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A News of the Weird Classic (September 2005)


October 7th, 2010

In July 2004, a federal appeals court ruled that the leak-safety standards for the long-awaited nuclear waste repository at Nevada's Yucca Mountain were too weak.

Innumeracy: In July 2004, a federal appeals court ruled that the leak-safety standards for the long-awaited nuclear waste repository at Nevada's Yucca Mountain were too weak, in that the Environmental Protection Agency could regard the facility as safe for "only" the next 10,000 years (100 centuries). One National Academy of Sciences panel had recommended against the site unless leak safety could be certified for at least 300,000 years. In August 2005, EPA issued a revised durability standard, claiming, somehow, that the site would be free of unsafe leaks for 1 million years. (Perspective: Everything we know about radiation has come in just the last 110 years. Now, imagine a radiation-safety "learning curve" expected to go flat for the next 10,000 " or 300,000 " or 1 million years.)
 
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