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Radiation Protection

What is the Yucca Mountain repository?

The Yucca Mountain repository is the proposed spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level radioactive waste (HLW) repository where both types of radioactive waste could be disposed. If constructed, it would use a tunnel complex approximately 1000 feet below the top of Yucca Mountain and about 1000 feet above the aquifer underlying the repository. The basic idea of geologic disposal is to place carefully packaged radioactive materials in tunnels deep underground. To achieve this, the Yucca Mountain repository would utilize a mixture of natural and engineered barriers to isolate the waste from the surrounding environment.

It is statutorily limited to containing 70,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste, unless a second repository opens during its operational lifetime.

Return to Frequent Questions about Radiation Protection.