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US Nuclear Plants Expanding Long-Term Waste Storage Facilities 187

mdsolar (1045926) writes with news of nuclear plants across the U.S. dealing with the consequences of the failure of Yucca Mountain. From the article: "The steel and concrete containers used to store the waste on-site were envisioned as only a short-term solution when introduced in the 1980s. Now they are the subject of reviews by industry and government to determine how they might hold up — if needed — for decades or longer. With nowhere else to put its nuclear waste, the Millstone Power Station overlooking Long Island Sound is sealing it up in massive steel canisters on what used to be a parking lot. The storage pad, first built in 2005, was recently expanded to make room for seven times as many canisters filled with spent fuel. ... The government is pursuing a new plan for nuclear waste storage, hoping to break an impasse left by the collapse of a proposal for Nevada's Yucca Mountain. The Energy Department says it expects other states will compete for a repository ... But the plan faces hurdles including a need for new legislation that has stalled in Congress." There's always recycling or transmutation.
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US Nuclear Plants Expanding Long-Term Waste Storage Facilities

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  • by ks*nut ( 985334 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @12:47AM (#47097199)
    There is a disconnect - there is an incredible amount of nuclear waste from our power generation plants and from weapon production. That waste needs to be safely stored for thousands of years. Somehow steel storage tanks don't address the reality of the situation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @03:18AM (#47097597)

    They tried shooting it at the Iraqis, but they ran out of enemy tanks and their own soldiers started dying from exposure...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @04:59AM (#47097833)

    How long until we start including the TOTAL cost of using nuclear with all of the long tail of management and waste control that drags generations into the future?

    We already have you stupid fuck.

    So why do we keep saying nuclear is cheaper when we aren't even willing to pay the required costs to bury it in Yucca, or in some other long-term accessible storage?

    We ARE willing to pay [] you incredible asshole. We've been escrowing money to pay for it for decades.

    The problem isn't money and never has been. The problem is you and the fuckwits you vote into office that make dealing with the waste impossible.

    So shove your lectures and your Millennial ignorance up your ass.

  • Re:what a waste (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KonoWatakushi ( 910213 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @06:43AM (#47098097)

    It would not be a subsidy. The Nuclear Waste Fund [] has accumulated a balance of $25 billion dollars, paid in fees over the years by nuclear plant operators. The parent is only suggesting that it be spent on developing the technology which has the greatest potential for managing the "waste", rather than waiting it out. In the end, those are the only two options: fission it, or bury it.

    Nuclear "waste" and "spent fuel" are misnomers, as conventional reactors extract less than 1% of the energy from mined uranium. It is insane to treat it as waste, when the technology exists to completely transform the remainder into energy, while eliminating virtually all of the long term radioactivity. The technology was proven decades ago, and the remaining development and commercialization could be completed using a small fraction of the available fund.

    Molten salt reactors like LFTR [] would not only produce enormous amounts of electricity from that "waste", but also valuable medical isotopes, radioisotopic fuel for space probes, and rare earths. As a high temperature reactor, even the rejected "waste" heat has many potential uses, including desalination and producing ammonia [] or other synthetic liquid fuels. Another interesting application is carbon neutral cement [].

    Discouraging development of nuclear not only prevents safer designs and a solution for the waste issue, but also assures continuing dependence on fossil fuels in the many cases for which renewables are not suitable. (Including the production of more renewables, which require a whole lot of steel and concrete. Or to provide energy while the wind and sun are unavailable.)

  • by knightghost ( 861069 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @07:40AM (#47098317)

    We have the design and site. Yucca was killed because Reid runs the senate.

  • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @10:14AM (#47099099)
    There is a great skew in risk perception, in large part due to association with weapons, Hollywood portrayals, and general FUD mongering. I find it interesting that the average person exposes themselves to an untold number of toxic chemicals and materials. We live and work among pesticides, herbicides, and material coatings and preservatives. We expose great numbers of workers to manufacturing process hazards, breath dust from construction materials and lists of other airborne contaminant sources, and eat foods with additives we don't even recognize.

    Yet, when we have a comparably small amount of waste, kept away from us, that has not harmed a soul, in tightly controlled containers, is easy to monitor and detect even the smallest presence outside its compartment, it causes the country to freeze in fear. And considering that the waste is from an energy source that has offset the generation of more airborne pollutants than wind and solar combined can hope to offset in the next two decades, and you just have to wonder. Yes, there are problems with nuclear waste, but in the bigger scheme of things, we have to weigh those risks against the risk of failure to reduce the continued increasing emissions globally, betting that less affordable and reliable sources in a few countries will really get us where we need to be.

The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.