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A solution for nuclear waste?

This week, the Japanese government and the owner of the Fukushima nuclear power plant announced they’ve now stabilized the plant. They also acknowledged the final clean up may take a decade or more.

Japan’s nuclear disaster reminds us of the potential danger of the common practice of storing spent atomic fuel next to nuclear reactors. At Fukushima, spent fuel rods were damaged and released radiation, making the crisis even worse.

It raises an obvious question here in the United States: What should be done with the spent fuel that’s stored next to our own reactors? A presidential blue ribbon commission is due to offer its solution next week in a draft report. Its preliminary report is already out — it recommends burying the waste deep underground. But where? We got a rare tour inside a unique underground facility in the New Mexico desert that just might provide the answer to that question.

Watch the rest of the segments from this episode.

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  • Thephed

    France reuses its nuclear waste.  Why don’t we?

  • Don Federman

    France reuses its nuclear waste.  Why doesn’t the United States?

  • J7t14r

    Good question! ”Need To Know” reporters need to investigate further!

  • Jean Maier

    I agree. Rather than disposing it as waste, why not recycle it for useful purposes. Need to Know needs to investigate and report to the publc the situation in France.

  • Pat Conway Crocker

    Please check this link…
    your report that Vermont’s power source was 75% nuclear was completely incorrect. A little better research in the future please.

  • Mickey

    I don’t know about all radioactive waste, but I thought spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants could be recycled and reused. I also recall (correct me if Im wrong) that during the Carter administration the ban was lifted, thus made this legal to do. We “need to know”

  • John Tritium

    They do.  After reprocessing, however, there is still a waste product.  I am told that this is similar to what is being put in WIPP today.

  • ShirleyYouCan’tBeSerious

    The fact that the President decided he did like the law…Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982…and violated it by stopping the DOE work on Yucca Mountain has put the US in a tight spot.  Many “Blue Ribbon” focus groups were convened prior to the writing of the Act and since its enactment to get us almost home.  Now he has convened an other set of over thinkers to re-analyze the analyses.  Analyses do not get the waste in a safe and secure repository, it perpetuates our risk of something happening to the waste in “at reactor storage”. 

  • ShirleyYouCan’tBeSerious
  • Spirulina

    Very good point

  • Scott Perlman

    What are your thoughts on this serious issue? Maybe we just need t stop making chemicals like this in the first place??

  • J7t14r

    As more  tons of garbage, sludge, junk and industrial smoke is spewed out into the environment, this biosphere Earth, like any living organism, tries to heal itself with greater and more violent hurricanes, tornados, floods and droughts. But the dumping goes on as the human population grows and produces more pollution every year until the biosphere will finally collapse and our ravenous civilization will die a horrible death. Obviously, the solution is to safely recycle !00% of all waste produccts, peacefully reduce the human population and plant several million trees, but apparently no one is paying any attention.