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February 10, 2007




Nuclear power has huge potential, and I hate to see it killed with impractible and backwards projects such as Yucca Mountain.


Rod Adams

Wow. I wonder how much it cost the US government to commission a study that says the same thing that I said on Atomic Insights back in March 1996 in an article titled Nuclear Waste Mountain: Unnecessary Sense of Urgency?

At least rational thought is finally beginning to prevail over the vested corporate interests that understand the equation that cost=revenue (of course, the cost side of the equation is ratepayer money while the revenue side of the equation is government contractor and employee money.)


Sorry atomic, that is not what the study says, that we ought to leave the waste here and there in "swimming pools" and concrete coffins. For any natural disaster or terror incident that comes along to release in a cloud of contamination "8 to 17 times worse than Chernobyl" (from a government study of used fuel rod swimming pools).

It says Yucca is terminally flawed, just as whistleblowers who quit their jobs in order to get around secrecy statements they were forced to sign by the "nuclear priesthood" have claimed.

Another huge corrupt nuclear contractor boondoggle will be needed. These fellers make Halliburton of the 320-tons-of-100s-in -a -C-130 (only 12 billion in taxpayer dollars) dissappearing into Iraq incident, look like small time crooks.

Bechtel and friends get a contract to run a facility through a shell corporation, spread contamination, then when they are caught, dissolve the shell company and bid for the contract to clean up their own mess with another shell corporation.

On and on it goes for decades under the guise of national security nuclear secrecy.

The next Yucca and the Yucca "cleanup" contracts will be the same old scam. Trust nuclear contractors? Only the very gullible amongst the faithbased voters will sign that dotted line again.

Actual cost for Yucca? Well over 50 billion already. This is another contractor/corrupt bribed politician friendly report. Begging for more dollars to prop up their criminal enterprise.


The link provided requires a sign in- perhaps you could quote more from the report...

Udo Stenzel

Sorry, amazingdrx, but nobody is talking about waste. Slightly used nuclear fuel is not what your delusion and paranoia tell you it is.


Udo - "Slightly used nuclear fuel is not what your delusion and paranoia tell you it is"

Slightly used fuel??????? What the hell is that?

"After spent nuclear fuel is removed from the reactor, it is placed inside concrete basins of water within the reactor facility. The water cools the spent nuclear fuel and shields workers from radiation. The "wet" method of storing spent nuclear fuel is not intended to be permanent. As the basins reach their storage capacity, some of the spent fuel must be moved to make room for future spent fuel when it is removed from the reactor.

Spent nuclear fuel that has been cooled may be moved to a "dry" storage area. Using remotely handled equipment, the spent fuel is removed from the pool, dried, and placed in specially designed canisters. The canisters are either stored in a shielded container or in a shielded vault-type dry storage facility where the circulation of air provides cooling. Dry storage reduces corrosion concerns associated with extended storage of fuel under water, provides all the safety characteristics of wet storage, and is less expensive to operate. "

So obviously these people at the http://nsnfp.inel.gov/whatis3.asp
are just overstating the dangers of spent nuclear fuel and storing it in water for a year or so until it is safe to move to a dry storage where it still has to be cooled!!

drx is not being paranoid about spent nuclear fuel.

Rod Adams

There is no statement of hazards to the public, only a description of the methods used to ensure that the energetic material is properly stored and monitored.

Yes, unshielded nuclear fuel is dangerous. So are many industrial products and many services that we use every day. The fact of the matter is that NO ONE has every been injured by being exposed to radiation from used nuclear fuel. The precautions are straightforward and cheap on a per unit energy produced basis.

The reason that many of us are now carefully choosing to refer to the material that comes out of the second generation reactors now in commercial operation is that the fuel assemblies still contain between 95 and 97% of the initial potential energy of the original fuel.

We are still in our infancy in nuclear technology and have not really implemented many of the advances that have already been proven in both laboratory and pilot scale operation. We can do a lot better than 5% burnup using known and proven technology.

Of course, there are plenty of people that sell coal, oil, gas and current nuclear fuel systems that have a vested financial reason for not talking much about the benefits of the competition.


Rod - "The fact of the matter is that NO ONE has every been injured by being exposed to radiation from used nuclear fuel.

No not yet but can you personally guarantee this for the required time. No because you will be long dead. What you are really saying is that "NO ONE has every been injured by being exposed to radiation from used nuclear fuel while I have been alive". What happens after you are dead is a somebody else's problem.

"The precautions are straightforward and cheap on a per unit energy produced basis."

Riiiiight! So you say this on a post saying that the wonder of wonder waste repository will cost 38 billion dollars and is 10 years overdue. That really sounds straightforward and cheap.

Paul Dietz

Riiiiight! So you say this on a post saying that the wonder of wonder waste repository will cost 38 billion dollars and is 10 years overdue. That really sounds straightforward and cheap.

That $38B should be put in contrast to the value of the electricity the spent fuel it would contain will have produced. The extra cost per MW-hour is minor.

Because the waste from nuclear plants is so compact and easily handled, suboptimal, parasitic programs like Yucca Mountain (or the French reprocessing operation at Le Hague) are quite tolerable. Contrast this to, say, coal, where you're forced to vent the CO2 to the atmosphere to make the economics work.

Udo Stenzel

Ender: Slightly used fuel??????? What the hell is that?

Is that a trick question?! It's the stuff that comes out of a reactor after having been irradiated for roughly 18 months. Since it still contains 97% of the energy it contained when it went in, it is NOT SPENT. Burying this valuable resource is a waste.

drx is not being paranoid about spent nuclear fuel

Of course not, just like you he doesn't know the difference between slightly used fuel and nuclear waste. On top of that, he is paranoid about everything (with the possible exception of SOFCs).

Paul Dietz

Since it still contains 97% of the energy it contained when it went in, it is NOT SPENT. Burying this valuable resource is a waste.

Burying it is a waste, but not for the rather silly reason you gave. That 97% is mostly 238U, of which there is absolutely no shortage (or much demand, for that matter). Discarding material that you can't use economically (making a mockery of your use of the word 'valuable'), and have no prospect of using economically, is not 'a waste'.

The reason burial is a waste is because discarding the stuff in sealed containers on the surface is cheaper.

Brian Wang

Japan new nuclear fuel reprocessing plant is the best short term solution to nuclear waste.
Japan is reprocessing 800/tons of Uranium in the waste. 95% by weight of the waste. The plutonium is not isolated at any point in the process so no proliferation issues.

A 2004 government study showed that projected over the next 60 years it would be significantly more expensive to reprocess - at 1.6 yen/kWh, compared with 0.9 - 1.1 yen for direct disposal. This translates to 5.2 yen/kWh overall generating cost compared with 4.5 - 4.7 yen, without considering the implications of sunk investment in the new plant.




In October 2004 the Atomic Energy Commission advisory group decided by a large majority (30 to 2) to proceed with the final commissioning and commercial operation of JNFL's Rokkasho-mura reprocessing plant, costing some 2.4 trillion yen (US$ 20 billion). The Commission rejected the alternative of moving to direct disposal of spent fuel, as in the USA. This was seen as a major milestone in the joint industry-government formulation of nuclear policy for the next several decades. The final 17-month test phase for the plant began in March 2006, after 13 years construction. Some 430 tonnes of used fuel will be put through the plant to test all aspects of its operation. This will produce some 2.3 tonnes of reactor-grade plutonium (1.6t fissile Pu). The modified PUREX process leaves some uranium with the plutonium product - it is a 50:50 mix, so there is no separated plutonium at any time, alleviating concerns about potential misuse.

If the US built 3 reprocessing plants ($60 billion) instead of Yucca mountain, the US could reprocess the bulk of the 2000 tons of "waste". Not much more expensive than Yucca mountain and a better solution. Hopefully copying what Japan has already done would go faster than the 13 years. However, it shows that a better way is definitely possible.

Brian Wang

Btw: Ender now that your question about never seeing anyone reprocess uranium from waste has been answered. Will you be letting go of the what happens to waste for later generations ? After the Uranium and Plutonium is handled then we are left with stuff with half lives of 30 years or less.

We should promote the idea of copying the Japanese reprocessing system instead of Yucca Mountain.


Getting closer to the compromise that is needed brian, but not there yet. In return for the 60 billion,and permission to build these experimental waste processing reactors, the nuclear industry must agree to drop all government subsidies from now on. Including buying insurance for existing nuclear facilities.


Brian Wang

No one is compromising with you amazingdrx, because you have no leverage. The nuclear plants are getting approved without dealing with the waste (220+ around the world). The new plants in the US are going to get approved without dealing with the waste. Just like the new coal plants are getting approved without cleaning up the old plants which still kill 27,000 in the US every year.

Plus the swap would be Yucca Mountain for 2 to 3 reprocessing plants. Society is bearing these costs and all energy gets subsidized.

The PUC's program will provide about $2.8 billion in solar subsidies over the next decade

If you build energy, you can get subsidies. Most of power from coal, nuclear and gas, thus most of the subsidies for them.

wind power gets all kinds of subsidies here and everywhere else.

Joseph Somsel

Here's a brief article I did comparing the economics of completing Yucca Mountain as currently envisioned and going to a complete recycle program.

In summary - $100 billion for Yucca, $20 billion for the infrastructure to go recycle and actinide burning.

Plus you get enough otherwise wasted fuel to make $1 trillion worth of wholesale electricity.


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