Skip to main content Accessibility help

Lessons Learned from the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository Project The Engineered Barrier System

  • D. J. Duquette (a1), C. A. W. Di Bella (a2), R. M. Latanision (a2) and B. E. Kirstein (a2)


Nuclear waste isolation programs both inside and outside the United States have provided evidence that there are many geologic options for a repository, but virtually all of them rely to some degree on an engineered barrier system (EBS) to isolate and/or retard the migration of radionuclides to the biosphere. At Yucca Mountain, the design of the EBS was unexpectedly challenging because of uncertainties in quantitatively determining the local environment of the EBS particularly during the thermal pulse. The EBS design for the Yucca Mountain site evolved from a thin-walled, limited-lifetime, corrosion-resistant canister through a corrosion-allowance canister, to the present design, which may have a lifetime of more than 106 years. The EBS proposed for the Yucca Mountain repository has many individual sub-barriers, beginning with the spent fuel and waste, the cladding of the spent fuel, the geometry of the package, etc. The anticipated modes of degradation of engineering materials, including corrosion of the fuel, of the canister, and of the drip shield proposed specifically for the Yucca Mountain project, and the consequences of the materials degradation on the performance of the repository are presented. The roles of conservative modeling and simplifying assumptions for radionuclide mobilization and transport in the EBS on characterization of the source term are addressed.



Hide All
1. NWTRB, “Second Report to the U. S. Congress and the U.S. Secretary of Energy” (November 1990).
2. SNL (Sandia National Laboratories), “Total System Analysis Model/Analysis for the License Application”, MDL-WIS-PA-000005, Rev. 00 (2008).
3. SNL,” General Corrosion and Localized Corrosion of Waste Package Outer Barrier,” ANL-EBS-MD-000003, Rev. 03 (2007).
4. NRC (National Research Council), “ Technical Basis for Yucca Mountain Standards ,” National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. (1995).
5. Prather, K. A., Department of Chemistry, University of California at San Diego, personal correspondence (2010).
6. Gelencsér, A., Carbonaceous Aerosol, (Springer, the Netherlands, 2004).
7. Peterman, Z., United States Geological Survey, “Effects of Temperature on the Composition of Soluble Salts in Dust”, Presentation to the USNWTRB (January 2008).
8. Dubinko, V. I., Turkin, A. A., Vainshtein, D. I., and den Hartog, H. W., J. Nucl. Mater., 277, 184 (2000).10.1016/S0022-3115(99)00207-X
9. Weiss, H., Van Konynenburg, R. A., and McCright, R. D., “Metallurgical Analysis of 304L Stainless Steel Canister from the Spent Fuel Test – Climax”, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, UCID-20436 (1985).10.2172/59368
10. Murphy, W. M., Garrick, B. J. and Kirstein, B. E., “ A quantitative risk analysis perspective on the source term for the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain ”, ed. Burakov, B. E. and Aloy, A. S., (Mater. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc., 1123, Warrendale, PA, 2009)
11. Flint, A. L., Flint, L.E.. Hevesi, J. A., and Hudson, D. B., “Characterization of arid land-water balance processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada”, in Flow and Transport Through Unsaturated Rock, ed. Evans, D. D., Nicholson, T. J., and Rasmussen, T. C., American Geophysical Union Monograph, 135149 Washington, D. C. (2001).
12. Flint, A. L., Flint, L. E., Bodvarsson, G. S., Kwicklis, E. M., and Fabryka-Martin, J., J. Hydrology, 247, 130 (2001).10.1016/S0022-1694(01)00358-4
13. Buscheck, T. A., Rosenberg, N. D., Gansemer, J., and Sun, Y., “Thermohydrologic behavior at an underground nuclear repository”, Water Resources Research, 38, 10-1–10-19 (2002).10.1029/2000WR000010
14. Buscheck, T. A., “Multiscale Thermohydrologic Model”, ANL-EBS-MD-000049, Rev 03, Appendix X (2005).10.2172/883416
15. Bernot, P., “Dissolved Concentration Limits of Elements with Radionuclide Isotopes”, ANL-WIS-MD-000010, Rev 06, SNL (2007).
16. Murphy, W. M., “ Natural Analogues and Performance Assessment for Geologic Disposal of Nuclear Waste ”, (Mater. Res. Symp. Proc., 608, 533544, Warrendale, PA, 2000).
17. Murphy, W. M. and Grambow, B., Radiochemica Acta, 96, 563567 (2008).
18. Cui, D., Ranebo, Y., Low, J., Rondinella, V. V., Pan, J., and Spaniu, K., “ Immobilization of radionuclides on iron canister material at near-field conditions ”, (Mater. Res. Symp. Proc., 1124, 2009).
19. Ferriss, E. D. A., Helean, K. B., Bryan, C. R., Brady, P.V., and Ewing, R. C., J. Nucl. Mater., 384, 130 (2009)10.1016/j.jnucmat.2008.11.007

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Lessons Learned from the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository Project The Engineered Barrier System

  • D. J. Duquette (a1), C. A. W. Di Bella (a2), R. M. Latanision (a2) and B. E. Kirstein (a2)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.