Read the article, Plutonium Peril, and answer the following questions:
1. What is the significance of Yucca Mountain, Nevada? Where is it located? Nuclear heat is a big subject. And you can surely feel that heat in Yucca Mountains which is located 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas. It is also located above ground near a weapons testing site
2. Why wasn't nuclear waste considered to be an issue when nuclear power was first being developed?
Building a massive mine to store nuclear waste wasn't in anyone's original game plan. At the dawn of the nuclear age engineers saw the "spent fuel" that came out of reactors as potentially more valuable than the slightly enriched uranium dioxide "fresh fuel" that went in. Nuclear fission does more than make the steam that spins electric generators.
3. How often is the radioactive fuel in a nuclear reactor replenished?
As the concentration of these newly created elements increases in the fuel, the thermal efficiency of the reactor decreases. Every two to three years a typical 1000-megawatt reactor must be shut down and a third of its 100-metric-ton fuel load replaced
4. What is the half-life of plutonium? How long are the nuclear waste storage casks expected to last?
A substantial portion of the radiation contained inside Yucca Mountain will be emitted from plutonium, which has a half-life of more than 20,000 years.
How do you contain so deadly a genie for so long a time? As POPULAR MECHANICS saw during a recent trip to Yucca Mountain, DOE's strategy can be summed up in one word–carefully. "Our estimate is that the first packages will fail in 10,000 years," Daniel R. Wilkins, assistant general manager of the repository, tells PM.
5. Why isn't a nuclear explosion a particular concern in the waste storage area?
There is no real threat of this because the inside of tunnel would not reach boiling point until 100 years later so no need for explosion concern. The article stated not for atleast 100 years.…