insight into the values and concerns each of us bring to the company about nuclear waste – whether that is a concern with the status quo or a concern with a particular nuclear waste.

I personally have been involved in nuclear waste for over 20 years. I have my own views on Yucca Mountain as does everyone in the company. But we all equally recognize that there is enough nuclear waste to go around and that whatever solutions are chosen, the US needs to get its disposal efforts moving.

At Deep Isolation we have corporate values that encourage us to be inclusive and consider each other’s positions.  Our private owners and advisory board members have diverse views as well – but they all want a solution for nuclear waste.  We believe the Deep Isolation solution provides an additional disposition pathway for commercial spent nuclear fuel and DOE nuclear waste inventories and should be considered a second repository disposal option.

Deep Isolation’s charge is to make forward progress on nuclear waste disposal but to do so in a dialogue with all stakeholders.  We do that every day and hope you’ll join our discussions.

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