Nevada's anti-nuclear activists inadvertently received good news from the Department of Energy recently. The requirements to run DOE's simulation - on whether the proposed nuclear waste dump at Nevada's Yucca Mountain will work - is so complicated, no one can run it, reports the Nevada Appeal.
The proposed controversial nuclear waste site in Yucca Mountain, Nevada needs a network of a total of 752 processors operating in tandem, said Bob Loux, chief of the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects.
"No participant can reasonably expect to duplicate" the computer cluster, Loux said in a letter sent Tuesday to Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Dale Klein.
"The model is so complicated and so large, and takes so many computers to run it," Loux said, "that it is fundamentally not checkable by any third party, including the NRC staff."
Nevada's opposition to accepting the nation's 77,000 tons of radioactive waste for burial in Yucca Mountain is growing, especially after the DOE admitted that the system is too complex for a third party such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, for review.
The Total System Performance Assessment has to be able to calculate repository safety over thousands of years, Energy Department and Yucca Mountain spokesman Allen Benson said.
"The computer system in place allows for thousands of calculations to be made in a reasonable time at minimal cost," Benson said. "These calculations allow the evaluation of repository safety - our primary concern - in the manner required by the NRC."
The assessment, which must be done by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is the cornerstone of the DOE's bid to receive the repository license.