By FRANK L.PARKER
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Fixing problems vs. anticipating problems. S. ” One result is a 6,300-page “Site Characterization Plan” for Yucca Mountain. For the reasons described above, however, a process based on getting all of the needed measurements and analysis on the first pass, with acceptably high quality, is not likely to succeed. The geological environment will always produce surprises, like the pockets of pressurized brine at WIPP. No matter what technical approach is initially adopted, the design can be improved by matching it with specific features of the site.
S. HLW program is bound by requirements that may be impossible to meet, even though overall dose limits can be achieved. S. radioactive waste disposal program, as well as (and in part because of) high levels of uncertainty and public unease about the performance of the repository. The Board's consideration of these subjects indicates that the proper response to distrust is greater openness in the process, and that the proper response to uncertainty is greater knowledge and flexibility, as well as redundancy of barriers to nuclide transport.
It may be appropriate to delay the licensing application, or even the scheduled opening of the repository, until more of the uncertainties can be resolved. The Secretary of Energy's recent announcement of a more realistic schedule, with the repository opening in 2010 rather than 2003, is a welcome step. 2. The Environmental Protection Agency, during its revision of the remanded 40 CFR Part 191, should reconsider the detailed performance standards to be met by the repository, to determine how they affect the level of health risks that will be considered acceptable.
BOARD ON RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT by FRANK L.PARKER