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United States Earth Government Power Transportation

Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go 258

mdsolar writes with news of a plan to move radioactive waste from nuclear plants. The U.S. government is looking for trains to haul radioactive waste from nuclear power plants to disposal sites. Too bad those trains have nowhere to go. Putting the cart before the horse, the U.S. Department of Energy recently asked companies for ideas on how the government should get the rail cars needed to haul 150-ton casks filled with used, radioactive nuclear fuel. They won't be moving anytime soon. The latest government plans call for having an interim test storage site in 2021 and a long-term geologic depository in 2048. No one knows where those sites will be, but the Obama administration is already thinking about contracts to develop, test and certify the necessary rail equipment.
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Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go

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  • by bazim2 ( 625704 ) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @03:40PM (#47796277)

    Nuclear waste is regularly and safely carried by train in other countries.

    Here's a video from 1984 of a crash test done in the UK on a train waste container:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 31, 2014 @04:06PM (#47796407)

    Uh who do you think manages the interstate highway system that (I assume) you drive on?

    Local, not federal, government pays for it... with your money (taxes).

    Who hands out disability and unemployment checks if you happen to be disabled or unemployed?

    Again, that's done through taxes. So who is responsible for disability and unemployment checks? The employed.

    Who prevents people like putin or ISIL from coming to your backyard and proclaiming it part of a Russian/Islamic state?

    Is this a joke, or are you being serious right now? I would ask if you are a routine watcher of FOX "news" but we already know the answer to that.

    You really have to be a true idiot if you think government is only screwing over its citizens. For a true example of a government screwing over the populace I welcome you to get the hell out and try living in another country.

    Welp, can't argue with that logic. You've turned me. I absolutely must completely agree with everything the federal government says now, as they cannot possibly do any wrong. In fact, I suggest we start by increasing the amount of illegal spying done on citizens by the government! It's for our own good, right? Abandoning the constitution makes me a patriot now, right?

  • Re:Reprocessing? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rising Ape ( 1620461 ) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @04:23PM (#47796485)

    You can't just dump spent LWR fuel into a fast reactor - the concentration of fissile material is far too low for it to go critical.

    Reprocessing's been done, but it's quite messy and there's no demand for the recovered fuel. Making MOX is much more difficult and expensive than making standard uranium fuel. It's cheaper, easier and probably safer to just store the spent fuel in dry casks until a suitable disposal site is found. Fortunately, those casks last a long time.

  • Out of the question (Score:3, Informative)

    by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @06:26PM (#47796995)
    You want to keep spent fuel. It's not really "waste" - the anti-nuclear lobby just likes to call it that to hype up opposition. Current light water reactor designs use only about 5% of the U-235 in the fuel rods, and only about 1% of the total energy extractable from the uranium. That's why spent fuel remains "hot" for so long - the vast majority of the energy it contains is still there, and is emitted over time as radioactive energy as it decays.

    So in essence, the "waste" is really fuel containing 100x as much energy as you've already extracted from it. If you send it to a breeder reactor, it can use the "waste" as fuel thus extracting more energy. The "waste" from that process converts it into a form which light water reactors can use again as fuel. You extract a much larger fraction of the energy from the original uranium, and the end product of all this would only remain "hot" for a few centuries instead of dozens of millenia.

    "OMG - this solves the nuclear waste problem! Why aren't we doing this?" Unfortunately, breeder reactors create weapons-grade plutonium as a byproduct. That's the only reason we don't do it - it's a purely political reason, not technical. President Carter banned the commercial use of breeder reactors in the U.S. in the interest of non-proliferation (the military still can and does use them).

    I won't judge whether Carter made the correct call - that's a political decision. But you can see why you do not want to be selling spent fuel to a country you frequently butt heads with on the geopolitical arena. First, you're selling them cheap energy (that we ourselves choose not to tap for political reasons). Second, you're selling them the means to make more nukes.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky