Skip to comments.NUCLEAR FREEDOM
Posted on 04/19/2002 12:31:18 PM PDT by Willie GreenEdited on 05/26/2004 5:05:50 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
WITHIN 90 days, Congress will vote on whether to proceed with a permanent storage site for nuclear waste on Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The vote became necessary on April 8, when Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn vetoed the project.
Congress can override the veto by simple majorities in both houses. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has vowed to defeat the proposal, but all sides agree the vote will be breathlessly close.
(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...
A more practical solution with technology that is available NOW would be to construct modern, efficient, electricly-powered mass-transportation systems in our nation's most densely populated regions and urban areas.
High-speed ground transportation (HSGT)-- a family of technologies ranging from upgraded existing railroads to magnetically levitated vehicles-- is a passenger transportation option that can best link cities lying about 100-500 miles apart. Common in Europe ( http://mercurio.iet.unipi.it/home.htm) and Japan (http://www.japanrail.com),HSGT in the United States already exists in the Northeast Corridor (http://www.amtrak.com/news/pr/atk9936.html) between New York and Washington, D.C. and will soon serve travelers between New York and Boston.
HSGT is self-guided intercity passenger ground transportation that is time competitive with air and/or auto on a door-to-door basis for trips in the approximate range of 100 to 500 miles. This is market-based, not a speed based definition. It recognizes that the opportunities and requirements for HSGT differ markedly among different pairs of cities. High-speed ground transportation (HSGT) is a family of technologies ranging from upgraded steel-wheel-on-rail railroads to magnetically levitated vehicles.
The Federal Railroad Administration has designated a variety of high density transportation corridors within our nation for development of HSGT:
For more information, please visit the Federal Railroad Administrations (FRAs) High Speed Ground Transportation Website
Pure Barbra Striesand.
National Security dictates rational proposals for achieving greater energy self-reiliance.
PETA's proposal for caribou voting rights doesn't fall into this category.
Of course, there is a solution to this. Nevada can buy the federal land that the Feds want to dump the nuclear waste. Or, the Feds can pay Nevada in order to dump the nuclear waste. I bet a few billion dollars each year that the dump is operational would change a lot of Nevadan's minds.
Another would be to reinstate the program to purify and recycle nuclear waste into nuclear fuel rods would help cut down on the amount of waste as well.
The truth is that Mass Transit is part of the solution, but only a small part.
Hydrogen-fueled automobiles are a solution. They and electric rail are all dependent on electricity. Nuclear energy is the best way to supply this.
Please explain how our dependence on oil does not restrict us in the Middle East.
Also, what alternative do you have to nukes?
I do agree that fission power is distasteful with all the waste. That is why I want a national program to create fusion reactors.
While I support fusion research, implementation is still decades off, at best.
As afraidfortherepublic alluded to earlier on this thread, the "waste" fuel is addressable by recycling through breeder reactors.
You know that the taxpayers and ratepayers (us) have already paid billions $$$$ for this disposal site, don't you? And it sits empty while the waste lies in unprotected temporary storage. The waste is stable and not dangerous in its present form. What is dangerous is having it dispersed in dozens of different storage facilities, any one of which could be accessed by terrorists.
Thank you, and a previous Democrat administration outlawed them. We need to reverse that policy.
Stop Worrying About Yucca Mountain
by Gerald E. Marsh and George Stanford
The opposition to opening the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository is not about public safety. It is about nuclear power.
We know this because there are already far more plutonium and fission products under the ground - with no special containment - at the Nevada nuclear test site than could ever be expected to leak through the confinement barriers at the Yucca Mountain repository. At least four tons of plutonium remains at the test site, along with a much greater quantity of radioactive fission products. Yet there has been no worry about public safety, and rightly so, since this radioactive material poses no real threat to people.
Much of the worry over the repository comes from the inability of scientists to certify that nuclear waste can be isolated for 10,000 to 20,000 years, since nobody can predict what will happen over periods of time that transcend recorded history. But it doesn't matter!
The claimed need for such a long isolation period comes from assuming that spent reactor fuel is waste, and that this waste would still be dangerous after 10,000 years. Change these assumptions and the problem disappears.
Spent reactor fuel contains long-lived radioactive material that still has lots of energy in it. It can be reprocessed to remove this material, which can then be burned in advanced "fast" reactors to produce more than 100 times more energy. Old reasons for not doing this are no longer convincing in the light of new technologies. With reprocessing and fast reactors, the time the remaining waste would need to be isolated drops to around 500 years. Geological disposal for this period of time is almost trivial.
In light of these facts, Yucca Mountain should be thought of as an interim spent fuel repository. In the future, we will need the energy in this fuel.
However, even if the fuel value of the "waste" is not recovered, leakage of the material poses no long-term problem. There is so much natural radioactivity in the land near the repository (not counting the Nevada test site) that the extra contribution from the reactor waste after a few thousand years is trivial in comparison.
Nor need we worry about the transporting of spent fuel. Every year there are hundreds of thousands of shipments of gasoline in tanker trucks, and some of them turn over and catch fire and burn people (to take just one example of what we live with). There have been thousands of shipments of spent reactor fuel, too, and some of those have turned over. But we have not heard of even one case, anywhere in the world, where anyone at all has been exposed to dangerous radioactivity in a spent-fuel shipping accident.
The opposition to opening the repository is fueled by misinformation from anti-nuclear-power activists. Some just don't grasp the facts. Others seem to hope that if the utilities are unable to empty their spent-fuel storage ponds, they will not order new reactors and sooner or later the plants will have to be shut down. But that thinking is silly. If a repository is not opened, the waste will simply continue to be stored near reactors in storage ponds and dry-storage casks. Since aboveground storage of spent fuel represents the only significant terrorist target at nuclear generating plants, it is time for even the anti-nuclear-power folks to support the repository.
Frankly, it is also time for anti-nuclear activists evaluate their own position in terms of the actual risk to the public that nuclear power represents compared with the environmental impact of other energy sources. Nuclear power is by far the safest.
Conservation and alternative energy have a place, but they cannot provide the baseload electric power that will be needed in the future. Our population will grow, and energy demand with it. Lowering per capita consumption will help, but it will not solve the energy problem.
Gas-fired plants are considerably cleaner than those that burn coal or oil, but there is not enough gas for widespread baseload electricity without driving up the cost of gas, which will raise home-heating bills as well as electricity cost. We need gas for heating our homes. It is the use of gas rather than coal or oil for heating that has made American cities clean and healthy places to live.
It is time to act. Our need to be safe from terrorist attack while generating clean, low-cost energy mandates that people come together on the twin issues of Yucca Mountain and nuclear power.
# # #
Gerald Marsh is a physicist who served with the U.S. START delegation and was a consultant to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations on strategic nuclear policy and technology for many years. He is on the advisory board of The National Center for Public Policy Research. He can be reached at email@example.com.
George Stanford is a nuclear reactor physicist, now retired from Argonne National Laboratory after a career of experimental work pertaining to power-reactor safety.
Terrorists could care less about nuclear targets. Nuclear energy is a lousy terrorist target. nuclear waste is estremely heavy, embalmed in glass, steel and huge containers, and totally useless for creating mayhem. Not like a tall building full of people.
Plus the plants themselves, as long as they are operating and generating more waste, will be a security risk, clearly demonstrated by the extra security they've been given since 9/11.
Nuclear power is perfectly safe and a lousy terrorist target. it is encased in a huge concrete containment vessel, well gaurded and located in rural areas. a terrorist would be better off finding a refinery or factory to bomb. or better yet, a tall building.
The idea that nuclear power has any kind of terrorist threat is a hobgoblin of anti-nukers.
Yes, I do know that. But with Kenny Guinn's veto, they would have to force Nevadans to take the nuclear waste. Unless they have made radical changes to the US Constitution, this is still a states right issue, unless the Federal government is planning on turning Yucca mountain into a "fort, magazine, arsenal, dock-yards, or other needful buildings".
Only land the feds are supposed to have is a" 10 square mile area", maybe they can store it all there.
When you see a lot of cars powered by nuclear derived electricity the statement will make sense.
Also, what alternative do you have to nukes?
Anything! Primarily coal, natural gas and renewable energy.