Re-Opening the Nuclear Waste War

June 17, 2019

Anti-nuke types are going to have to come to the realization that we have a storage problem with nuclear waste, and keeping it, for instance, on the beach of the Pacific Ocean, or the Great Lakes, is not a sustainable solution.

That means we all just have to agree it needs to be transported, and placed, perhaps in retrievable form someplace where a leak is at least unlikely.
Maturity required.

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10 Responses to “Re-Opening the Nuclear Waste War”

  1. Keith McClary Says:

    “Video unavailable
    The uploader has not made this video available in your country”
    (Canada)

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    From a piece written in 2010.

    “A typical nuclear power plant in a year generates 20 metric tons of used nuclear fuel. The nuclear industry (in the US) generates a total of about 2,300 metric tons of used fuel per year.”

    “Over the past four decades, the entire industry has produced about 62,500 metric tons of used nuclear fuel. If used fuel assemblies were stacked end-to-end and side-by-side, this would cover a football field about seven yards deep.”

    Now, after FIVE decades, the figure is up to ~88,000 tons, or enough to cover a football field a little over nine yards deep. Not a whole lot, and much of it could be burned up in the new molten fuel reactors.

    Hardly something to worry about compared to the number of tons of CO2, CH4, NO, and other GHG’s released every MINUTE in the US—-that figure is 12,285 tons—-by weight, it’s equal to what the nuclear industry produced in just over SEVEN years.

    • doldrom Says:

      Much of it could burned up …

      Yes. It is not possible to take responsibility for storing trans-uranic isotopes with half-lives of tens of thousands of years or longer. It must be burnt up and reduced to a smaller amount of garbage which can be safely disposed for hundreds of years. Perhaps still not ideal, but the time scales for some of this waste forces a more responsible course of action.

  3. rabiddoomsayer Says:

    Video unavailable (Australia)
    Your very last line “maturity required”. Sorry maturity is in very short supply, we would rather tell ourselves stories.

  4. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Shipment of very hazardous material—not just nuclear waste—is a problem hidden from many Americans until the ever-aging railway has a failure in their neighborhood. They’ll worry about the condition of the visible road surface or the property taxes and schools when they buy their houses, but not think about the crumbling S&W mains, railway traffic or flood-aggravating development in the area. Out of sight, out of mind.

    • jfon Says:

      Here’s why transport of nuclear waste should be relegated to the ‘Not worth worrying about’ pile.

      Saying which, there’s no good reason to start shipping the stuff round the country. It’s just as safe where it is, at the reactor sites, as it is in a transport cask. San Onofre isn’t ‘on the beach of the Pacific’, it’s forty feet above sea level, with a twenty five foot tsunami wall. By now, nearly all of the fuel should have been put into dry cask storage, which is about as impervious to damage as the casks in the above video. The ‘spent’ fuel still contains nearly as much potential energy as it did when the uranium was dug out of the ground. It takes forty times less energy now to enrich uranium for current reactors, as it did when they first started operation. The likelihood is that reprocessing ‘spent’ fuel, which at the moment is much more expensive than mining fresh uranium, will also become much cheaper. Bill Gates’ company, Terrapower, is only one of the startups working on that.
      When the Oil Age started, they used to throw the gasoline in the rivers, because they didn’t have enough barrels to store it, and it was only the lighting oil that had a market. Uranium is two million times more energy dense than oil, and the pioneers of the industry were more far-sighted than the early oil barons – or the current ones, for that matter. When the technology matures, the ‘waste’ from our reactors, and the depleted uranium from enrichment plants, will be available to power the world for about two centuries with no further mining.

  5. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    Found the video by clicking around Google. Didn’t take too long. Engineers (?) talk and politicians waffle. Maturity required covers it.

  6. indy222 Says:

    DOG’s got it right. And, the power delivered per acre of land, is vastly better for nuclear than for renewables solar PV and wind. After we’ve raped and pillaged the last virgin acre of its native species and beauty… maybe then we’ll value that land at its proper level. Right now – we don’t. We’d rather replay mushroom clouds in our minds and avoid thinking about the new designs, and even not so new designs that we didn’t want to go with because we WANTED uranium fuel refinement infrastructure and PLWR designs so we could make bombs – the real goal.

  7. Abel Adamski Says:

    The whole Nuclear Debate has been clouded by special interests including politics.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/16/chernobyl-was-even-worse-than-tv-series-kim-willsher

    The truth about Chernobyl? I saw it with my own eyes…

    ““The official position of the state is that global nuclear catastrophe is not possible in the Soviet Union.”

    It was not possible, so in the days and months after the world’s worst such accident, on 26 April, the Kremlin kept up its pretence. It dissembled, deceived and lied. I began investigating Chernobyl in the late 1980s after Ukrainian friends insisted authorities in the USSR were covering up the extent of the human tragedy of those – many of them children – contaminated by radiation when the nuclear plant’s Reactor 4 exploded, blasting a cloud of poisonous fallout across the USSR and a large swathe of Europe.

    When photographer John Downing and I first visited, the Soviet Union, then on its last political legs, was still in denial about what happened despite president Mikhail Gorbachev’s new era of glasnost.

    The Chernobyl miniseries is a compelling account of how the disaster unfolded, based largely on the testimony of those present, most of whom died soon afterwards. It rings true but only scratches the surface of another, more cruel reality– that, in their desperation to save face, the Soviets were willing to sacrifice any number of men, women and children.”

    First actually ascertain the facts if you can

    “The Soviets were not the only ones who lied. France’s authorities hid information about the radioactive cloud over its territory, and Hans Blix, then director general of the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA)– still accused of minimising the dangers following the catastrophe– released a statement that settlements around Chernobyl would “be safe for residents” before long. Dissident scientist Andrei Sakharov was also deceived. “To my shame, I at first pretended that nothing much had happened,” he said.

    Many doctors insisted there had been a spike in the number of cancers and leukemias. Children had been born with rare deformities including “frogs’ legs”, their hips twisted outwards. Others had heart defects, and thyroid cancers thought to have been caused by radioactive iodine.

    Yet officials insisted that all this was “poor food and poverty” and unrelated to Chernobyl.”


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