How to Properly Dispose of Nuclear Waste

Posted by tobymuresianu on Oct 23, 2012 in Politics, Thoughts |

Yesterday I posted an article detailing why I support nuclear power.

I wanted to address another other concern that comes up – where to put nuclear waste.

I would like to propose a solution: Nevada. A state almost tailor made for leaving nuclear waste in. Anyone who tells you otherwise either has never been to Nevada or has chosen to live there, so their judgement is questionable. Nevada has even been struck repeatedly with nuclear weapons, with the net effect of – unfortunately – remaining Nevada.

Now, unfortunately, thanks to Senator and House Majority Terrible Person Harry Reid (D-NV) the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, a completed long term storage facility in a mountain so desolate it makes the rest of Nevada look habitable, was cancelled for political reasons at a cost of $11 billion. One wonders what effect that $11 billion could have had on rainforest or park preservation efforts.

Opponents claimed that Nevada was being forced to store nuclear waste by the rest of the country against its will, which was ironic since the county where it was built wanted it to open, but was forced by Nevada not to allow it against its will.

Keep in mind that Nevada is a state known for legalized gambling, prostitution, and fireworks, but playing a role in solving climate change? Not in my backyard. Let’s be clear, Nevada: your backyards probably have hookers buried in them. Don’t try to take the high road.

Hopefully if political will re-emerges, the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository will come online at some point. Yet one way or another, the closure of the Yucca Mountain facility has come with a silver lining.

During the wait to open Yucca Mountain, techniques to recover fuel from nuclear waste are emerging, so the next generation of reactors may well solve the waste problem as well as lowering their costs of operation. Ordinarily I would be against reprocessing nuclear waste because it means there is less to put in Nevada, but if it helps sell people, I’m game.

It’s also worth nothing that the current solution – on-site storage at the nuclear plants – is actually not that bad. Safety is well-regulated and has not resulted in major accidents in the 50-odd years. By comparison, “clean coal” generates large amounts of toxic waste which is poorly regulated and apt to, for example, break through retaining walls, bury nearby houses and kill people.

So when it comes to finding a place where you can safely store waste without worrying about it ever getting out, just remember, “What happens in Vegas…”. I couldn’t resist.

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