Review of the Development of the Transportation, Aging, and Disposal (TAD) Waste Disposal System for the Proposed Yucca Mountain Geologic Repository

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) began studying Yucca Mountain in 1978 to determine whether it would be suitable for the nation’s first long-tem geologic repository for over 70,000 metric tons of spent (or used) nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The purpose of the continuing Yucca Mountain study, or project, is to comply with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 as amended in 1987 and develop a national disposal site for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste disposal. In 2005, DOE shifted the design of the proposed repository from a concept of unloading spent nuclear fuel from transportation canisters and loading into disposal canisters (which required a great deal of handling radioactive material at the repository site) to a “clean” facility, unveiling the transportation, aging, and disposal (TAD) canister system. The TAD waste system consists of a canister loaded with commercial spent nuclear fuel.

This review paper provides a comprehensive review on the status of TAD, technical and licensing requirements, the work that has been done so far, and the challenges and issues that must be addressed before TAD can be successfully implemented. Though the future of the Yucca Mountain project is bleak at this point, the progress that has come in the field of TAD will be one of its lasting legacies.


Mechanical Engineering | Nuclear Engineering | Oil, Gas, and Energy


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