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Volunteer Towns Sought For Nuclear Waste 279

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-all-at-once dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Brian Wingfield writes in Bloomberg that the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future has sent a draft report to Energy Secretary Steven Chu recommending that US communities should be encouraged to vie for becoming a federal nuclear-waste site as a way to end a decades-long dilemma over disposing of spent radioactive fuel and says this 'consent-based' approach will help cut costs and end delays caused when the federal government picks a site over the objections of local residents, 'This means encouraging communities to volunteer (PDF) to be considered to host a new nuclear-waste management facility,' says the commission. Chu named the panelists after Obama canceled plans to build a permanent repository at Nevada's Yucca Mountain after the Yucca site was opposed by politicians from the state. 'The United States has traveled nearly 25 years down the current path only to come to a point where continuing to rely on the same approach seems destined to bring further controversy, litigation, and protracted delay,' says the report. The Blue Ribbon Commission cited as a 'success' the US Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, New Mexico, which has accepted and disposed of some defense-related nuclear waste for more than a decade demonstrating that that 'nuclear wastes can be transported safely over long distances and placed securely in a deep, mined repository.' With the right incentives, 'there will be a great deal of support' for a waste site near the New Mexico facility, says former Senator Pete Domenici."
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Volunteer Towns Sought For Nuclear Waste

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  • How About D.C.? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @06:30PM (#36941794)
    There's been quite a toxic environment in Washington D.C. for the last several Presidencies. So why not store this nasty stuff in D.C.?
    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @06:32PM (#36941808) Homepage

      I might suggest Marshall, Texas [techdirt.com]. No containment necessary.

      • by camperslo (704715)

        If the casks are shielded adequately, equip them with heat exchangers and use them to heat government buildings, maybe give the guys recreation areas with hot tubs.

        Perhaps the WSJ (and other Muchdoch properties?) should be required to use them for heat regardless, as thanks for running the pseudo-science article "There is no such thing as nuclear waste". The author, also seen on the BBC, didn't even know what boric acid was, claiming it was sent to Japan to clean out pipes. Perhaps giving ignorance and l

        • Re:How About D.C.? (Score:5, Informative)

          by nukenerd (172703) on Monday August 01, 2011 @05:31AM (#36944796)
          Campersio wrote :-

          If the casks are shielded adequately, equip them with heat exchangers and use them to heat government buildings, maybe give the guys recreation areas with hot tubs
          ....
          It's the decay heat that has been the serious problem ..... It starts at about 7.5% of the full operating thermal energy and decays from there. 7.5% of roughly a gigawatt is a tremendous amount of heat energy to cope with.


          The 7.5% of heat is only immediately after shutdown. It decays rapidly after that. After discharge from the reactor the fuel spends some time (in the UK that means years) in cooling ponds until it is much safer and easier to transport. By then the heat being produced is trivial - with a spent fuel flask (containing several hundred fuel elements) being despatched from a UK power station you cannot even detect any warmth if you put your hand on it. I have done it, I worked in that industry.
    • In DC, life expectancy drops by two years for every stop you take along the red line, IIRC. There is a lot of poverty.

      As a city, there is also a high population density. It would be a very stupid place to put nuclear waste.

      Don't we have a site near Yucca Mountain where we have test-exploded about a thousand nuclear bombs? What about doing it there?

      And yes, we felt the need to test nuclear bombs quite frequently, it seems. Sometimes mankind seems quite primitive, even with the most advanced and destructi

      • by barlevg (2111272)

        In DC, life expectancy drops by two years for every stop you take along the red line, IIRC. There is a lot of poverty.

        Is this a joke? Because for anyone actually familiar with the DC area, this makes no sense. The red line actually serves some of the most affluent areas of the DMV. At one end, you have Rockville [wikipedia.org] and Bethesda [wikipedia.org]. In the middle, you have ultra-wealthy Dupont Circle [wikipedia.org], trendy Chinatown [wikipedia.org] and Union Station [wikipedia.org]. As you head out of the city in the other direction, yes, you have some less affluent neighborhoods, but East Montgomery County is hardly slums, and the only people who think so are people from Bethesda [justupthepike.com].

        • by erroneus (253617)

          I wasn't convinced that DC would be a good spot, but after what you wrote, I'm much more convinced now.

          "trendy chinatown"? Really? There are more Chinese things outside of "chinatown' than in chinatown. I can scarcely tell why it is even called chinatown at all. I live here in the DC area at the moment and I have to say, I have never been among such petty, psychotic, paranoid and suspicious people in my life. The people here all make my skin crawl. I frequently do "nice things" for essentially no part

        • by russotto (537200)

          Is this a joke? Because for anyone actually familiar with the DC area, this makes no sense. The red line actually serves some of the most affluent areas of the DMV.

          Sure. Get out on the wrong stop on the Green line, though, and your life expectancy drops to zero.

        • ...and the only people who think so are people from Bethesda [justupthepike.com].

          I clicked on your link thinking it had something to do with Fallout 3 and a nuclear waste dump in the DC area.

      • by sjames (1099)

        How about we just put it in the basements of the senate, congress, and the supreme court? No poor person will ever be allowed close enough to any of those to be adversely affected, I assure you.

    • by DarkOx (621550)

      I am afraid DC might go super critical already all on its own.

    • Re:How About D.C.? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday July 31, 2011 @08:35PM (#36942532) Journal

      Funny but like cockroaches I doubt it would hurt those buggers.

      But this shows exactly what is wrong with NIMBY bullshit. Instead of somewhere like Yucca where scientists had studied the problem and come up with a deep, dry, solid hole in the middle of nowhere you are gonna have a bunch of states, probably in the south as our economy is beyond rotten, which is probably THE worst possible place you could put the stuff thanks to all the rain and tornadoes!

      It is time we told the NIMBYs to STFU and let scientists instead of politicians work to solve the problems. Because if we don't do something about the NIMBYs frankly won't a damned thing get built because it will always piss off someone.

      The NIMBYs say " We don't want to store the waste for nuclear (use reprocessing and cut down on the waste is what we should do, but heaven forbid that might be smart) and we don't want solar because its an eyesore, or wind because it is noisy, or coal because it is messy, but you damned well better make sure you give us enough power to blast our ACs all summer!"

      The NIMBYs remind me of those damned teabaggers, who cheer the three wars while at the same time demanding their taxes stay low like it is their God given right to more MONIES! Nom nom nom. Where do they think the money for the three wars they are cheering is gonna come from, Chinese Santa Claus?

      • I'm pretty sure Tea Partiers aren't cheering Obama on in Libya.

  • Most citizens don't even RTFS, figuratively speaking.
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lifyre (960576) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @06:36PM (#36941826)

    Why not do the smart thing and REUSE all of that "waste"? It's actually decent fuel and if you reuse it it becomes significantly less hazardous...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why not do the smart thing and REUSE all of that "waste"? It's actually decent fuel and if you reuse it it becomes significantly less hazardous...

      Because the terrorist. Why do you hate America?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The process of re-refining that "waste" is the same that's used to create weapons grade material. Don't get me wrong, I believe they should be reusing it but I can see why people would be worried about allowing it.

      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 31, 2011 @06:47PM (#36941904)

        No it can't. [depletedcranium.com]

        • by sjames (1099)

          Exactly. It's easier to start from natural uranium than to try to refine the mixed isotopes from reprocessing.

      • The process of re-refining that "waste" is the same that's used to create weapons grade material. Don't get me wrong, I believe they should be reusing it but I can see why people would be worried about allowing it.

        So what? There are enough sane people in the world to manage weapons grade material.

      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

        by The O Rly Factor (1977536) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @06:52PM (#36941934)
        Don't you know? Terrorists are super smart completely invincible secret agents that can escape any jail and break into any nuclear fuel processing facility in the world and take whatever they want and they can't be stopped by anything known to man. Therefore we can't recycle it otherwise we're putting America's children, or something...at risk. Also because Jesus.
        • by causality (777677)

          and they can't be stopped by anything known to man

          Well, yeah, they can be stopped. It would require less effort than our current policies, in fact. But sometimes asking people to not do something they really don't have to do is incredibly difficult.

          All it would take is for the US to stop meddling in the affairs of sovereign nations. Particularly since they don't do this openly and honestly, but covertly and deceitfully via intelligence agencies. One example [wikipedia.org] is the 1953 overthrow of Iran's democratic

      • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@gmail . c om> on Sunday July 31, 2011 @07:40PM (#36942232) Homepage

        Holy fuck no. I mean, I realize you Americans are scared of shit of plutonium thanks to your rabid environmentalists, and carter. But hey, if you want to cut your nuclear fuel supplies in half. Please keep sending your waste to Canada, S.Korea and Japan so we can have cheap, inexpensive fuel. I mean we all really like it.

        Or you can grow a fucking pair and jump all over the environmentalists and nimby's for being fucking idiots.

        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by causality (777677) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @07:54PM (#36942328)

          Holy fuck no. I mean, I realize you Americans are scared of shit of plutonium thanks to your rabid environmentalists, and carter. But hey, if you want to cut your nuclear fuel supplies in half. Please keep sending your waste to Canada, S.Korea and Japan so we can have cheap, inexpensive fuel. I mean we all really like it.

          Or you can grow a fucking pair and jump all over the environmentalists and nimby's for being fucking idiots.

          The purpose of the environmentalism is to enforce a kind of soft tyranny. Cheap, abundant, easily accessible energy means fewer people crying out for government to do something about energy, something that everyone uses and everyone needs. The general concept is that government is never going to voluntarily endorse and encourage something that gives people one less thing to worry about. They enjoy appearing to do so because that appeals to the masses, but they do not wish to actually do it. The larger and less local the government, the more true this is. Thus, the local and state governments are not nearly so bad as the federal government with respect to this tendency.

          This is from Niccolo Machiavelli's "The Prince":

          Therefore a wise prince will seek means by which his subjects will always and in every possible condition of things have need of his government, and then they will always be faithful to him.

          Unlike 1984, The Prince actually was intended to be something like a manual.

          • by Mashiki (184564)

            It's funny, that core bits of wisdom can be found in works that are over 400 years old. But you're right. There's probably a good reason why modern environmentalists are called watermelons.

          • by lennier (44736)

            Cheap, abundant, easily accessible energy means fewer people crying out for government to do something about energy, something that everyone uses and everyone needs.

            You mean like wind and solar?

            Most environmental arguments I've seen against nuclear power and for renewables make the same point: that renewable energy sources - compared to big expensive and dangerous fission or fusion plants, or even slightly less expensive and dangerous oil and gas plants - are cheap and safe to implement, which means they can be distributed widely around the nation and world, which means big government and big business get out of the energy game, the grid is more resilient, people are m

            • Wind and solar, alas, don't work 24 hours a day in most places. And while wind is pretty cost-effective, I'm not sure I'd say the same about solar unless you're privy to some very special information.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @07:26PM (#36942168) Homepage Journal

      Give the communities the mineral rights to the spent fuel.

      It's more than a source of nuclear fuel (and I don't necessarily mean plutonium: only a small fraction of the U-235 gets used up in a thermal reactor, and the other transuranics are burnable in a fast-flux reactor). There are billions of dollars worth of rhodium, which is in a stable isotope. Rhodium is more valuable than gold even at today's gold price.
      http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=115&topic_id=46164&mesg_id=46304 [democratic...ground.com]

    • by technoCon (18339)

      +1

      Except there's a small problem, our esteemed President Jimmy Carter made fuel reprocessing illegal, citing non-proliferation concerns. Or maybe fears of giant killer rabbits, idunno. So, whoever got the contract would need to get a waiver. Or secede. And with nukes, they could get away with it. All even sentences of this paragraph are spoken in jest. Or are they?

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @06:49PM (#36941924) Homepage

    How about a day, announced a month or so in advance, where all nuclear power plants in the US are simply turned off? For 24 hours.

    How about delivering a 50lb sack of coal ash to every single household in the US the day after, so they can see what the result of coal-fired power plants really is? It would need to include a full-color brochure listing all of the toxic substances that come out of the chimney from a coal plant as well.

    If we did these things there might be less opposition to dealing with nuclear waste. Oh, and how about some PSAs showing a huge mountain of materials saying that nobody could go near this for 10,000 years and then show the small trash can that shows what is left after reprocessing.

    Instead of doing any of these things we are allowing the pseudo-environmental movement to control the discussion to the point where we will be shutting down nuclear plants in the US, we will be shutting down coal plants in the US and we will have a new electrical system whereby there is power during the day and nothing at night. If you are rich and can afford 100KWh of batteries, you might have lights and TV at night. Maybe, until someone passes some regulations saying that it is discriminatory and unfair.

    The US is clearly headed down the path of unreliable electric power with limited capacity. How will this affect future generations? Well, you can bet that computers in the home will not be a big deal in the future - unless they run on batteries that are charged up during the day.

  • So, Harry Reid, how much "encouragement" will you need to use Yucca Mountain? Another trillion or two do it for you?

    • Re:Encourage me... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by The Man (684) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @08:09PM (#36942396) Homepage

      I lived in Las Vegas for 12 years. There was absolutely no way we wanted that stuff stored at Yucca Mountain; it is a geologically active area and every proposed transport route for the waste went through the city. All that would be mere hypocrisy if not for the fact that Nevada has no nuclear power plants and derives virtually none of its electricity from nuclear sources outside the state. This is completely orthogonal to whether nuclear power is a good idea, whether it can be made safe, whether fast reactors are better, whether waste should instead be reprocessed or turned into glass or shot into space, and just how bad coal or hydro or other sources are for us and the rest of earth's inhabitants. It's nothing more complicated than the fact that Yucca Mountain is at best a mediocre site, the local residents don't want it, and the waste is generated elsewhere for the primary benefit of people who do not live in Nevada. That should have been sufficient to make the feds look elsewhere 15 years ago, but for some reason it wasn't. That the state won the fight is cheering; that a fight was even necessary is an appalling violation of states' rights. Finding a geologically suitable site in a state with nuclear power plants and residents who trust the government to transport and store the waste safely in their vicinity is an excellent idea. If they'd done that in the first place, we'd all have billions of dollars back -- and we'd probably have a nuke dump, too. But it certainly wouldn't be at Yucca Mountain; the federal government has abused and betrayed Nevadans from the day the state was admitted to the union, and there is absolutely no way its residents will ever trust it with their lives and property. That they gain little or nothing from nuclear power serves only to reinforce their already compelling case. Let those who like the federal government and think it's full of good, kind, well-meaning and competent public servants take the waste from their own power plants instead. It's the right thing for everyone.

      • Re:Encourage me... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Freddybear (1805256) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @08:46PM (#36942622)

        Let's face it, nobody wants the stuff near them. That's what NIMBY means.
        Nevadans don't trust the government? Welcome to the club.
        Find another site? Why? The BANANAS will act all butt-hurt no matter where. Let's face it, even if Yucca Mountain isn't the perfect site, it's still a hell of a lot safer than leaving all that crap in pools at reactor sites.

        • by The Man (684)

          I guess my point was that there are particular reasons Nevada was and remains a highly inappropriate choice. NIMBY sounds a lot less compelling when you're living next to a reactor and running your gear on its juice.

      • by Xacid (560407)

        1) "and every proposed transport route for the waste went through the city"

        I don't see how that's even an issue. The containers themselves have been proven to withstand the impact of a TRAIN. And likely much more at this stage. If you're worried about some sort of traffic congestion by a hypothetical influx of waste being transported in - then I'm fairly certain the city can pass an ordinance to allow such materials in the town and force them to take alternate routes.

        2) While wikipedia isn't the best source

  • by decora (1710862) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @07:07PM (#36942026) Journal

    if there is one thing deep mines do, it is flood. where does all the water go? oh, "somewhere else"? Great, now its laced with plutonium, one of the most toxic substances known to mankind.

    im sure that nuclear waste can be stored safely, somewhere, some how. but the current nuclear industry is so obsessed with lying, disinformation, and corruption, that i wouldn't trust it to clean the dishes at a restaurant let alone run something like the Fukushima plant.

    (which, of course, we were told was 100% safe and not a shitty old design like Chernobyl, and that thered never be another meltdown).

    these folks do not seem to understand the basic difference between right and wrong. if you want people to support you, stop lying to them. this plan seems to be exactly the opposite: a PR stunt to make people accept something they dont want to accept.

    i.e. instead of reorganizing the entire industry to be based on honesty, and education, and transparency, they are instead reorganizing a gigantic PR campaign to make their opponents 'shut the fuck up', some kind of bizarre Rahm Emanuel strategy.

    when the next US disaster happens, it will cause yet another backlash, and we will be back where we were after three mile island. the problem is not about 'nuclear power', it is about incompetent managers and politicians who cannot seem to grasp the concept that they exist to serve the people and to do it honestly, responsibly, and transparently.

    • by Lije Baley (88936) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @07:49PM (#36942290)

      If a consensus of scientists is good enough to declare AGW to be a problem, then why can't a consensus of geologists declare that a mine won't leak?

      BTW: It should have been obvious from that start that Yucca Mountain was Too Close to California to succeed.

    • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @07:49PM (#36942302) Homepage Journal

      >plutonium, one of the most toxic substances known to mankind.

      It has to be absorbed by the body first. Wikipedia has a reference that claims that only .04% of ingested plutonium oxide stays in the organism.

      Multiply the LD50 for injected plutonium by 2500 to get an LD50 from water contamination, and you get some non-alarming numbers for toxicity. The cliche is to compare it to caffeine.

      http://russp.org/BLC-3.html [russp.org]

  • Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xenkar (580240) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @07:07PM (#36942034)
    Honestly as time goes on my patience for other humans gets thinner.
    We're not allowed to make safer, more efficient reactors.
    We're not allowed to recycling spent fuel rods.
    We're not allowed to build a secure site to house the waste material.

    My fellow humans don't realize that with their unreasonableness, spent fuel rods are being kept in over sized swimming pools on site.

    Now you might be wondering what the problem is with this set up. Well our outdated nuclear power plants are conveniently right next to rivers that some people get drinking water from.

    I'm not saying something will go wrong, all I'm saying is that if something does go wrong it'll be a lot worse than it would be if we just recycled the fuel rods or had them at a secure holding facility.

    This is the major reason why Japan was such a disaster. Outdated reactor design and spent fuel rods kept on site. It could have all been avoided if we just had the guts to decapitate the BANANA's heads and place them on pikes as a warning to potential BANANAs.

    But let's say we decommission all of our nuclear power plants tomorrow. The rods need to be kept somewhere. The irradiated reactor housing needs to be put in storage. We can't magically make them disappear.

    I know they want us all to go back to living in mud huts but damn it I want electricity in my mud hut [earthbagbuilding.com].

  • Afghanistan. We control it. It's remote. A great place to dump nuclear waste.

    • even simpler - vote harry reid out of office and then Yucca can be opened.

    • by Fordiman (689627)
      Yeeeah... Just one drunk ships' captain - actually, much of the waste is in crazy-solid concrete and steel containers already. Would anyone notice if we just started tipping them off into the pacific?
  • Put them near the backyard of the CEO/Owners of the Power Station.

    If Nuclear Energy is safe and all that, they won't mind having glow-in-the-dark flowers.

    • Glow in the dark flowers? They wouldn't. Radioactivity wouldn't leak from the containers; and even in the case you intentionally made the containers leak, it'd still not make the flowers glow. That would require exponentially more radioactivity - nevermind the fact that that much radioactivity would not only kill anyone in that house, but likely everyone on a very large radius.

      It'd just be an ugly, huge steel container. Reprocessed waste still lasts for 1000 years, so assuming their homes aren't in groundwa

    • by Fordiman (689627)

      Meh. If it were legal, I'd let the industry bury a dry cask in my back yard. Those things are solid ultra-dense concrete and steel. Put it about 20m down below, and the spent fuel is really just not getting out. Hell, they're dens enough and thickly shielded enough that there's nearly no gamma flux, and gamma's damn near impossible to stop fully.

      I'd do it because I'd have no fear whatsoever of any harm as a result. I know what's in there; I know what's protecting the world from it; I know it's sufficie

    • by Solandri (704621)

      Put them near the backyard of the CEO/Owners of the Power Station.

      That's where it's currently stored. Because there's no permanent disposal site, each reactor keeps its waste in cooling pools at the power station. The only reason they're able to keep 30, 40, or 50+ years worth of waste on-site is because so little of it is generated. The total amount of high-level nuclear waste generated by the 104 reactors in the U.S. is about 2000 tons annually. By volume, that would just about fit into a single trac

  • by DurendalMac (736637) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @07:32PM (#36942202)
    I'm no expert, but my understanding is that a few breeder reactors could solve the problem by running from the waste over and over until whatever is left might make you sneeze. I've wondered about this, but aside from cost (as if permanent storage isn't costly), is there really anything wrong with that idea? I know that breeders can potentially be used to make plutonium, but it's not like the US doesn't have that capability already.
    • by Nemyst (1383049)

      What's wrong is that the US is scared shitless and nuclear isn't "cool" anymore. Laws blockade breeders from working efficiently, government would rather help their friends in the coal industry get another premium, and eco-nuts are doing their best to discredit any and all source of power, with nuclear getting a spectacular amount of flak for some reason.

    • by Fordiman (689627)

      If you're curious about the working of nuclear energy - specifically breeder reactors, Wikipedia's actually surprisingly accurate for a topic that can be sometimes controversial.

      • Try the following searches:
      • "Nuclear fission"
      • "Uranium 235"
      • "Light Water Reactor"
      • "Integral Fast Reactor"
      • "Travelling Wave Reactor"
      • Also, if you're interested in thermal spectrum breeders, try:
      • "Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment"

      There's also a relatively new American project working on MSRs, called LFTR, run by FLiBe energy. Google for tha

  • by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @07:41PM (#36942242) Homepage Journal

    Hanford Washington U.S.A. would love the waste sent
    their way. That would be listed as the State of Washington
    in the article.

    Hanford lost out to Yuca mountain many years ago, lost a lot of jobs
    over night. They were planning on storing nuclear waste at Hanford.

    Even create a religion "OMMMMM do not dig for 100,000 years."
    (Yes it was actually put forth as a plan)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanford_Site [wikipedia.org] claims
    two-thirds of the nation's high-level radioactive waste by volume
    are located here, so it makes a lot of sense.

    Some place has to be found and fast as reactor storage pools
    are becoming full and a danger in themselves.

    I used to operate a nuclear reactor producing Plutonium for DoD at
    Hanford, so know well of the desire of becoming a nuclear burial site.

    • Hanford's near a river. There was significant local opposition to storing high-level waste there. Site management has a large hurdle to overcome in earning public confidence.

  • I've actually wondered if there was any practical downside, other than problems before getting it up, to the Futurama solution: just stick it in a rocket and blast it off in a random direction. Preferably without a return address.

    • Rockets have something like a 1-2% failure rate, and you'd need quite a lot of them.

    • I've actually wondered if there was any practical downside, other than problems before getting it up, to the Futurama solution: just stick it in a rocket and blast it off in a random direction. Preferably without a return address.

      I suppose you could use Viagra for your first issue, the problem with lofting highly radioactive material into space is two fold:

      1. It's expensive. Very expensive.
      2. Although modern rockets are fairly reliable, they occasionally go screwy and get blown to little tiny bits in order for it not to land on people as large, uncomfortable bits. Doing this with a ton or so of highly radioactive material is frowned upon (see "dirty bomb" for more information).

  • We can build it inside a mountain somewhere so even the fanatics feel safe and then we can start burning nuclear waste!
    Then we export the energy as electricity and in just a few years we build up another fund bigger than the oil fund!
    Hmm, does nuclear fund or electricity fund sound best? Or maby just e-fund.

    Sure it will cost a tad to build the plant, but we'd ofcource charge for receiving the nuclear waste we'll partially use as fuel to offset that...
  • With the right incentives, 'there will be a great deal of support' for a waste site near the New Mexico facility, says former Senator Pete Domenici.

    If the volunteering originates with the constituents: then good.
    But if from the politicians: then only as long as the politician suggesting such an arrangement lives just as close to the dump site -- along with their family -- as any other resident in their electorate.

    Does American electoral law require that politicians largely reside in the electorate they repr

    • The politicians I think are supposed to reside within their representative districts (state-level anyways) but since the borders of that district are not concrete they frequently get redrawn into the oddest of shapes to try and trap the most supporters of one group or the other.
  • currently stores low level waste at ambient temperature, like contaminated tooling. A special on TV said they are not equipped for the heat given off by nuke plant waste.
  • With all the NIMBY politics, it seems cheaper to just drop the stuff on the moon. Physical security of the site is guaranteed for the foreseeable future (and it becomes a non-issue when lunar travel becomes trivial). And the fears of exposing our descendants to radiation is also a moot point as you already need radiation protection on the moon. The worst natural disaster would be an asteroid strike, which still presents negligible risk to Earth. The worse human disaster would be a launch failure, but it
  • by Hartree (191324) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @08:28PM (#36942488)

    The problem is not finding a community that wants the site.

    It's that as soon as they say they want it, no matter how well informed they are, interest groups will descend saying "We must save these poor ignorant people who are being used by the nuclear lobby". Or, "We must save these people from being deceived by the anti-nukes"

    I'm sure they'd say that about Los Alamos where large numbers of the people work for a nuclear weapons lab and know more about rad hazards than almost any other community save for perhaps Arzamas-16 (Now called Sarov again.) .

    I've seen this happen before in New Mexico when I lived there. The chief of the Mescalero tribe started making a deal to have a rad waste site on some of their land. Parts of it are some of the most inhospitable you can find in the US.

    All of a sudden, groups showed up saying that the Mescaleros were just too uninformed to understand what they were doing and had to be protected. (It was amazingly patronizing.)

    Now, the problem was taken care of by the tribe itself. They put it to a vote and voted it down. That's fine. That's how democracy works.

    But you can bet that the carpetbaggers on both sides of the issue will turn up like flies around roadkill.

    I'd already suspected something like that would happen with the Mescaleros. My company processed credit cards and such for Ski Apache and Inn of the Mountain Gods, two of the tribal businesses, So, I'd dealt with them a good bit and knew they were no fools regardless of how they decided it.

  • Onkalo (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The Finns store their waste in a rock 500m deep below and fill it with concrete aftereards.

    The facility will be finished in 2100 and should last 100.000 years.

    They even have plans to communicate with the future beings using symbols in carved rock.

    All can be seen in the documentary "Into eternity".

  • by PPH (736903) on Sunday July 31, 2011 @10:40PM (#36943188)

    ... Topeka, Kansas. There's a nice empty lot just down the road from the Westboro Baptist Church. We'd all be happy to have you.

  • Just kidding. (I hope.)

    The caverns [national-park.com].

    Hmm. Nukewatch has a map. Working Google Maps a little, I located WIPP road [google.co.jp].

    That locates it well away from the caverns, but within ten miles of Lindsey Lake.

  • So there was this perfectly useful facility built specifically for the purpose of nuclear waste storage.
    So the location was selected based on "data collected for nearly ten years" (Wikipedia). YM was picked since it was already located within a former nuclear test site (i.e. development potential for other types of structures or settlements was limited at best).
    The facility was under construction, and proceeding well.
    And then the shit hit the fan, in the form of Harry "Screw You All" Reid.
    "Following the 2006 mid-term Congressional elections, Democratic Nevada Senator Harry Reid, a long time opponent of the repository, became the Senate Majority Leader, putting him in a position to greatly affect the future of the project. Reid has said that he would continue to work to block completion of the project, and is quoted as having said: "Yucca Mountain is dead. It'll never happen."
    Perhaps the most telling phrase in the entire Wiki article is this: "The US GAO stating that the closure was for policy not technical or safety reasons."

    So, to summarize: we have a perfectly good facility that is DESIGNED for the purpose of nuclear waste storage. It's in an area that is a former nuclear test site, so there's not much we can build there anyway. It's almost complete, after CBO only knows how many millions of dollars spent. Yet because HARRY REID SAID SO, we're just going to throw it the hell out and continue storing nuclear waste "all over the place".

    The political machinations of Reid and Obama vs logic.
    The safety factor of storing nuclear waste in a designated, secure, safe, technologically advanced facility vs storing it in small batches in a multitude of sites.
    The counter-terrorism factor of having one site to protect and monitor vs the need to protect & monitor hundreds of them.
    The cost factor (not that Obama or Reid actually give a shit about taxpayer dollars, but still...)
    ...2012 is coming.

    P.S. No, I didn't just get this info from Wikipedia. This issue has been "on the radar" on several blogs over the course of the last few years. Of course, the mainstream media will never, ever report it, but that doesn't mean that anyone who cares to find out more info can't Google "Yucca Mountain controversy" and go on from there.

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