Skip to comments.The Candidates all had it wrong on the Yucca Mountain question.
Posted on 10/19/2011 5:16:43 AM PDT by taildragger
After listening to all the responses last night to the Gentleman from Nevada asking the Candidates what they would do with Yucca Mountain, they all got it wrong IMHO.
If my memory is correct, Pres. Carter signed an agreement with the Soviets in regards to Nuclear Proliferation and one of the concessions he made was not to reprocess our spent fuel from Nuclear Power Plants. This would allow to recapture unspent fuel and make pellets of it again for refueling. France does, and it maybe folklore, but I have seen it claimed all their spent fuel would fit in a closet.
If all these are true, Yucca Mountain could be used for low-level and a fraction of the waste we have now if reprocessed.
We would need to re-negotiate with what is left of the Soviets/Russia or do we just ignore it and go forward with an executive order.
Freeper Nuclear Engineers and or Foreign Policy experts please feel free to correct me where I am wrong. I look forward to the education !
Interesting subject bump
—need a short synopsis of what was said—or a link to a point in the debate where this came up ,please-—
First of all, othere are only a few possible sites that can work..it's not like every state can bid for the site.
Second...it's on federal land....so while Washington can be sensitive to state's concerns..i.e...if there were two states that were suitable, and one really wanted it, and the other didn't..then all things being equal..give it to the state that wants the facility. However, we can't allow local concerns to hold hostage national interests...otherwise NIMBY always trumps...
In a nutshell they all said something to the effect of: tenth admendment, let the state decide or put it out for bids, see who wants it, and maybe it is the best spot we need more scientific data but it looks like the most stable geographic formation.
Reprocessing “spent” nuclear fuel is by far the most economical and efficient way to control and reduce the growing pile of nuclear waste here and everywhere in the world, so it puzzles any thinking person why such treaties that prevent this course of action are not simply abrogated and common sense allowed to prevail.
Yes, the spent fuel rods “might” be reprocessed into weaponry, but it would be a clumsy way of expanding a nuclear arsenal. Even the best of stored nuclear weaons deteriorate over time, becoming useless and impotent without continual renewal and reconstruction. That is just the nature of radioactivity - use it or lose it. Radioactivity continues whether any useful purpose is made of it or not.
A decision was made very early in the development of atomic power to use the uranium isotopes as the source of power, and while this has a large amount of energy produced per pound, it is not the only means to derive energy from radioactive decay. There is also a somewhat slower fuel in the form of thorium decay, that does NOT yield the plutonium byproduct, and the “spent” fuel is easier to process. We have had over 60 years to develop this alternative method of extracting energy from atomic reaction, why has it not been pursued?
A decided double-plus - there is far more thorium available than uranium, and there is no way to weaponize thorium.
Meanwhile, we use fossil fuels.
QUESTION: My question for you is, do you support opening the national nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain?
COOPER: Speaker Gingrich, well start with you.
COOPER: Sorry, go ahead.
GINGRICH: Look, we we worked on this when I was speaker. I think that it has to be looked at scientifically. But I think at some point we have to find a safe method of taking care of nuclear waste. And today, because this has been caught up in a political fight, we have small units of nuclear waste all over this country in a way that is vastly more dangerous to the United States than finding a method of keeping it in a very, very deep place that would be able to sustain 10,000 or 20,000 and 30,000 years of geological safety.
COOPER: Is Yucca Mountain that place?
GINGRICH: Im not a scientist. I mean, Yucca Mountain certainly was picked by the scientific community as one of the safest places in the United States. It has always had very deep opposition here in Nevada. And, frankly
COOPER: You were for opening it in Congress, right?
COOPER: When you were in the Congress, you were
GINGRICH: When I was in Congress, frankly, I worked with the Nevada delegation to make sure that there was time for scientific studies. But we have to find some method of finding a very geologically stable place, and most geologists believe that, in fact, Yucca Mountain is that.
COOPER: Congressman Paul, you oppose this?
PAUL: Yes. Yes, Ive Ive opposed this. Weve had votes in the Congress. There was a time when I voted with two other individuals, the two congressmen from Nevada. And I approach it from a states rights position. What right does 49 states have to punish one state and say, Were going to put our garbage in your state? I think thats wrong.
But I think its very serious. I think its very serious. But quite frankly, the government shouldnt be in the business of subsidizing any form of energy. And nuclear energy, I think, is a good source of energy, but they still get subsidies. Then they assume this responsibility. Then we as politicians and the bureaucrats get involved in this. And then we get involved with which states going to get stuck with the garbage.
So I would say, the more the free market handles this and the more you deal with property rights and no subsidies to any form of energy, the easier this problem would be solved.
COOPER: Governor Romney, where do you stand on this?
ROMNEY: Congressman Paul was right on that.
(APPLAUSE) I dont always agree with him, but I do on that. The the idea that 49 states can tell Nevada, We want to give you our nuclear waste, doesnt make a lot of sense. I think the people of Nevada ought to have the final say as to whether they want that, and my guess is that for them to say yes to something like that, someones going to have to offer them a pretty good deal, as opposed to having the federal government jam it down their throat.
And by the way, if if Nevada says, Look, we dont want it, then let other states make bids and say, hey, look, well take it. Heres a geological site that weve evaluated. Heres the compensation we want for taking it. We want you electric companies around the country that are using nuclear fuel to compensate us a certain amount per kilowatt hour, a certain amount per ton of this stuff that comes.
Let let the free market work. And on that basis, the places that are geologically safe, according to science, and where the people say the deals a good one will decide where we put this stuff. Thats the right course for America.
COOPER: Governor Perry?
PERRY: You know, from time to time, Mitt and I dont agree. But on this one, hes hit it, the nail, right on the head. And Ill just add that when you think about France, who gets over 70 percent of their energy from nuclear power, the idea that they deal with this issue, that their glassification, and that the innovation and, Congressman Paul, youre correct when it comes to allowing the states to compete with each other. That is the answer to this.
We need to have a a a discussion in in this country about our 10th Amendment and the appropriateness of it, as its been eroded by Washington, D.C., for all these many years, whether its health care, whether its education, or whether its dealing with energy. We dont need to be subsidizing energy in any form or fashion, allow the states to make the decision. And some state out there will see the economic issue, and they will have it in their state.
-the politics of the whole thing are , of course, so totally fouled up by the anti-nuke zealots that a satisfactory solution will not be found in our lifetimes nor those of our children---
Why are we even abiding by a treaty with a non-existent country (USSR) signed by a proven incompetent (Carter)?
From what I understand the grade of fuel used in American power plant designs is wholly unsuitable for reprocessing into weapons use. If that is a point we got the Soviets to insist on then they really got snookered.
Third...Electricity users paid for Yucca Mountain that utilities collected and gave to the Federal government. In turn, the government agreed to develop a repository for the spent fuel. The Obama administration reneged on the deal and now the utilities have successfully sued the Federal government for breach of contract. Guess who pays the money that the government pays? Right...taxpayers. We're getting hit twice and yet the spent fuel hasn't gone anywhere.
Ron Paul is a moron.
"I voted with two other individuals, the two congressmen from Nevada"...one of those would be Harry Reid
"What right does 49 states have to punish one state"...Yucca Mountain is FEDERAL land. It falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal government.
"And nuclear energy, I think, is a good source of energy, but they still get subsidies"...the only thing that even closely resembles a subsidy to the nuclear industry is a loan guarantee for new construction and legislation that limits liability in the event of an accident. Not one dime has actually been handed over to a nuclear power plant.
—thanks—as the replies show , politics, not the scientific and engineering facts dominate the nuclear waste disposal “problem”—
Reprocess now. Store the rest in Yucca.
“Reprocess now. Store the rest in Yucca.”
That’s the most rational solution.
If it gets put out to bid like Paul wants, I’m in.
Got plenty of space in the woods down the road. No one will ever find it there.
Wasn’t there a weird agreement that brought Nevada into the union where the Feds basically confiscated all the land?
Like most western states, Nevada was all almost all federal land to begin with. When Nevada was granted statehood, the feds kept the unsettled land that they already owned. That was true elsewhere, as well. The major exception is Texas. Since they came in as an independent nation, their unsettled lands were owned by Texas and they kept them.
I agree with you on reprocessing, it was stupid of Carter to have a panic attack and ban it. As for storing the rest, lets open it up to bids by the state, on who is willing and wants to store it, failing that, then, sorry Yucca, they get stuck with it.
Waiting for a clear answer to your query.....