EPA's Million-Year Regulation

EPA is expected to issue a regulation for Yucca Mountain, Nevada -- the proposed site for a massive nuclear waste repository -- that will extend one million years into the future. A universal warning sign that will last 10,000 years is selected.

In 2002, after Congress and President Bush approved plans to store power plant nuclear waste material inside Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the EPA was placed in charge of laying out the repository's building codes, designed to last 10,000 years.

"We thought that [10,000 years] was generally the limit of scientific certainty in our ability to predict with confidence," says Cotsworth.

But opponents of the Yucca Mountain plan filed a lawsuit which argued that the regulation did not extend far enough into the future. After the courts agreed, the EPA extended the regulation by 100 times, to 1 million years."

The report and article also feature the winning design from the Desert Space Foundation's contest to design a universal warning sign for the Yucca Mountain Site.

"In 2002, Abbey created a design competition to find a permanent warning sign for the proposed nuclear waste site. The purpose of the competition, he says, is to find a universal warning sign which conveys that the deposit is highly dangerous. One caveat: the symbols have to work even if language or communication breaks down in the future. And the design has to last at least 10,000 years."

Thanks to Ashwani Vasishth

Full Story: EPA Expected to Issue Million-Year-Long Regulation

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