Despite report, Reid says Yucca Mountain a ‘relic of the past’

if we can’t store spent nuclear fuel one-mile underground in the Nevada desert, where can we store it?

Greenwire reports,

A new report that urges policymakers to separate nuclear waste policies from the whims of politics has already become entangled in partisan messaging over the fate of the abandoned Yucca Mountain waste dump in Nevada.

House Republicans say recommendations that the presidentially appointed Blue Ribbon Commission released yesterday underscore the need to move forward with developing the controversial repository under Yucca Mountain, about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said yesterday that Yucca Mountain is a “relic of the past” and that the commission’s recommendations highlight the need for new policies to overcome the impasse on nuclear waste.

Room for interpretation in the report is vast, mainly because the Obama administration directed the 15-member commission to focus on a broad strategy for storing and disposing of nuclear waste, and not just on the merits of Yucca Mountain. The president assembled the commission last year after pulling out of Yucca Mountain, citing lack of public support.

The commission said in its report that U.S. waste policy needs to be revamped, regardless of Yucca Mountain, and called on the administration and Congress to quickly develop storage sites and dumps for about 65,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel at more than 70 reactors (Greenwire, Jan. 26).

A corporation independent of the Energy Department should be created to oversee the siting of one or more permanent geologic disposal facilities and one or more consolidated storage facilities, and the siting process for those projects should be done through an adaptive, staged and consent-based approach, the commission said. The administration should also amend federal law to ensure the $27 billion Nuclear Waste Fund is accessible for the waste program, as it is currently forced to compete for federal funding and subject to budget constraints.

Republicans applauded the commission’s acknowledgement that the country needs a permanent waste repository and pointed to Yucca Mountain.

“The commission underscored the need for prompt action on a long-term storage disposal facility, and we believe Yucca Mountain remains the most shovel-ready, thoroughly studied option,” House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-Ill.) said in a statement.

Speaking about the need to revamp the Nuclear Waste Fee, Upton and Shimkus said that “recent House efforts to fund Yucca Mountain have been repeatedly thwarted by Harry Reid’s Democratic Senate and the White House”…

7 thoughts on “Despite report, Reid says Yucca Mountain a ‘relic of the past’”

  1. Harry Reid, one of America’s greatest enemies. Pray that the voters take him out ASAP (i.e., elect a Republican Senate). Oh, and the reason most people don’t understand, is the bias and total lack of objectivity of the mainstream (most followed) media.

  2. Using a breeder reactor with spent fuel reprocessing to purge fission products allows the entire mass of uranium and all transuranics to be fissioned, leaving only fission products. The fission products are high-level waste, but these have far less energy in them than transuranics or the original uranium, and so will reach a safe level of radioactivity in only 300 years (equal to that of the original uranium), and could never be used to make a bomb. Over the course of the millions of years that follow, the fission products will become much less radioactive than the original uranium, which has a half-life of 4.7 billion years for the dominant isotope, U-238, and over 700 million years for U-235. The mass of the fission products is slightly less than the original uranium, and the mass of new uranium needed for this process is miniscule, for with full fissioning, 1 pound uranium = 3 million pounds of coal. Consequently, the mass of waste generated, given present levels of energy consumption, is negligible, and would be quite manageable even if world energy consumption were to increase 100-fold and be entirely from this process (which is exactly what we should strive to make happen).

    Using a breeder reactor also allows thorium to be made fissionable, thus increasing the nuclear fuel supply about 4-fold over uranium alone. Thorium is also advocated by those who worry about plutonium and bomb-making, because thorium is converted to U-233 in a breeder reactor, a substance that is even more difficult to make into a bomb than Plutonium or U-235, but still a good fuel for power generation.

    Energy is far too expensive already, and society’s outlook is dominated by the genocidal policy of the British Empire, in particular, the Fabian Society (eugenics and one world socialist government!) and its environmentalist and ecologist offshoots. The time for the nuclear renaissance is now! (actually, 60 years past due.) Had we not allowed nuclear fission to be locked down, we would already be using nuclear fusion by now, not just for power on earth, but for power and propulsion of spaceships.

  3. If things keep going the way they have, we will have to get permission to start a bonfire by rubbing sticks together. That would be much too high tech to be in the hands of ordinary people. Only the political elite would be permitted to have fire to cook their food and dry caves to get out of the weather. The rest of us, the few who are still alive, will have to live under a bush and eat raw food. What little food we would have would have to be obtained by approved sustainable hunting and gathering methods. None of this plowing and farming stuff. The gophers might get hurt and we wouldn’t want that to happen.

    If you think this is a bit over the top, think again. It is the end point of all the greenies plans, policies, and practices.

  4. Sorry to disagree, Paul, but most (if not all) of the waste that was to be put in Yucca Mountain was high level spent fuel with long lived and highly radioactive isotopes. But I do agree that we may find a use for it and will dig it back up to use it as the resource it is. In the future, when other energy has become expensive and society has a different outlook, we can reproccess it and burn it again, or even use it in ways we can’t conceive of now. Or maybe we’ll have fusion by then!

  5. We already do have a use. Put it in a breeder reactor and turn it back into usable nuclear fuel. We developed the technology and it works. Carter banned it due to small amounts of plutonium that is generated in the process. doesn’t stop the French and Russians from using it. Using a breeder reactor eliminates pretty much all of the waste from the cycle.

  6. Need to revoke the ban on reprocessing spent fuel. The high level waste problem would go away. There are places for low level waste storage.

  7. People fear what they don’t understand. Most of the waste is low level and will not remain dangerous for 10K years. Generally the more active something is, the faster it decays into something more stable.So even the high level stuff will be much less radioactive in a few hundred years. Hell, before then we probably will have found a good use for it and will be digging it back up anyways.

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