Legacy of waste: The high cost of nuclear power

This week’s edition of the “Watch List” — where we look into the consequences of deregulation, the lack of government oversight, and the failure of those in charge to keep us safe and secure — explores the results of decades of indecision, inaction and broken agreements about nuclear waste

Most scenarios about America’s energy future include nuclear power. President Obama has promised $8 billion in loan guarantees to break ground in Georgia on the first two new nuclear reactors in nearly 30 years. But there’s no permanent plan for the radioactive waste that will come from these new plants.

And it gets worse: there’s no plan for the 70,000 tons of nuclear waste that we’ve been accumulating for the last 60 years. Our correspondent, Mona Iskander, went to Wiscasset, Maine, to visit one small town that wants to see some decisions made.

Editor’s note: This report previously included a still image of liquid natural gas storage tanks near the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant that Need To Know erroneously believed to be the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant itself.

 
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Comments

  • John Alan Roderick

    There ARE solutions that have been developed to increase the “burn” on the existing nuclear waste. The IFR (Integral Fast Reactor) developed by Argonne Natl. Laboratory in the late 80s, used a holistic conceptual and engineering aproach which would have addressed the waste problem quite handily. However, the program was killed in 1994 by Bill Clinton and John Kerry. Google “IFR” and “Dr. Charles Till” to read the Front Line transcript from 1996. I assure you, it will be time well spent.

  • John Freeland, Ph.D.

    I just watched a very poor presentation of the nuclear waste issue, including a huge error characterizing the Yucca Mountain site as having “perfect” geology. Download an earthquake map from the USGS. Notice where Nevada is in relation to the San Andreas Fault. There are far mor stable geologic settings available to store nuclear waste.

    Please present a more balanced point of view. Yucca Mountain was chosen because it is on the Nevada Test Site, which the government already owns and his already heavily contaminated. You never mentioned the “Screw Nevada Act.” Finally, if you are interested in the facts about Yucca Mountain I recommend “How Safe is Yucca Mountain?” by Dr. Thomas B. Cochran, who testified before Congress. The link is here.

    http://docs.nrdc.org/nuclear/files/nuc_08010701A.pdf

  • John Freeland, Ph.D.

    Sorry, the Cochran article in the previous post is from a presentation at Vanderbilt Universith. Here is one made in Congress.

    http://democrats.science.house.gov/Media/File/Commdocs/hearings/2008/Full/23apr/Cochran_Testimony.pdf

  • Orangecoastmediainc

    Dear Friends…

    Early in my broadcast career, (while “paying my dues”),I had the lovely opportunity to work in the “Tri-Cities” area of eastern Washington state…known to locals as”The Dry-Shitties”) The area consists of Richland, Pasco & Kennewick…located right on the Columbia River…The area was originally built, (for the most part), to house the workers of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, (one of the keys to the Manhattan Project by processing plutonium, etc.)…
    Back in the late 70′s, Hanford was, from their description, fusing the radio-active waste with Pyrex into “fridge-size” cylinders to be stored in the Cascade’s natural “basalt caverns” yada-yada-yada…last I heard….tests were showing the waste at Hanford was leaking in to the water-table & intern IN to the Columbia River,(think Simpson’s 3 eyed fish)…
    This stuff IS nasty…we all know the “half-life” stats…Why would ANY city or town wan’t that stuff in their own backyard….think Love Canal….it could happen again…
    msm
    Orange County, Ca.

  • Dr. A. Cannara

    Unfortunately, this program was apparently unaware that our nuclear waste problems were solved 40 years ago by the very Manhattan Project scientists whose work & patents gave us the present wasteful, solid-fueled reactor cycle. Between 1954 and 1974, Oak Ridge researchers led by Alvin Weinberg developed and ran the molten-salt reactor (MSR) expressly to avoid watses and to provide safer, higher efficiency, compact nuclear power. Now, that system is being reinvestigated around the world, using Thorium (as a Fluoride salt) as the safe, fertile ‘fuel’, which is essentially free and 4 times as abundant as Uranium. Feel free to consult http://www.thoriumenergyalliance.com
    .

  • Dr. A. Cannara

    I should add that existing nuclear wastes and weapons materials (including Plutonium and depleted Uranium), can be consumed in secured MSRs, thus supporting nuclear non-proliferation negotiations and anti-nuclear weapons organizations. The history of the MSR illustrates how politics shoots us all in the foot. Alvin Weinberg was fired by the Nixon administration for being too concerned with safety. Edward Teller recommended in 1985 that we build MSRs instead of our current, inefficient, water-cooled reactors that have explosive potential — he was ignored. The established industry is now so heavily subsidized and used to profits from the expensive ore-to-fuel-to-waste cycle that completing MSR demonstrations will be difficult. However, it’s our only real choice to meet the unfortunate reality now clearly explained in AAAS Science Vol. 329, 9/10/10 (Davis et al. p1330). The combination of greenhouse emissions and ocean acidification will inevitably drive us to safe, efficient nuclear power, and Thorium MSRs provide both that and weapons/waste destruction. Also read The American Scientist, July-August 2010 (Hargraves & Moir). It’s sobering to realize we have a decade of free power available in a pit in Nevada — 3200 tons of Thorium from the Manhattan Project. The established nuclear industry does not like this, but it will happen, hopefully here before other countries succeed and sell MSRs back to us, again hurting our balance of payments & technical leadership.

  • Mac

    Have you read the nuclear energy”Primer” by Dr. Bill Wattenburg on nuclear energy? Very convincing information from an experienced scientist (Livermore National Lab & more) who now hosts a late night talk show weekends on KGO in San Francisco. The web address is http://kgoradio.com/Article.asp?id=1409613&nId=12&spid=33320.

  • Marcusvoth

    The show on nuclear waste provided much good information but contained two glaring omissions, existence of the Nuclear Waste Fund and the destruction of plutonium.

    Each kilowatt-hour of electricity generated from nuclear power has been taxed for the ultimate disposal of nuclear waste, creating the federal Nuclear Waste Fund. By law, the federal government has taken the responsibility to dispose of this waste using money from the Nuclear Waste Fund. The government squandered a sizable amount from the Nuclear Waste Fund on the Yucca Mountain project that it has now aborted. The law requires the government to receive the waste by 1998 but since there is no place for the waste to go, utilities are incurring substantial expense for temporary storage for which they are suing the government. You failed to mention that consumers have prepaid for the disposal and the current costs to taxpayers are simply paying for a government mistake, not nuclear waste disposal.

    You characterized the plutonium in nuclear wastes as though it just adds to a weapons stockpile. You failed to mention that like uranium, the plutonium can fission and provide additional energy for electricity if it were used as reactor fuel. Once fissioned, the plutonium would be destroyed and no longer an issue.

  • John Alan Roderick

    Thank you Dr. Cannara and others for your thought-provoking comments and observations. I’d often heard about the Thorium and MSR project. The IFR was the program which apealed to me most since it involved, as part of the aforementioned holistic engineeering approach, inherently safe operation. I suppose that the MSR is similarly configured but don;t really know enough about it to make that determination.

    I think the bottom line in all this is that there are a number of available, economical and PROVEN technologies that can help us in the move away from fossil fuels and CO2 and NOx (and Hg and other) emissions and into a setting of clean and abundant ordered energy. My greatest hope, as you so eloquently put it, is that the US can take the lead on this and become the EXPORTER to the rest of the world. There’s no real reason we can’t, other than political will–or a lack thereof.

  • jf

    Nuclear is a dirty, expensive, dangerous options. It’s also unnecessary.Yucca Mountain, if resurrected would already be too small to accomodate the existing waste that is being stored temporarily in “swimming pools.”

    Reprocessing has been a bust, worldwide. From the International Panel on Fissil Materials, a report on the British experience, the Sellafield Reprocessing Facility, which is now a useless, badly contaminated site:

    “After five decades of operation, the costs and extent of the environmental contamination and the
    accumulation of nuclear wastes, separated plutonium, and other materials associated with the
    United Kingdom’s reprocessing program have become apparent. This legacy that today haunts
    the program and in particular its main site, at Sellafield, is a result of a historic lack of public
    accountability, a failure to independently scrutinise financial and operational projections, and the
    promotion of reprocessing over all other spent fuel management options.

    The direct cost of clean-up at the Sellafield site in West Cumbria is today put at £73Bn
    ($146Bn). This may well be an underestimate, with the final cost now projected by a senior
    director of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to be several billions higher. The
    final reckoning is unlikely to be known before another half century when the disposition of
    existing wastes and other materials is expected to have been completed. Over its lifetime,
    Sellafield operations are expected to generate almost 2 million cubic meters of radioactive waste.”

    http://www.fissilematerials.org/ipfm/site_down/rr05.pdf

  • Anonymous

    It’s interesting that the same people who believe in AGW based on a scientific “consensus” of climatogists, will not accept the proper methods for processing and disposing of nuclear fuel — supported by an actual overwhelming consensus of qualified physicists.

    See EnergyPresentation.Info for an independent scientific perspective on our energy policies.

  • Phil Sayre

    Your essay on the nuclear waste issue did not include any reference to the solution presented by the concept of the Integral Fast Reactor. The fast reactor can utilize any and all nuclear waste as fuel, and the plutonium in weapons as well. The waste products are minimal and have short half-lives, for the most part. The IFR is a passive reactor and is inherently safe. Try to find the interview of Dr. Charles Till, formerly director of the Argonne National Laboratory West in Idaho at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/interviews/till.html. You will be amazed.

  • http://www.thoughtsandplaces.org Abevanluik

    Balance is lacking in this point of view by JF. Geology, even with faults, is more stable than any human society has been over much shorter timeframes. In the case of Yucca the ‘screw nevada bill” was an unfortunate thing, it made it difficult for “us” (I am a former Yucca worker) to explain to Nevadans that we were looking out for their safety. What that bill did is cause us to answer the question: can it be done safely here? If not, come back to Congress. We twice (2002, 2008) said “yes” to that question, but it will cost a lot. In 2002 Congress responded with a law desifnating the site as the nation’s repository. In 2008 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission accepted the license application for detailed review. The fact that the license was for a 70,000 metric ton repository was dicatetd by Congress. Our Environmental Impact Statement evaluated one almost twice that size. If you have mountains you have faults, the trick is to investigate and see which faults are “capable” (meaning there has been movement during the Quaternary on that fault). Yucca Mountain was bounded on two sides by capable faults, but there were no capable faults inside the rock of interest for use as a repository. What thus means is that for the last 10-million years, earth movements have been buffered by the capable faults, and have not caused any further faukting inside the “block” of interest. The good news is that your federal government was not as stupid as you might be thinking. We pulled in the nation’s best seismologists and also volcanologists and asked them to give us the likelihood of future impacts on the repository from earthquakes and nearby volcanic eruptions (extremely unlikley as they might be). Those likelihoods, and totally oversated assumptions about potential damage to waste packages, led to most likely outcome of a 1% rise in the LOCAL background dose, raising it from 200 millirem per year to 202 millirem per year for the “reasonably maximally exposed individual” defined by the Environmental Protection Agency. MOST of the rest of the country sees more like 300 millirem per year from natural background, so 202 versus 200 is truly insignificant. BUT the important thing here is that society ought to be making these types of decisions, not technocarats like myself. And whatever society decides, using Constitutionally prescribed decison processes, is just fine by me. Heck, granitic rocks, rock salt, and claystone are likely to be used in Sweden and Finland, Germany and France, respectively, so if we as a nation decide to go to those rock types, much of the pioneering site characterization technique development and safety evaluation work, and even repository designs, can be obtained from those countries, we could even bring their experts here to advise us, and thus give us a very rapid start using these rock types, if that is what this society decides.

  • Abevanluik

    Oh my gosh, I need to get a spell-checker! Sorry!
    I forgot to say that that likely 1% increase in local background dose was at a million years after final repositry closure. The EPA saw fit to require a 1-million year safety evaluation for Yucca Mountain, as had been recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, and the NRC included that million-year timeframe into its licensing requirements.

  • Guest 5

    Not being technically savvy enough in all this debate the simpletons view appears to be that The MSR approach uses existing waste or at least some of it to fire it up cost = zero unless the government wants to sell it back at say half the cost of existing nuclear fuels. If the expert is right it has no radioactive waste ( MSR ) approach to dispose of and less susceptible to explosion risks.
    So why is it not happening…. my guess, too many vested interests in existing technology and Uranium mining and the Political lobby associated therewith.
    Mr. Chu should be tasked with sorting this out and allocating government funds only to the best technological and cost effective solution and waste management solution,historically and for future.
    Guest 5 ( Not a Nuclear scientist obviously.)

  • AlexOGRE

    NICE SPIN, but typical of the empty talking heads on news programs!

    The WASTE that was leaking into the Columbia River was not from the vitrification process. It was mostly from storage tanks.

    Glass logs dont leak!

    ***wiki: “The Department of Energy is currently building a vitrification plant on the Hanford Site. Vitrification is a method designed to combine these dangerous wastes with glass to render them stable.”***

    PS As to effects on fish, look for the documentary on Chernobyl animals: healthier on average the neighboring cities!

  • AlexOGRE

    NICE SPIN! Wonder who you shill for?

    Reading WIKI Thorium/Dangers says otherwise about its safety!

  • AlexOGRE

    Great MarcusV: “The government squandered a sizable amount from the Nuclear Waste Fund on the Yucca Mountain project that it has now aborted.”

    Ah, it wasnt squandered. It was part of a major learning curve ladder that benefited so many nations as they visited each others sites and met in Europe.

    Plus, it wasnt OUR govt that aborted the project, the law was never changed. Instead it was the Obama-ites and Reid that defunded the project over the objections of all the states paying to solve their problem.

    So, in effect, they have taken the catalyst for newer nuke plants out of the equation. Those newer plants would of been able to produce HYDROGEN as a byproduct which could replace LNG/Propane as a fuel for American transportation fleets like USPS, FEDEX, UPS, etc.

    So, Obama/Reid have ensured future foreign oil imports! It will be decades before this issue is back to where YMP was…

    SIGH

  • AlexOGRE

    “Nuclear is a dirty, expensive, dangerous options. It’s also unnecessary.”

    Whats unnecessary is our current methods of electrical generation, especially COAL. But, it lives on from our past.

    The one direction that frightens me is choices that require BATTERIES for storage. Just ask any warehouse that uses BATTERY powered vehicles about reliability, cost, and upkeep. Most companies abhor replacing those batteries. Not to mention the effect on countries we DUMP such things, and their cheap labor’s health problems that result.

    If there were any better way, would the great superpowers not do it?

    Sweden had a change of mind about phasing out all nuclear power…

  • AlexOGRE

    “Mr. Chu should be tasked with…”

    Someone isnt paying attention. Look at the lady at MMS who was tasked to push wind power over oil and took her eyes off of BP; even planning an award for them.

    Lil obama is pushing whats in HIS best interest and for photo ops. The same problem at DOE and NASA.

    Dont know if he is a beneficiary, but PELOSI and REID are major holders of CLNE and have acted in their own best interests rather then in AMERICA’s.

    So much for blind trusts, if even I know what they own.

    SIGH

  • http://djysrv.blogspot.com Dan

    It isn’t “waste.” Spent nuclear fuel has 95% of the energy potential of the original fuel. France has been recycling spent fuel for decades and Japan will soon start up a facility to do it.

    Not recycling spent fuel is like mining gold and then throwing 95 lbs out of every 100 back in the mine.

    For decades green groups and the news media have mis-labeled spent fuel as “waste.” The reason we have a once-through fuel cycle is based on a political decision to do it this way. From a technical point of view, it makes no sense. Green groups like it because it allows them to use the “waste” issue to attack nuclear energy.

    What green groups fail to realize that every kilowatt that isn’t generated with nuclear energy is a vote for more greenhouse gases.

  • Guest88

    Would gas plasmafication handle nuclear “waste” if we don’t recycle it? (I’m all for recycling it)

    @Dan: I agree, if we could recycle all of that, that would be great. The video mentioned plutonium as the major byproduct of the recycling process. Would that be able to be turned into something inert?

  • Bob Cummings

    Not being a nuke physicist…where are those East European radioactive hogs coming from?

  • average

    It’s been out of the bag, on how to split the atom sinse I was a first grader. Also all the nifty stuff on how to make bombs , Read maps, Lead armys ,Fly airplanes, and more.All this I read in my weekly reader. Sinse I’m only about average. I can only say. Great reporting,Did you not hear the leaders of our country say “there are people trying to distroy U>S>!!!!. If I were a torrorest .I’d send a box of candy and a cuppy doll to the lot of you.For all the info and ideas you’ve given.The report clearly marks the location of the dumps it also showed the best way to aproach, a few more seconds of film and He could pinpoint the best place to set a charge.And lets not forget the commenters. There is a weath of information there.

  • jf

    In France, reprocessing does not even get close to resolving the waste issue. 99% is “stockpiled.” From IEEE.org: http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/nuclear/nuclear-wasteland/3

    “The chemistry is fundamentally the 63-year-old Purex process developed in the Manhattan Project–Purex stands for ”plutonium-uranium extraction”–but Areva says the separation equipment employed is more compact than its predecessors and generates less waste.

    The major products of the separation are uranium and plutonium. The former, consisting of the isotopes U-235 and U-238, constitutes 95 percent of the spent fuel. The plutonium yield is just a little more than 1 percent. Most of the uranium is shipped to an Areva plant in southern France and, at the moment, stockpiled. Some analysts predict that uranium prices will eventually justify more reuse of La Hague’s uranium; but for now, utilities find it cheaper to use fuel freshly made from uranium ores and enriched to the precise isotopic composition they need. As for the plutonium, it is shipped across France to the Rhône Valley, where Areva’s Marcoule fuel plant blends it with uranium and fabricates it into fuel for French reactors.”

  • http://djysrv.blogspot.com Dan

    Both France and Japan are manufacturing MOX fuel (mixed oxide fuel consisting of 95% uranium and 5% plutonium). Japan has no choice since it cannot compete with China for fossil fuels.

  • GwynethCra

    The obstacles to dealing with used fuel are not technical but political. As Need to Know points out, at one time the US had a recycling program. France and other countries never stopped theirs. Fuel that’s been through a commercial power reactor once still retains over 96% of its energy so should not be called waste. It can be recycled multiple times. The volume of waste is reduced dramatically. In France, if a family of four gets all its electricity from nuclear power for 20 years, its share would be a glass cylinder the size of a Bic lighter. All of France’s vitrified residue for four decades is stored under the floor of a room the size of a basketball gym. Dry cask storage, despite the doubts raised by the fellow in Maine, is extremely safe and sturdy. Used fuel can remain in storage like that for 100 years. But it won’t–it’s too valuable as a source of new fuel. Using advanced reactors of designs that have already been tested, used fuel will eventually be recycled here in the US. Nuclear power is the only large-scale, clean way to replace deadly fossil-fuel combustion.

  • Faithless

    “Reusable” nuclear waste is actually plutonium, the stuff of nuclear bombs, more deadly by far than “deadly” fossil-fuel combusion. Invisible, odorless and irretrivable, transported by air, water or direct contact it damages human, animal and plant cells causing cancer, liver damage, infertility and the human genome . It would be insane to recycle nuclear waste to generate electricity although the industry has considered and rejected it for now sixty years.

  • Harvey Wasserman

    this is exactly right. the myth of “recycling” nuke waste has been hyped for decades, & is not cost effective or environmentally sound. in fact it’s just another PR ploy for a dying, desperate reactor industry that can’t get private financing, can’t get meaningful liability insurance can’t handle its wastes. it’s time to move on to what works—renewables & efficiency.

  • http://twitter.com/Atomicrod Rod Adams

    I agree with Gwyneth Cravens – the used fuel is a tremendous resource that is currently being stored away for future use. This is no myth – we have both seen with our own eyes how France is using early recycling technology to recover some of the energy that their used fuel retains.

    No one, not even the French, will claim that our current recycling technology for used fuel is the be all, end all. In its current form, it recovers about 20-25% more energy from mined uranium than a system that does not include any recycling.

    However, there are already improvements being made in the system that will increase that percentage of recovery. The nice thing about used nuclear fuel is that even the parts of the material that have not yet been recovered for new energy are not thrown away – they are stored away in carefully controlled containers to be used at a time when technology has improved. The potential is that we can eventually recover almost 140 times as much energy from mined uranium as we do with the use once then store forever cycle.

    Harvey, unlike you, I have not spent my life criticizing the technical accomplishments of others without actually engaging in technical development myself. I have been a manufacturer and a nuclear plant operator. I understand that manufacturing improvements are an evolutionary process and that cost effective improvements require continual efforts. It is silly to talk about the cost effectiveness of a system that is not in current use. A good technologist can see the potential, but it requires practice, refined procedures and improved tools to turn the potential into something that is cost effective.

    The French have refined their techniques to the point of being quite cost effective now and they still have plenty of room for improvement. They have some of the cheapest, cleanest and most reliable electricity in Europe as a result of their independent minded decision to pursue nuclear energy. Their well trained technologists have done their homework and chosen well.

    In contrast, Americans have allowed the coal, oil and gas industries to keep us addicted to their highly profitable product lines. Sadly, those industries have had assistance from people like you, Karl Grossman, and Amory Lovins.

    Rod Adams
    Publisher, Atomic Insights
    Former Engineer Officer, USS Von Steuben
    Former General Manager, J&M Industries

  • http://twitter.com/Atomicrod Rod Adams

    @JF

    The IEEE article that you quoted is not correct. The recovered plutonium in France is mixed with uranium that has been recovered from French enrichment tails.

    Some of the uranium that has been recovered from used fuel is now being shipped to enrichment facilities in Russia where it is enriched to the level used in low enriched uranium fuel pellets.

    The uranium “tails” from that process remain in Russia. It might surprise some non technical observers, but the Russians were quite insistent upon keep those tails and made sure that it was written into the contract that they signed for the enrichment process.

    Unlike folks who are not in the know when it comes to the technical details of nuclear materials, the Russians recognize that there is significant energy value even in “depleted” uranium. It contains 2 million times as much energy per unit mass as oil; it just needs two neutrons in order to release that energy. It also helps if one of those neutrons is “fast” and the Russians currently lead the world in fast neutron reactor operation.

    Western Europe will be able to purchase more oil and gas from Russia because the Russians will be using cheap, clean nuclear energy to supply their own domestic needs. Their oligarchs will laugh all the way to the bank as they sell their oil and gas for export earnings and keep the cheap stuff for themselves.

    Rod Adams
    Publisher, Atomic Insights

  • Mardi Gras

    The show suggested that Nevada’s objections to Yucca Mountain were the main objections. Perhaps Nevada’s Sen. Reid made the most noise politically, but there was already strong, irrefutable science saying we couldn’t use Yucca Mountain for nuclear waste for the necessary thousands of years.

    For example, science showed that Yucca Mountain was not geologically stable. Apparently it wasn’t considered politically correct to talk about that.

    The issue of high-level radioactive waste is a serious one indeed, and Need to Know should do more research before airing a program about it. (Check on the danger of storing the waste, AS IT MUST BE STORED FOR A PERIOD OF TIME, in cooling ponds at reactor sites. MUCH MORE DANGEROUS than the casks shown on the program. Highly dangerous and vulnerable to accidents and deliberate sabotage.)

    There is NO safe way to store high-level radioactive waste for the thousands of years it will be dangerous. The money we have wasted pretending we can do so will be multiplied many times in the future. Producing more such waste is an insane policy.

    The best answer to taking care of high-level radioactive waste is NOT TO MAKE ANY MORE OF IT! Does that help us with the thousands of tons we already have? No, it doesn’t. We have to do our best to keep it out of the environment, but there is no way safety can be guaranteed. We (or should I say greedy nuclear utilities) stubbornly insist we can outwit Mother Nature’s laws, but on this issue our attempts may prove suicidal.

  • Mardi Gras

    The nuclear fuel cycle produces greenhouse gases. Nukes release radioactivity daily into air and water. How can that be called ‘clean’?

  • Thinkcivic

    Rather presumptuous for the NRC to be predicting likely increases in background radiation a MILLION years hence….
    I would say that bureaucrats who can be so cavalier about nuclear power are not thinking about the day-to-day effects on people like the uranium miners, who get lung cancer.

  • http://growthisnotsustainable.blogspot.com/ Growth is not sustainable

    Well I’d like to see the waste sent to the sun for disposal, but that’s pretty expensive, and dangerous.
    However, all the people who hate nuclear because of its dangers and waste seem to give coal a bye. How about all that CO2 that these plants store in our atmosphere. Free garbage dump for them, a dangerous climate change for us. I also doubt that those most against nuclear realize we in the US get 20% of our electricity from nuclear. How many accidents have been reported? Deaths? Compare that to coal.
    France adopted nuclear decades ago. They’re doing alright… don’t see many of them glowing in the dark.

    So yes, the waste is a problem, but it’s a few tons of waste, compared the the gigatons of CO2 in the atmosphere that we currently do not have the technology to remove.

  • Anonymous

    No private insurance company will insure them; no private company will invest in them. S. Africa, U.K., U.S.etc,, they literally can’t GIVE these plants away.

    Also from The Union of Concerned Scientists, “The NRC recently REMOVED the public’s (taxpayer’s) right of discovery
    and cross-examination during hearings on renewals of existing power
    plant licenses and applications for new ones, precluding meaningful
    public participation.”

    So, even though I may be PAYING for the
    plant and external costs, and insuring it’s risks, I have no right to
    question IF or HOW it’s constructed.

    South Africa’s experience with nuclear power raises questions:

    “Break-In at Nuclear Site Baffles South Africa” – New York Times

    (this
    facility, Pelindaba, was attacked in 1983, as well. Koeberg in South
    Africa was also attacked. In addition, PMBR in South Africa,, considered
    one of the safest nuclear plants, is being mothballed due to zero
    investor or customer interest. Cost to S.African taxpayers :
    $936,542,544.42)