Case Studies in Earth & Environmental Science Journalism

"Geological" Storage of Nuclear Waste at Yucca Mountain


Questions to Ponder and Discuss



Background information:

DOE Notice of Intent, Repository Environmental Impact Statement on WWW at

"Overview of Yucca Mountain" on WWW at

Forum in January 1989 issue of Geotimes, "Yucca Mountian: Geoscientists help make 10,000-year decision", includes statements from Dept. of Energy, Nevada Nuclear Waster Project Office, U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. Geological Survey.


Scientific Papers: Risk of Volcanism

Wells, S. G., McFadden, L. D., Renault, C. E. and Crowe, B. M., 1990. Geomorphic assessment of late Quaternary volcanism in the Yucca Mountain area, southern Nevada: Implications for the proposed high-level radioactive waste repository. Geology, 18: 549-553.

Turrin, B. D., Champion, D. and Fleck, R. J., 1991. 40Ar/39Ar age of the Lathrop Wells Volcanic Center, Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Science, 253: 654-657.

Conley, M., 1991. Scientific Disparity of Views on Yucca Mountain Leaves Public in Doubt. The Radioactive Exchange, 10: 20-22. (explains implications of Wells/Crowe vs. Turrin/Champion debate)

(letters from Crowe & Champion/Turrin in the Radioactive Exchange in followup to preceeding article).

Wells, S. G., Crowe, B. M. and McFadden, L. D., 1992. Technical Comment: Measuring the age of the Lathrop Wells Volcanic Center at Yucca Mountain. Science, 257: 555-558.

Turrin, B. D., Champion, D. E. and Fleck, R. J., 1992. Technical Comment Response: Measuring the age of the Lathrop Wells Volcanic Center at Yucca Mountain. Science, 257: 556-558.

Fleck, R. J., Turrin, B. D., Sawyer, D. A., Warren, R. G., Champion, D. E., Hudson, M. R. and Minor, S. A., 1996. Age and character of basaltic rocks of the Yucca Mountain region, southern Nevada. Jour. Geophys. Res., 101: 8205-8227.


Popular Articles: Risk of Volcanism

Monastersky, R., 1990. "Young" volcano near nuclear waste site. Science News, 137: 407.

Rogers, K., 1991, Debate erupts over volcanic risk at Yucca Mountain, Los Vegas Review-Journal, p.??, March 2, 1991.

Rogers, K., 1991, Federal geologist questions theories on Yucca Mountain volcanic history, Las Vegas Review-Journal, p. 4A, May 1, 1991.

UPI report following publication of Turrin et al article.

Rogers, K., 1992, Scientist: Volcano won't jar nuke site, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Rogers, K., 1992, Yucca Mountain volcanoes spur tiff, Las Vegas Review-Journal, p. 2B, Sept 16, 1992.


Scientific Articles: Risk of water table rising and flooding repository

Archambeau, C. B. and Price, N. J., An assessment of J. S. Szymanski's conceptual hydro-tectonic model and its relevance to hydorlogic and geologic processes at the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository: Minority report of the special DOE review panel, Univ. of Colorado, Report no. (read the section called "Symanski's Cyclic Hydro-Tectonic Model")

Quade, J. and Certling, T. E., 1990. Stable isotopic evidence for a pedogenic origin of carbonates in Trench 14 near Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Science, 250: 1549-1552.

Stuckless, J. S., Peterman, Z. E. and Muhs, D. R., 1991. U and Sr isotopes in ground water and calcite, Yucca Mountain, Nevada: Evidence against upwelling water. Science, 254: 551-554.

National Research Council: Panel on Coupled Hydrologic/Tectonic/Hydrothermal Systems at Yucca Mountain, 1992. Gound Water at Yucca Mountain: How high can it rise? National Academy Press, 231 pp. (Executive summary is in the packet; full report is on reserve in Geoscience Library, skim it).

Four AGU and GSA abstracts by J. S. Szymanski, plus results from GEOREF search on Szymanski.

Hill, C. A., 1995. Overview of calcite/opal deposits at or near the proposed high-level nuclear waste site, Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA: Pedogenic, hypogene or both? Env. Geol., 26: 69-88.


Popular Articles: Risk of water table rising and flooding repository

Broad, W. J., 1990, Researchers call Nevada site safe for atomic waste burial, New York Times, p. A-31, Dec 14, 1990. (following Quade & Cerling Science paper).

Broad, W., 1990, A mountain of trouble, The New York Times Magazine, p. 36-9+, Nov 18, 1990.

letters to the editor in follow up to Broad "Mountain of Trouble" article: published letters, unpublished letter from 19 USGS scientists, published & unpublished versions of Dudley letter.

Dalrymple editorial in EOS concerning Broad "Mountain of Trouble" article.

Carpenter, B., 1991. A nuclear graveyard. U.S. News & World Rept., 72-74.

Broad, W., 1991, Experts Clash on Risk at Nuclear Waste Site, New York Times, p. C-2, Dec 3, 1991. (following release of DOE report)

Marshall, E., 1991. The Geopolitics of Nuclear Waste. Science, 251: 864-867. (following release of DOE report)

Monastersky, R., 1991. Yucca Site: A conclusion and controversy. Sci. News, 140: 262. (following Stuckless Science paper)

NRC press release, April 13, 1992, concerning release of NRC report

Associated Press report, April 14, 1992, concerning release of NRC report.

Manning, M., 1992, State sticks by Szymanski's Yucca Theory, Las Vegas Sun, p. 12A, April 15, 1992. (following release of NRC report)

Manning, M., 1992, Yucca foes is all wet, Las Vegas Sun, p. ??, April 14, 1992. (further follow up to NRC report).

Rogers, K., 1992, Scientists say Yucca site stable, Las Vegas Review-Journal, p. ??, April 14, 1992. (follow up to NRC report)

Abramson, R., 1992, Challenge to Nevada A-Waste site rejected, Los Angeles Times, p. A3+, April 14, 1992. (following release of NRC report)

Broad, W. J., 1992, Experts dismiss flood threat at proposed nuclear dump, New York Times, p. C4, April 14, 1992. (following release of NRC report)

Monastersky, R., 1992. Nuclear site flooding hazard dismissed. Sci. News, 141: 247. (following release of NRC report)



Lessons Learned: Journalist's perspective

Helminski, E. and Conley, M., 1992. The Scientist, the paid consultant and building public confidence in waste management--a mine field (text of a talk given by two journalists who work for a newsletter called "The Radioactive Exchange.")


Return to Case Studies

Return to E& ESJ Home Page