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Volunteer Towns Sought For Nuclear Waste 279

Hugh Pickens writes "Brian Wingfield writes in Bloomberg that the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future has sent a draft report to Energy Secretary Steven Chu recommending that US communities should be encouraged to vie for becoming a federal nuclear-waste site as a way to end a decades-long dilemma over disposing of spent radioactive fuel and says this 'consent-based' approach will help cut costs and end delays caused when the federal government picks a site over the objections of local residents, 'This means encouraging communities to volunteer (PDF) to be considered to host a new nuclear-waste management facility,' says the commission. Chu named the panelists after Obama canceled plans to build a permanent repository at Nevada's Yucca Mountain after the Yucca site was opposed by politicians from the state. 'The United States has traveled nearly 25 years down the current path only to come to a point where continuing to rely on the same approach seems destined to bring further controversy, litigation, and protracted delay,' says the report. The Blue Ribbon Commission cited as a 'success' the US Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, New Mexico, which has accepted and disposed of some defense-related nuclear waste for more than a decade demonstrating that that 'nuclear wastes can be transported safely over long distances and placed securely in a deep, mined repository.' With the right incentives, 'there will be a great deal of support' for a waste site near the New Mexico facility, says former Senator Pete Domenici."
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Volunteer Towns Sought For Nuclear Waste

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  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 31, 2011 @06:41PM (#36941862)

    The process of re-refining that "waste" is the same that's used to create weapons grade material. Don't get me wrong, I believe they should be reusing it but I can see why people would be worried about allowing it.

  • by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @06:49PM (#36941924) Homepage

    How about a day, announced a month or so in advance, where all nuclear power plants in the US are simply turned off? For 24 hours.

    How about delivering a 50lb sack of coal ash to every single household in the US the day after, so they can see what the result of coal-fired power plants really is? It would need to include a full-color brochure listing all of the toxic substances that come out of the chimney from a coal plant as well.

    If we did these things there might be less opposition to dealing with nuclear waste. Oh, and how about some PSAs showing a huge mountain of materials saying that nobody could go near this for 10,000 years and then show the small trash can that shows what is left after reprocessing.

    Instead of doing any of these things we are allowing the pseudo-environmental movement to control the discussion to the point where we will be shutting down nuclear plants in the US, we will be shutting down coal plants in the US and we will have a new electrical system whereby there is power during the day and nothing at night. If you are rich and can afford 100KWh of batteries, you might have lights and TV at night. Maybe, until someone passes some regulations saying that it is discriminatory and unfair.

    The US is clearly headed down the path of unreliable electric power with limited capacity. How will this affect future generations? Well, you can bet that computers in the home will not be a big deal in the future - unless they run on batteries that are charged up during the day.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @07:26PM (#36942168) Homepage Journal

    Give the communities the mineral rights to the spent fuel.

    It's more than a source of nuclear fuel (and I don't necessarily mean plutonium: only a small fraction of the U-235 gets used up in a thermal reactor, and the other transuranics are burnable in a fast-flux reactor). There are billions of dollars worth of rhodium, which is in a stable isotope. Rhodium is more valuable than gold even at today's gold price. []

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <> on Sunday July 31, 2011 @07:40PM (#36942232) Homepage

    Holy fuck no. I mean, I realize you Americans are scared of shit of plutonium thanks to your rabid environmentalists, and carter. But hey, if you want to cut your nuclear fuel supplies in half. Please keep sending your waste to Canada, S.Korea and Japan so we can have cheap, inexpensive fuel. I mean we all really like it.

    Or you can grow a fucking pair and jump all over the environmentalists and nimby's for being fucking idiots.

  • by Trax3001BBS ( 2368736 ) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @07:41PM (#36942242) Homepage Journal

    Hanford Washington U.S.A. would love the waste sent
    their way. That would be listed as the State of Washington
    in the article.

    Hanford lost out to Yuca mountain many years ago, lost a lot of jobs
    over night. They were planning on storing nuclear waste at Hanford.

    Even create a religion "OMMMMM do not dig for 100,000 years."
    (Yes it was actually put forth as a plan) [] claims
    two-thirds of the nation's high-level radioactive waste by volume
    are located here, so it makes a lot of sense.

    Some place has to be found and fast as reactor storage pools
    are becoming full and a danger in themselves.

    I used to operate a nuclear reactor producing Plutonium for DoD at
    Hanford, so know well of the desire of becoming a nuclear burial site.

  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @07:49PM (#36942302) Homepage Journal

    >plutonium, one of the most toxic substances known to mankind.

    It has to be absorbed by the body first. Wikipedia has a reference that claims that only .04% of ingested plutonium oxide stays in the organism.

    Multiply the LD50 for injected plutonium by 2500 to get an LD50 from water contamination, and you get some non-alarming numbers for toxicity. The cliche is to compare it to caffeine. []

  • Re:Encourage me... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Man ( 684 ) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @08:09PM (#36942396) Homepage

    I lived in Las Vegas for 12 years. There was absolutely no way we wanted that stuff stored at Yucca Mountain; it is a geologically active area and every proposed transport route for the waste went through the city. All that would be mere hypocrisy if not for the fact that Nevada has no nuclear power plants and derives virtually none of its electricity from nuclear sources outside the state. This is completely orthogonal to whether nuclear power is a good idea, whether it can be made safe, whether fast reactors are better, whether waste should instead be reprocessed or turned into glass or shot into space, and just how bad coal or hydro or other sources are for us and the rest of earth's inhabitants. It's nothing more complicated than the fact that Yucca Mountain is at best a mediocre site, the local residents don't want it, and the waste is generated elsewhere for the primary benefit of people who do not live in Nevada. That should have been sufficient to make the feds look elsewhere 15 years ago, but for some reason it wasn't. That the state won the fight is cheering; that a fight was even necessary is an appalling violation of states' rights. Finding a geologically suitable site in a state with nuclear power plants and residents who trust the government to transport and store the waste safely in their vicinity is an excellent idea. If they'd done that in the first place, we'd all have billions of dollars back -- and we'd probably have a nuke dump, too. But it certainly wouldn't be at Yucca Mountain; the federal government has abused and betrayed Nevadans from the day the state was admitted to the union, and there is absolutely no way its residents will ever trust it with their lives and property. That they gain little or nothing from nuclear power serves only to reinforce their already compelling case. Let those who like the federal government and think it's full of good, kind, well-meaning and competent public servants take the waste from their own power plants instead. It's the right thing for everyone.

  • Onkalo (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 31, 2011 @08:34PM (#36942520)

    The Finns store their waste in a rock 500m deep below and fill it with concrete aftereards.

    The facility will be finished in 2100 and should last 100.000 years.

    They even have plans to communicate with the future beings using symbols in carved rock.

    All can be seen in the documentary "Into eternity".

  • Re:How About D.C.? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Sunday July 31, 2011 @08:35PM (#36942532) Journal

    Funny but like cockroaches I doubt it would hurt those buggers.

    But this shows exactly what is wrong with NIMBY bullshit. Instead of somewhere like Yucca where scientists had studied the problem and come up with a deep, dry, solid hole in the middle of nowhere you are gonna have a bunch of states, probably in the south as our economy is beyond rotten, which is probably THE worst possible place you could put the stuff thanks to all the rain and tornadoes!

    It is time we told the NIMBYs to STFU and let scientists instead of politicians work to solve the problems. Because if we don't do something about the NIMBYs frankly won't a damned thing get built because it will always piss off someone.

    The NIMBYs say " We don't want to store the waste for nuclear (use reprocessing and cut down on the waste is what we should do, but heaven forbid that might be smart) and we don't want solar because its an eyesore, or wind because it is noisy, or coal because it is messy, but you damned well better make sure you give us enough power to blast our ACs all summer!"

    The NIMBYs remind me of those damned teabaggers, who cheer the three wars while at the same time demanding their taxes stay low like it is their God given right to more MONIES! Nom nom nom. Where do they think the money for the three wars they are cheering is gonna come from, Chinese Santa Claus?

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