Reid’s victory on Yucca Mountain is nation’s loss

reid
Last week, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid celebrated victory.

For more than two decades, Reid has fought location of a high-level nuclear-waste repository at the Yucca Mountain site in his native Nevada. Now, with fellow Democrat Barack Obama in the White House, he believes the battle is won, at least for now.

“It’s over with —- Yucca Mountain is gone,” Reid said, citing Obama’s 2010 budget, which strips funds for building the depository.

But Reid’s victory —- testament to his power as Senate majority leader —- represents a setback for the nation. It is a victory of narrow, not-in-my-backyard politics at the expense of issues that are truly global and epic in scale: climate change and the safe storage of nuclear waste.

Yucca Mountain is admittedly not the perfect solution to storage of spent nuclear fuel. Given the incredibly long half-life of high-level waste —- it will remain dangerous for an estimated 10,000 years, roughly twice the length of recorded human history so far —- absolute confidence in a storage solution is impossible. Ice ages, earthquakes, climate changes, meteorite strikes —- even leaving mankind out of it, the number of things that could go wrong at any particular site over 10 millennia is enormous.

However, if Yucca Mountain is not the perfect answer, it is by all available evidence our best answer.

We as a society have made the decision to use nuclear power. A lot of Americans aren’t happy with that decision, but it is a decision that is not likely to be reversed. So we better deal with the consequences —- including the spent-fuel waste created by nuclear power —- as responsibly as possible.

Furthermore, the problem would remain even if we were to shut down every nuclear plant in the country and never build another one. If that happened, we would still need to store some 50,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel as safely as possible for what passes for eternity.

But where?

The Obama administration says it is reopening that question, forming a blue-ribbon panel to explore alternative storage strategies. But there’s no scientific reason to believe that will produce a solution other than long-term storage in an isolated desert area such as Yucca Mountain.

At best, after several more years and billions of dollars, the panel will come back to suggest an isolated desert area, but one that doesn’t happen to be represented by the Senate majority leader.

That has a lot of people upset, and for good reason. Without a long-term spent-fuel storage site, it becomes harder to responsibly address climate change, Obama’s top environmental priorities.

Conservation is the cleanest possible source of additional energy, and it’s underutilized in this country. Solar power, wind power and biofuels can make important contributions as well. “Clean coal” —- coal-fired electricity-generating plants that recapture Earth-warming carbon instead of dumping it into the atmosphere —- is a theoretical possibility with untested technology and economics.

That leaves nuclear power. It is costly to build and technically complicated, but unlike coal and natural gas, it does not produce carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. Given the mathematics of energy use and growth, nuclear power inevitably will play a major role in addressing climate change.

But without a permanent storage facility, nuclear power becomes both more dangerous and more expensive.

Years ago, I worked as a journalist and editorial writer in Nevada. I know firsthand about the state’s intense opposition to serving as a nuclear waste depository and why it feels that way.

Back in the ’50s and ’60s, when nuclear bombs were exploded above-ground at the Nevada Test Site, the government assured local residents of their safety. The explosions became a tourist attraction, drawing people from around the country, and a mushroom cloud was even incorporated into the local county government seal.

But years later, strange cancers began to appear. Questions began to be asked, and for a long time —- for far too long —- federal officials tried to suppress evidence that nuclear radiation had played a role. Eventually, after a hard fight, more than 10,000 “downwinders” with cancer won compensation from Washington.

Steven Chu, a Nobel-prize winning physicist appointed by Obama to serve as secretary of energy, no doubt understands both the science and the politics of the situation. Obama himself has emphasized the primacy of science in guiding decision-making. But on this one, he’s making a regrettable exception.

107 comments Add your comment

I Report :-)/ You Whine :-(

May 11th, 2009
7:31 am

Yes, things like this are proof positive that liberals do not deal with reason or facts, they are guided purely by their feminine emotions.

The democrat party, our return to the 9th century.

Susan Myers

May 11th, 2009
7:36 am

The politicians (read: Harry Reid) would have you think they are experts on everything by the way they pontificate endlessly on those things about which they know only the buzz-words.

Bottom line: Yucca Mountain is safe. It is probably the most studied geological formation in the country. The risks are absolutely minimal. The real problem lies with perceptions fostered by ignorant (again, read: Harry Reid) politicians. Reid doesn’t have many claims-to-fame, so he has jumped on the anti-Yucca Mountain bandwagon to win some ill-deserved accolades.

Sooner or later, we must let the scientists and engineers have their say…not a big-mouthed buffoon like Reid.

DB, Gwinnettian

May 11th, 2009
7:37 am

At best, after several more years and billions of dollars, the panel will come back to suggest an isolated desert area, but one that doesn’t happen to be represented by the Senate majority leader.

Simpler solution: get a Senate majority leader other than “Give ‘em Head” Harry, and move forward with plans to build the facility.

kitty

May 11th, 2009
7:44 am

If Yucca Mountain was in a predominantly red state…like Georgia…its senators would be against it as well. That is their job. To protect their constituency. NIMBY crosses party lines. It is short sighted politics, but it isn’t partisan.

I Report :-)/ You Whine :-(

May 11th, 2009
7:57 am

Our future-

Last Wednesday, Marco Rubio, a 37-year-old, Cuban-American lawyer from Miami and a former speaker of the Florida House, declared he will be running for the U.S. Senate……..Rubio went on to lament Republicans who “just want to survive. Their message seems to be if you can’t beat them, join them. If we go in this direction Republicans become just another branch of the Democrats.” -AmSpec

Red Foreman

May 11th, 2009
7:58 am

Hey, I got an idea…let’s store it at Jay’s house…

RW-(the original)

May 11th, 2009
8:01 am

So basically what you’re saying is that after spending billions of dollars Obambi is going to discover that Bush was right again.

Ray

May 11th, 2009
8:03 am

Just goes to show that a politician will do anything to get re-elected. It isn’t about the danger of putting this stuff at Yucca Mountain….. If Reid doesn’t fight this thing and appears to favor it, his constituents will vote him out. Ah, perpetual politicians…… this country’s biggest threat.

DB, Gwinnettian

May 11th, 2009
8:12 am

Bush was right again.

I must have missed that part where Bush staked his political capital and used his party’s majority in both houses of Congress to make the facility a reality.

BTW, I did finally notice your inquiry about DADT over the weekend and replied to it downstairs, if you’re interested.

@@

May 11th, 2009
8:16 am

“It’s over with —- Yucca Mountain is gone,” Reid said, citing Obama’s 2010 budget, which strips funds for building the depository.

Obama’s political Cap & Trade with Harry? Noooooo…those kinda things can’t happen under an Obama administration.

absolute confidence in a storage solution is impossible. Ice ages, earthquakes, climate changes, meteorite strikes —- even leaving mankind out of it, the number of things that could go wrong at any particular site over 10 millennia is enormous.

Giant asteroids, super volcanoes….both of which could alter life as we know it if not end it altogether. For peace of mind, we’ll let the politicians convince us that it’s they who can control all things. It’ll come with a price tag though.

Redneck Convert

May 11th, 2009
8:20 am

Well, let’s put the waste in Atlanta. This Shirley Franklin is always whining about jobs and wanting to raise taxes. The Atlanta Nuclear Waste Repository sounds perfect for her and that whole bunch. The only problem might could be the people there might want to steal some of it. Anyhow, a good earthquake after it got built would get rid of most of the libruls in this state.

Joe Matarotz

May 11th, 2009
8:21 am

Easy there, Jay Bird. Criticizing Reid will get you into the same hot water that David Feherty is in. Far better to be like Wanda Sykes – make fun of every Republicant in sight, even if it stoops to viciousness or racism. You will have Obama’s blessing, just like Wanda had. No, no double standard there. And for the record, Reid is another self-serving scum who will do anything to be reelected.

Mort Merkel

May 11th, 2009
8:26 am

DB, Gwinnettian

May 11th, 2009
8:28 am

Wanda Sykes – make fun of every Republicant in sight, even if it stoops to viciousness or racism.

Cite, please for her “racism.” I need a laugh.

Mrs. Godzilla

May 11th, 2009
8:28 am

I’m a no nukes kinda’ gal.

Nuclear waste should be stored under The US Capital and every US State Capital.

You vote for it….you glow for it.

ty webb

May 11th, 2009
8:31 am

Jay,
years ago you worked as a journalist? Who knew.

AmVet

May 11th, 2009
8:33 am

What is wrong with some of the regular right-wingers here who consistently fail to acknowledge that Bookman regularly indicts Democrats as well as Republicans (granted the percentages offend their sensibilities)?

I have several guesses regarding intellectual honesty or the lack thereof but what the heck it is a rhetorical question.

I have historically been hesitant to support such a measure, but the generally useless Harry Reid and many others are the perfect reason to implement term limits in Congress.

Twelve years and gone.

No more permanent oligarchies…

TnGelding

May 11th, 2009
8:34 am

Linville

May 11th, 2009
6:49 am

Let’s hope you’re right. But I’m afraid that the reason the Shiia want us to leave is so they can really go after the Sunni.

This is one of the reasons things have quietened down:

http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/iraq?page=intro

Patty

May 11th, 2009
8:36 am

Each state should dispose of their own nuclear waste. Only by having to make this decision will state officials think about whether nuclear power is the way of the future. If Stan Wise, Georgia Public Service Commissioner, had to dispose of nuclear waste close to his residence, he may change his mind about making Georgia citizens pay in advance for two new nuclear reactors we don’t want. Solar, wind, hydrogen, natural gas for vehicles, and other alternative energy sources are much better for Georgia and the environment. As long as we cannot dispose of the nuclear waste we have accumulated to date, we should not pursue additional sources of nuclear power. Every school, government building and shopping center in Georgia should have solar panels. Georgia government officials should be at the forefront in encouraging local businesses to pursue investment in safe alternative energy sources. Nuclear power is not safe if the waste remains dangerous for 10,000 years.

Patty
Cumming, GA

ByteMe

May 11th, 2009
8:38 am

Jay, when you researched this column, did you find out where France stores there nuclear waste? What was their solution to this problem?

Thanks!

Taxpayer

May 11th, 2009
8:38 am

…The public was told the releases were “insignificant.” But stack monitors were saturated and unusable, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission later told Congress it did not know—and STILL does not know—how much radiation was released at Three Mile Island, or where it went.

Using unsubstantiated estimates of how much radiation was released, the government issued average doses allegedly received by people in the region, which it assured the public were safe. But the estimates were utterly meaningless, among other things ignoring the likelihood that high doses of concentrated fallout could come down heavily on specific areas.

Official estimates said a uniform dose to all persons in the region was equivalent to a single chest x-ray. But pregnant women are no longer x-rayed because it has long been known a single dose can do catastrophic damage to an embryo or fetus in utero.

The public was told there was no melting of fuel inside the core. But robotic cameras later showed a very substantial portion of the fuel did melt.

The public was told there was no danger of an explosion. But there was, as there had been at Michigan’s Fermi reactor in 1966. In 1986, Chernobyl Unit Four did explode.

The public was told there was no need to evacuate anyone from the area. But Pennsylvania Governor Richard Thornburgh then evacuated pregnant women and small children. Unfortunately, many were sent to nearby Hershey, which was showered with fallout.

In fact, the entire region should have been immediately evacuated. It is standard wisdom in the health physics community that—due in part to the extreme vulnerability of human embryos, fetuses and small children, as well as the weaknesses of old age—there is no safe dose of radiation, and none will ever be found…

Safe, low-cost, dependable nuclear power…”Trust me!” Riiiiiiight.

I Report :-)/ You Whine :-(

May 11th, 2009
8:45 am

What is wrong with some of the regular right-wingers here who consistently fail to acknowledge that Bookman regularly indicts Democrats as well as Republicans (granted the percentages offend their sensibilities)?

AmVet- Just because you are blinded from seeing the pointless, after the fact opportunism all so that bookman burnish his pro energy credentials, doesn’t mean we are-

If nuclear power plants aren’t being built, it’s not because they are hugely expensive and a big risk for investors, it’s the fault of environmentalists.-Bookman, 6/22/08

http://www.ajc.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/ajc/bookman/entries/2008/06/22/

Believe me, bookman sees the loss of Yucca as a victory too.

DB, Gwinnettian

May 11th, 2009
8:46 am

Bytme, maybe some of it goes to… russia?

I’m sure they can be trusted not to do anything irresponsible with it.

Mrs. Godzilla

May 11th, 2009
8:58 am

…..and some of it gets illegally dumped of the coast of somalia….

sd

May 11th, 2009
9:03 am

Bookman, you were right to paint this as Yucca Mountain versus the Rest of the Country. Thankfully, we live in a country that has a constitution that protects the minority against the majority. You wouldn’t want this stuff stored in Stone Mountain. The people of Yucca Mountain didn’t creat this waste, they shouldn’t be responsible for it.

Here was National Geographic’s take on this 7 years ago.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/07/0711_020711_yuccaspikes.html

AmVet

May 11th, 2009
9:09 am

“We”, Andy?

You don’t have a gerbil in your pocket do you?

Given that the hijacked and hemorrhaging GOP has been humiliated in two straight elections and is very, very busy destroying what little is left of itself (at least in the eyes of everyone save the 21% club) perhaps JB can be more gracious. Who knows?

BTW, it would seem that you didn’t even read what you linked. The considerations noted are valid.

Funny that you of ALL the people here would talk about blindness…

Bosch

May 11th, 2009
9:09 am

Space – that’s where it needs to be stored – or shipped. Can’t we send it to Neptune?

TnGelding

May 11th, 2009
9:11 am

I think Reid is celebrating a little early. Let’s wait and see what actually happens. I don’t think we need to worry about 10,000 years. Mankind will have taken a giant step backward way before then.

And then there’s the problem of transporting it to the site. Many communities don’t even want it passing through town. For that REASON I WOULD RECOMMEND REGIONAL SITES.

What about temporarily (that’s all we really need to worry about) using abandoned uranium or coal mines, or just leave it where it is?

One possible solution:

http://www.argee.net/DefenseWatch/Nuclear%20Waste%20and%20Breeder%20Reactors.htm

Red Foreskin

May 11th, 2009
9:18 am

Red Foreman,
You’re really funny. You should get job writing comedy jokes. Real funny……

Cherokee

May 11th, 2009
9:25 am

Patty – great idea – (just wanted to acknowledge it before it gets lost in the usual foul right wing drivel that gets posted on Jay’s blog)

TnGelding

May 11th, 2009
9:31 am

Jay is certainly right about conservation. Our waste of energy should be a national disgrace. And why are we even selling energy inefficient devices? They could be recalled and retrofitted or recycled, or possibly sold in energy rich countries.

Another interesting development:

http://www.utexas.edu/news/2009/01/27/nuclear_hybrid/

Shawny

May 11th, 2009
9:31 am

I wouldn’t say Bookman regularly indicts democrats, but rather, occasionally indicts them. You are correct in this post, NIMBY holds us back, and it is always a politically motivated behavior, just like TK opposing a wind farm station off the coast of Mass.

Nuc-u-lar power is safe. Perhaps we could shoot quantities of the spent fuel into deep space.

Midori

May 11th, 2009
9:33 am

Hey Joe Matarotx: Boss Limbaugh BUILT his career by being a divisive, bigoted, demagogue, those offended by Wanda Sykes jokes need to get a life.
http://blog.windycitywatch.com/2009/05/boss-limbaugh-built-his-career-by-being.html

Taxpayer

May 11th, 2009
9:40 am

Well,

I think Jay could be (although, I don’t really know) against the further proliferation of nuclear power plants AND be in favor of some form of nuclear waste storage that would consolidate the current on-site storage used by the nuclear power plants. It’s just another fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into and we still don’t have a good solution. One thing is certain though, we simply cannot afford to tax the big businesses that create these problems and use those proceeds to help fund long-term solutions because that would take away some of their profits and their ability to hire good high-priced CEOs, etc. But, that’s another story. Now that we have some people in government that believe in science maybe we’ll make some positive headway. After all, faith sure hasn’t solved anything.

FYI,

There are 80 nuclear power plants operating east of the Mississippi; nine are located in New York and Pennsylvania. If for any reason one of these 9 reactor sites were to experience a loss of water in their holding tanks for the hot spent fuel rods, it could send a radioactive cloud sweeping over New York City and other populated areas downwind, leaving New York state, including Manhattan Island, uninhabitable. The resulting economic devastation running into the trillions of dollars could very possibly lead to the collapse of the US economy. The only way to reduce this threat of exposure is to reduce the on-site storage of radioactive waste.

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
9:40 am

Big difference, Midori.

Wanda Sykes joked that she hopes Rush Limbaugh’s kidneys fail.

Not exactly humorous.

[...] Jay Bookman declares Harry Reid’s victory on Yucca Mountain to be the nation’s loss. [...]

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
9:45 am

Taxpayer.

Loved to article you posted regarding TMI. Just a few holes in it that you could drive a truck through, which is better than your usual posts.

Loved the comment comparing TMI to Chernobyl and the possibility of an explosion. Minor problem – two completely different TYPES of reactors, and two different operations.

Don’t let facts get in the way of a good rant.

Citizens of Uranus

May 11th, 2009
9:48 am

Wanda Sykes joked that she hopes Rush Limbaugh’s kidneys fail.

Not exactly humorous.

Perhaps not, but “racist?” That was Joe’s assertion @ 8.21, and I’m still waiting for evidence.

Taxpayer

May 11th, 2009
9:48 am

Shipping the 77,000 tons of radioactive material from 131 sites, located in 39 states, across 45 states to Yucca Mountain is how the Department of Energy plans to reduce that risk. This includes 44,000 tons of spent fuel rods from 31 states and 33,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste, most from bomb and warhead-making facilities located in 8 other states. This material would be shipped by truck and rail across 45 states and through some densely populated areas, like Chicago and St. Louis. Much of it would be shipped in steel casks, while the more highly radioactive material would be shipped in lead lined casks. Each rail cask would weigh approximately 145 tons and hold an amount of Cesium 137 that would be the equivalent of 260 times that released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. The Nuclear Energy Institute has reported that these waste canister cylinders have 15-inch thick, triple layered walls of steel and lead. They have undergone tests to withstand punctures, 120 mph collisions and exposure to a 21,475-degree fire for ½ hour.

And, the first order for these special containers will go to the low-cost bidder — some little outfit in China, or was it India. But, I digress.

Taxpayer

May 11th, 2009
9:51 am

DaveR,

Stuff it. You obviously do not know what you are even talking about so don’t even try to claim that your 5th grade education qualifies you to do more than shine my, well, shoes.

Midori

May 11th, 2009
9:54 am

Dave R,

I hope they fail, too.

Much like Rush hopes the country fails.

Flashback: Top 10 Racist Rush Limbaugh Quotes:

1. I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.

2. You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray . We miss you, James. Godspeed.

3. Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?

4. Right. So you go into Darfur and you go into South Africa, you get rid of the white government there. You put sanctions on them. You stand behind Nelson Mandela — who was bankrolled by communists for a time, had the support of certain communist leaders. You go to Ethiopia. You do the same thing.

5. Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.

http://newsone.blackplanet.com/obama/top-10-racist-limbaugh-quotes/

Expected

May 11th, 2009
9:57 am

Reid (as with most of the current administration) continues being foolhardy, shortsighted, and self-serving !!! This and domestic and international PC will be the end of the US…

Taxpayer

May 11th, 2009
9:58 am

It is estimated that 99,700 trips by truck will be required from 72 of the nuclear power plants alone, with an additional 16,240 coming from the Hanford facility, and another 2,460 from Idaho National Engineering. Thousands of more trips would be required for the 57 additional sites. Some 50 million people live within ½ mile of these projected routes. Critics have pointed out that the trucks or trains could become targets of terrorists or that an accident could occur, leaving one of the casks leaking its cargo into the air, rivers, or lakes. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham says there is little risk to the public, and that the U.S. has already transported 2,700 loads of spent nuclear waste over 1.6 million miles since the 1960’s, “without one accident resulting from the harmful release of radiation.” This information is disputed by representatives of the state of Nevada who contend that there have been 11 accidents where detectable amounts of radioactive materials were released. .

Well, that no good Perdue needs to get those funds released to the DOT so they can start building I-3. After all, there are a whole lot of truck loads of nuclear waste that needs to be transported and we need better (i.e., less populated) routes than ones passing through Atlanta, for example.

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
9:59 am

Great Midori. You libs all cry about how “mean” Republicans are, but even they never go so far as to wish someone would die.

Great double standard you have there.

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
10:02 am

Taxpayer, obviously one of your “three degrees” never came from Columbia University. Maybe those online degree mills you “attended” don’t cover actual research like the big boys do.

Columbia University study vs. lib-based “interpretations”.

I think I’ll go with Columbia University on this one.

Mrs. Godzilla

May 11th, 2009
10:03 am

In defense of Wanda Sykes…..

She didn’t say she wanted Limbaugh to fail, just his kidneys!
His health insurance would provide dialysis and his $$$ would by him
a couple of used kidneys.

If Mr. Limbaugh and his supporters cannot take it,
I suggest they stop dishing it out. Think about how many and how often some of our resident conservatives have told us….they never ever listen to Rush.

Making a big deal out of a comedienne’s comments about one of the most reviled characters on the political landscape is not a bright idea for the rad right. There’s way too much video of Limbaugh and his own spiteful words.

On topic, would there be room at Yucca Mtn for Rush?

I Report :-)/ You Whine :-(

May 11th, 2009
10:03 am

Does it never dawn on our resident dimwit liberals that this stuff is being stored somwhere, right this minute, and that we are hard pressed to find people that glow in the dark?

Why do you democrats hate thought so much?

Susan Myers

May 11th, 2009
10:04 am

Rush Limbaugh – The one who proclaimed that Ted Kennedy would die from brain cancer soon and who also made fun of Michael J. Fox and his Parkinsons disease…among other things.

Wanda Sykes was awesome.

The beauty of humor comes from the truths that it tells.

Go Wanda Sykes!

DB, Gwinnettian

May 11th, 2009
10:05 am

You libs all cry about how “mean” Republicans are, but even they never go so far as to wish someone would die.

No, they go right ahead and make it happen without bothering to publicly wish for it first.

jon

May 11th, 2009
10:08 am

Just dump the stuff into deep ocean trenches. It will slowly release into the seawater and be harmlessly diluted.

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
10:10 am

DB, cute comment, but sadly lacking facts to back it up.

Please show how specific Republicans are killing specific people.

DB, Gwinnettian

May 11th, 2009
10:10 am

My pdf link was eated before… trying again…

http://web.knoxnews.com/pdf/021009church-manifesto.pdf

ty webb

May 11th, 2009
10:10 am

Funny how a list of supposed racist comments by Rush Limbaugh is compiled by a writer for a website that is dedicated to “News for Black America”.

DB, Gwinnettian

May 11th, 2009
10:11 am

Dave, I just did.

And before you go all “that nutball’s not representative of actual republicans” tell me how his rant that I’ve linked to @ 10.10 doesn’t encompass standard issue Limbaughing talking points, just taken up a slight notch.

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
10:11 am

Susan, I know english and cogent thought are not your strong suit, however, stating that someone will die and wishing for someone to die are two vastly different thoughts.

DB, Gwinnettian

May 11th, 2009
10:12 am

ty, you want to tell us what’s wrong with compiling “News for Black America?”

GOP is gone

May 11th, 2009
10:13 am

Agree with Patty. Good ideas and would create jobs making solar panels

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
10:13 am

Sorry DB, try again. Try using something that doesn’t encompass a lunatic.

Midori

May 11th, 2009
10:13 am

DB,

Why waste your time on idiots.

He only sees what he wants to see.

He probably gets a drug discount from Rush as well – that’s why he defends him so vehemently.

Doggone/GA

May 11th, 2009
10:14 am

The whole question is bunch of malarky. There’s not reason to store nuclear waste at all. It looks like a lot of stuff because it has to be stored in radiation proof containers. So big deal. Collect it for a year, just as we’ve been storing it now, and once a year shoot the damn stuff into the sun. It’ll be GONE and we’ll have no worries about what will happen for the next 10,000 years…about which we have no clue anyway.

DB, Gwinnettian

May 11th, 2009
10:15 am

Try using something that doesn’t encompass a lunatic.

I’d like to, but this is the modern-day Republican party we’re talking about, here.

Midori

May 11th, 2009
10:15 am

On topic, would there be room at Yucca Mtn for Rush?

Mrs. G,

now that he got rid of that giant pimple on his rear (you know, the one that kept him out of the armed services), there just ‘might’ be.

Taxpayer

May 11th, 2009
10:16 am

In reactors designed to produce plutonium for weapons, the spent fuel rods are removed from the reactor core and undergo a series of processing procedures to recover the tiny bits of plutonium (approximately 3 grams per fuel rod). This is accomplished by using a variety of chemicals and acids such as nitric acid to melt the rods and uranium pellets inside. Plutonium, being heavier, drops to the bottom of this solution and is then able to be recovered. After further processing, it is eventually molded then machined into spherical pits. This plutonium pit, usually about the size of a softball, then becomes the heart of a thermo nuclear “weapon.” It’s during this separating process to recover the plutonium that large quantities of liquid, long lived, radioactive waste are produced.

Over 55 million gallons are stored at the Hanford reservation in Washington State. This mix of radioactive waste includes many dangerous chemicals, acids and nitrates that, if not treated properly, can be very explosive. The waste solution is then stored in underground tanks that vary in size, holding anywhere from 55,000 to 1.4 million gallons.

Heat generated by the decaying isotopes requires that the tanks containing the potentially explosive solutions be surrounded by a circulation system of water-filled cooling pipes. Because of the extremely corrosive nature of their contents and the deteriorating effects that the radiation has upon them, some tanks develop leaks after a short period of time, requiring their contents to be transferred to others. Sixty five tanks have leaked over 1 million gallons into the ground at Hanford. In addition to the required cooling, some tanks need to be stirred on a regular schedule (at a cost of $1.4 million per stirring) to keep them from developing dangerous internal “hot” and/or “dry” spots. If for any reason there is a cooling system failure and the contents dry out, the nitrates and other chemicals can spontaneously explode.

Which is just what happened in 1957 at the Miaks Works, a Plutonium Production facility, said to be a pipe-for-pipe copy of the Hanford complex in the United States. It was in the Urals at Chelyabinsk in the former Soviet Union that a storage tank’s water cooling system failed, allowing its contents to dry out. The nitrates inside exploded like a bomb, blowing off the top and spewing 20 million curies of Strontium 90, Cesium 137, and other radioactivity material almost a mile into the air. It drifted downwind, contaminating 15,000 square miles, super saturating an area 300 miles long and 1 to 2 miles wide. The government was slow to act but eventually 30 villages and their surrounding farms of over 10,000 people were evacuated, leaving everything behind.

ty webb

May 11th, 2009
10:16 am

BDatlanta,
As far as I know, the regular news wasn’t being witheld from “black America”.

Midori

May 11th, 2009
10:18 am

what’s so funny about it Ty?

don’t you think black Americans should keep up with scum who makes racist jokes and comments ABOUT black Americans?

or should we look to white america for that?

Mrs. Godzilla

May 11th, 2009
10:19 am

….shoot it into space…..remember the Challenger? the Columbia?

DB, Gwinnettian

May 11th, 2009
10:20 am

ty, you think that Obama attended a “Racist church” too, don’t you?

You funny.

ByteMe

May 11th, 2009
10:20 am

DB @ 8:46: thank you for that link. Think we could use Canada for it? :)

DB, Gwinnettian

May 11th, 2009
10:22 am

once a year shoot the damn stuff into the sun.

With a gi-normous slingshot? How you going to do that cost-effectively?

Really must run. Later, all.

Susan Myers

May 11th, 2009
10:24 am

irrelevant one @ 10:11,

Mornin’, luvah. Had fun last night, didn’t we?

I must tell you though, do not invite me back to your place again for drinks, etc. until you clean that place. Seriously, hon, it smelled like a sewer.

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
10:24 am

Gee Taxpayer, can you cite anything closer than 50 years ago?

And maybe in THIS country, rather than the failed Socialist haven you cherished?

And, of course, your post makes the PERFECT case for transferring this waste to Yucca Mountain where it can be stored even more safely.

Did they have a debate class in any of those online “degree mills” you attended?

DB, Gwinnettian

May 11th, 2009
10:27 am

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
10:28 am

Mrs. G., you make a good point about shooting this waste into space, but you are off a bit on your examples.

Challenger exploded during launch phase. Columbia launched successfully, but disintegrated during re-entry following a completed mission.

ty webb

May 11th, 2009
10:28 am

Just thought it was odd that there was a website dedicated to “news for Black America”. I didn’t know the regular news wasn’t available to “black America”. Is the “news for Black America” seperate but equal to the regular news? Does it include the same stuff as regular news i.e., two wars, economic crisis, Souter leaving the supreme court, the torture debate?

Mrs. Godzilla

May 11th, 2009
10:29 am

Dave R….you are correct…..but glad to see you got the point, thanks.

Paul

May 11th, 2009
10:29 am

First Gitmo, now this.

The Democratic Party is turning into the NIMBY Party.

ty webb

May 11th, 2009
10:34 am

DB,
No I don’t think Obama’s church is racist. I do however feel that his former reverend doesn’t like white people though.

Susan Myers

May 11th, 2009
10:36 am

I was ROFLMAO when Wanda said she hoped his (Limbaugh’s) kidneys fail, and that Keith Olbermann waterboards Hannity. Too funny!

Taxpayer

May 11th, 2009
10:37 am

For those of you who have never heard of Chelyabinsk, the facility with cooling tanks that are almost a carbon copy of the Hanford facility, read about it here. It’s known as the most polluted place on earth. By the way, I think some of that stimulus money is going toward some more cleanup work at the Hanford facility. Four hundred people will have a chance to glow in the dark. You folks be careful out there.

Taxpayer

May 11th, 2009
10:39 am

DaveR,

Do you care to challenge me with something more substantive than your continued displays of sheer stupidity.

ByteMe

May 11th, 2009
10:42 am

Whiner @ 10:03: I want to commend you for an EXCELLENT point about the waste debate (not the name-calling, which is trite and boring, but calling into question where exactly all this waste is at the moment).

Nuclear waste is indeed currently being stored about 150 or so miles from here. In less secure conditions than might be possible under a mountain in the middle of a desert.

Mrs. Godzilla

May 11th, 2009
10:44 am

Susan….

my fave….”I could break Hannity by giving him a middle seat in coach!”

(that nearly breaks me)

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
10:45 am

Taxpayer, I challenge you with every word you post.

Every time.

Maybe they didn’t teach you much about research while you were attending one of your three online “degree mills”, but citing a single source, when that source is written by an activist for the environmental movement, is not exactly what I call hard-hitting news. Frankly, it is even worse commentary.

Maybe citing a facility that has nothing to do with Hanford except for the same INITIAL design 50 years ago is your idea of research, but it is not mine. Maybe using as an example a country that applies resources to handle issues as they develop, rather than one whose mode of operation was to sweep things under the rug would benefit your case.

Your BS was tiring before. It is pathetic and tedious now.

TnGelding

May 11th, 2009
10:49 am

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
9:40 am

Maybe she just meant he’d urinate on himself?

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
10:53 am

Possibly so, Gelding.

Taxpayer

May 11th, 2009
10:54 am

DaveR,

You are not equipped with the mental capacity to challenge anything that I have posted. Hence, your continued postings of worthless dribble. Do some homework and show me that you are capable of providing something substantive — not more of the same. Further, if you think that I post BS, prove it by posting something that is not BS for a change. Or, you could just resort to more tall tales about your time as an elected one. Perhaps, some more of that mantra about your expertise with the constitution. Pathetic indeed.

TnGelding

May 11th, 2009
10:56 am

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
9:59 am

Ever heard of dialysis?

http://www.medicinenet.com/kidney_failure/article.htm

N.J,

May 11th, 2009
10:57 am

I Mo disagree. Not only is Yucca Mountain a bad solution, its not even the best method of underground storage.st other nations have advanced to another method, in which the spent radioactive materials are melted and mixed with molten glass gathered from glass that is thrown away as garbage rather than recycled. Once the material is mixed with the glass there it does not pose the sort of problems that merely burying it underground in barrels does. Most of those who think that plutonium should simply be buried forget about the massive boon to terrorists these sites are. Besides being potential bomb material plutonium is one of the most toxic substances known to man. One gram of it, in powdered form, dumped over any major city, would kill 20,000 people within a few minutes. An ounce would kill around 500,000. Once plutonium is stored in glass, separating it out is something that is beyond the abilities of a terrorist organization as well. It would require some very complex manufacturing equipment.

N.J,

May 11th, 2009
11:20 am

The glass storage methods used for radioactive waste create solid pellets which are completely stabilized. Its called vitrification, and it is a far better option than storing liquid waste in tanks or drums:

Long-term storage of radioactive waste requires the stabilization of the waste into a form which will not react, nor degrade, for extended periods of time. One way to do this is through vitrification. Currently at Sellafield the high-level waste (PUREX first cycle raffinate) is mixed with sugar and then calcined. Calcination involves passing the waste through a heated, rotating tube. The purposes of calcination are to evaporate the water from the waste, and de-nitrate the fission products to assist the stability of the glass produced.[24]

The ‘calcine’ generated is fed continuously into an induction heated furnace with fragmented glass[2]. The resulting glass is a new substance in which the waste products are bonded into the glass matrix when it solidifies. This product, as a molten fluid, is poured into stainless steel cylindrical containers (”cylinders”) in a batch process. When cooled, the fluid solidifies (”vitrifies”) into the glass. Such glass, after being formed, is very highly resistant to water. [25]

After filling a cylinder, a seal is welded onto the cylinder. The cylinder is then washed. After being inspected for external contamination, the steel cylinder is stored, usually in an underground repository. In this form, the waste products are expected to be immobilized for a very long period of time (many thousands of years).[26]

The glass inside a cylinder is usually a black glossy substance. All this work (in the United Kingdom) is done using hot cell systems. The sugar is added to control the ruthenium chemistry and to stop the formation of the volatile RuO4 containing radio ruthenium. In the west, the glass is normally a borosilicate glass (similar to Pyrex), while in the former Soviet bloc it is normal to use a phosphate glass. The amount of fission products in the glass must be limited because some (palladium, the other Pt group metals, and tellurium) tend to form metallic phases which separate from the glass. In Germany a vitrification plant is in use; this is treating the waste from a small demonstration reprocessing plant which has since been closed down.[27][28]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioactive_waste

Its simply more expensive, but not much, and this is the primary reason that newer storage methods have not been adopted.

We have similar problems in the industries that produce flu vaccines. There are processes which speed the ability to produce vaccines up by a consideable degree, enabling a company to produce enough vaccine for every person in the United States in a matter of weeks, but the old equpment is good enough for the owners of the private businesses producing them so they will not update their plant equipment. Which would now take months to produce enough vaccines in time of national emergencies.

Hillbilly Deluxe

May 11th, 2009
11:31 am

What about storing the waste in the same community as the power plant? Let the community that is benefitting take the risks.

On Blue Ribbon Commissions:
Every time I hear mention of “Blue Ribbons”, I flash back to the livestock barns at the Southeastern Fair and the corresponding smell.

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
11:32 am

Already called BS on you, taxpayer, by pointing out your failure to provide current, relevant links that might prove your case.

What’s it like to be wrong all the time?

And how did you get those alleged “three degrees”? Prizes in the bottom of a Crackerjack box? Bazooka gum wrappers?

N.J,

May 11th, 2009
11:32 am

Yes, Nuclear power is now the only real viable answer to coal and oil fired plants, but the fact is that the Europeans are already working on thermonuclear plants which use only heavy water, lithium and lasers to prodce energy very clearly. First reactor thermonuclear is on schedule in France and will go on line in about six years. using a technology that Reagan cut funding to and was coming along very nicely in the 1970’s with what is now condsidered primative laser techenology. A reactor that would fit in the garage of a small home could power an entire city. Very clean energy as well. Fusion reactors produce no nuclear waste products, the reactors cannot have a meltdown. Their only downside, at least for the government, is that they dont produce substances you can use to make nuclear weapons.

Taxpayer

May 11th, 2009
11:35 am

The main purpose of the Price-Anderson Act is to ensure the availability of a large pool of funds (currently about $10 billion) to provide prompt and orderly compensation of members of the public who incur damages from a nuclear or radiological incident no matter who might be liable. The Act provides “omnibus” coverage, that is, the same protection available for a covered licensee or contractor extends through indemnification to any persons who may be legally liable, regardless of their identity or relationship to the licensed activity. Because the Act channels the obligation to pay compensation for damages, a claimant need not sue several parties but can bring its claim to the licensee or contractor.

As of January 1, 1998, the insurance pools had underwritten the following policies:
Operating power reactors 69 sites
Non-power reactors 27
Fuel fabrication facilities 6
Waste disposal and storage facilities 12
Miscellaneous facilities including nuclear
laundries and research laboratories 55
Discontinued nuclear facilities 20
Suppliers and transporters 225

I feel so much safer just knowing that we the people have all this insurance to protect us from all sorts of irradiating activities. :roll:

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
11:36 am

NJ, vitrification is fine for small amounts, but it is space prohibitive as well as cost prohibitive.

It shows promise, but is not the answer any time soon.

Taxpayer

May 11th, 2009
11:37 am

There goes DaveR again with his “proclamations”. If only life were as simple as it is between that one’s ears. He just “proclaims” it to be so and he thinks that it is. Now, run off and play with your Jean-Luc doll. Make it so.

N.J,

May 11th, 2009
11:47 am

Sorry Dave, R. The commercial interests in the United States have blocked methods that make nuclear wastes most safe, like vitrification, which even the Russians have started using. When they already have sarted creating acronyms for these processes around the world, its already a viable process. CNWV = Commercial Nuclear Waste Vitrification.

The first Russian and European vitrification trials occured back in 1967. The trial plant set up in the United States is at Hanford. Work started in 2006 and is behind schedule.

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
11:48 am

NJ, just because Reagan (allegedly) cut funding for fusion research, doesn’t mean that research isn’t now being done here and around the world.

Why do you look to government to solve all your problems?

Dave R

May 11th, 2009
11:51 am

NJ, no one was talking about anyone blocking vitrification. Stay on point.

The point was that it is SPACE AND COST prohibitive. Today. So it is not a solution any time soon. Stop looking for blame where blame does not exist.

ty webb

May 11th, 2009
11:59 am

Dave R,
I agree with your 11:48 post. Seems people always confuse cutting FEDERAL FUNDING with banning. They did the same thing with Bush and the whole stem cell debate. I guess is fits the whole “private industry” is evil arguement. To some, government is always the answer.

Sissy Saxby

May 11th, 2009
11:59 am

John Ensign, the Republican senator from Nevada, is also opposed to Yucca Mountain. The issue has nothing to do with liberal or conservative.