Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Power Earth Government Japan United States News Science Technology

Scientists Say Nuclear Fuel Pools Pose Safety, Health Risks (nbcnews.com) 166

mdsolar quotes a report from NBC News: Ninety-six aboveground, aquamarine pools around the country that hold the nuclear industry's spent reactor fuel may not be as safe as U.S. regulators and the nuclear industry have publicly asserted, a study released May 20 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine warned. Citing a little-noticed study by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the academies said that if an accident or an act of terrorism at a densely-filled pool caused a leak that drains the water away from the rods, a cataclysmic release of long-lasting radiation could force the extended evacuation of nearly 3.5 million people from territory larger than the state of New Jersey. It could also cause thousands of cancer deaths from excess radiation exposure, and as much as $700 billion dollars in costs to the national economy. The report is the second and final study of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which was pummeled from a tsunami on March 11, 2011. The authors suggest the U.S. examine the benefits of withdrawing the spent fuel rods from the pools and storing them instead in dry casks aboveground in an effort to avoid possible catastrophes. The idea is nothing new, but it's been opposed by the industry because it could cost as much as $4 billion. The latest report contradicts parts of a study by Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff released two years after the Fukushima incident. The NRC staff in its 2014 study said a major earthquake could be expected to strike an area where spent fuel is stored in a pool once in 10 million years or less, and even then, "spent fuel pools are likely to withstand severe earthquakes without leaking."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Scientists Say Nuclear Fuel Pools Pose Safety, Health Risks

Comments Filter:
  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @05:32AM (#52154475) Homepage
    This is what happens when you don't build the Yucca Mountain (or equivalent) long-term waste-storage facility. The waste just sits somewhere else, even more vulnerable and more at risk of damaging the environment in both the short and long term.
    • by PvtVoid ( 1252388 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @05:36AM (#52154483)

      Exactly. Thanks to the tireless efforts of NIMBYs and anti-nuke environmental activists, we are storing spent waste in absolutely the most dangerous possible way. The only silver lining to not having this stuff buried in Yucca Mountain is that we might finally get off our asses and start building fast burner reactors, and we can burn all the waste for power. We would get rid of all that nasty waste and replace it with far smaller amounts of waste with a much shorter half-life, and we would reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.

      Nah. Who am I kidding? We'll just let it sit there until there's a huge accident, and then blame science.

      • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @06:25AM (#52154557)
        But you still need spent fuel pools. You can't just dump fresh waste into a mountain.
        • by PvtVoid ( 1252388 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @06:54AM (#52154601)

          But you still need spent fuel pools. You can't just dump fresh waste into a mountain.

          Nobody is contending otherwise. The issue is using them for long-term fuel storage in close proximity to heavily populated areas.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            There is no perfect solution for storing nuclear waste, but for the next few decades, the pools are our best option from a technical perspective, and our only option from a political perspective. Despite the alarmism in TFA, the water cannot simply be "drained out" by, say, pulling a cork at the bottom of the pool. To drain a pool takes several days of pumping, which a terrorist would be unable to do. The water itself is not radioactive. Maintenance workers go into the pools with scuba equipment, and we

            • Why would a terrorist use a pump? We have these things called "bombs" that are really good at rapidly making large holes in things. Things like the side of the pool holding the shielding water. Which would then drain very rapidly. All it takes is one guy with the right briefcase getting against the outside, underside, or inside of the storage room. And from what I've heard, the security in a nuclear plant isn't nearly as tight as you would hope.

              • Things like the side of the pool holding the shielding water. Which would then drain very rapidly.

                No. The pools are below ground level. They would not "drain rapidly". If the pool was ruptured, the (non-radioactive) water would slowly seep out. Meanwhile, the pool could be kept topped off with a hose while the waste was transferred to another pool, or the pool could be repaired with hydraulic concrete.

                • by brausch ( 51013 )

                  Uh, no, the pools are not necessarily below ground level. In fact, that is what got the Fukushima folks. Their pools were nearly at the highest elevation in the plants.

                  Two of the spent fuel pools I've been to were about five stories UP from ground level. One was below ground level.

                  Not sure where the majority of them are.

              • by delt0r ( 999393 )
                If you can get a bomb into a highly secure nuclear facility, there are much better things to actually bomb. Say the primary coolant loop in the reactor. Or security for security just bomb the oval office. Probably easier to get in to.
          • by hey! ( 33014 )

            Yes. Beware any solution that is good enough for the short term. People will prefer it over a solution that's problematic in the long term, but better than the short term solution is in the long term.

        • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @09:15AM (#52154859)

          But you still need spent fuel pools. You can't just dump fresh waste into a mountain.

          The fuel pools throughout Japan all withstood a major earthquake much larger than they were designed for with essentially no damage. IN addition to the huge earthquake, the pools at Fukushima also survived being hit by a tsunami, which they were not designed for, having all their safety systems disabled and severe hydrogen explosions in the building, yet still remained intact and kept the fuel safe.

          Yet some want to make these out to be some disaster just waiting to happen. Its very hard to even get one of these pools to leak significantly, much less lose all their water suddenly. They are extremely tough structures. The writers of the article are not privy to the security analysis and measures in place.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            There was leakage from pools at Fukushima into the ground. That's one reason why they are building ice walls.

            The other issue is the lack of security at some sites. Google "dirty 30".

            • The leakage at Fukushima is primarily from the reactors, not the fuel pools.
              • ^and even with all that damage, the fuel was later safely removed from the pool. Its not like there are no options to handle the fuel even if the pools do start to lose water.
          • Stop lying.
            TEPCO themselves have confirmed that several fuel rods in the reactor 4 storage pool have been damaged, releasing 134Cs and 137Cs and that there were leakages.

            • I never said no rods were damaged. But none were damaged due to leakage or overheating, and the only leakages were some drain pipes adn feed pipes that were small and easily managed and at worst could only drain the pools partially. There was some fuel damage from the hydrogen explosion debris falling into the pool. But at no time was there melting of the fuel.
          • Yet some want to make these out to be some disaster just waiting to happen.

            Hardly. No one is saying that these aren't well built. But what people are saying is that there's no reason to store them in a populated area. Basic risk analysis. If there's no one to kill then there's no one to kill. Storage of spent fuel is not needed close to the reactor for operational reasons, so why not move it into the desert?

            The world is huge yet we have this amazing ability to build dangerous things and the magically pop a town up next door. Then that local town start bitching about how dangerous

            • How would somebody possibly get killed? The fact that you think its plausible tells me you don't understand the risks.
              • Someone could be moving one of them and it falls on them and they die. Done. Someone got killed.

                The fact that you take an all or nothing approach when it comes to any industrial risk shows that YOU do not understand risk in the slightest.

                Incidentally I'm not an expert, so I defer to experts on matters such as this, experts like the ones at TEPCO who were concerned enough that the cooling water in one of the spent fuel pools at Fukushima was boiling that they announced it to the IAEA and then moved the rods

                • Someone could be moving one of them and it falls on them and they die. Done. Someone got killed.

                  The fact that you take an all or nothing approach when it comes to any industrial risk shows that YOU do not understand risk in the slightest.

                  Incidentally I'm not an expert, so I defer to experts on matters such as this, experts like the ones at TEPCO who were concerned enough that the cooling water in one of the spent fuel pools at Fukushima was boiling that they announced it to the IAEA and then moved the rods to another pool out of safety concerns. Could they have killed everyone in Japan? No. Could it have caused a problem for the locals? Not only plausible but actually rather likely, otherwise why take the risk of moving it.

                  There are always a risk of industrial accidents. In fact, nuclear power has the safety industrial accident record by far. There have been people killed working on renewable energy projects. That is a cop-out when we are talking about radiological risks.

                  But I see you have revised your statement from 'someone could get killed' to 'could cause a problem'.

          • by delt0r ( 999393 )
            The story is from mdsolar, so yea that guy really thinks we are all gunna die from nuclear.
      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        and we can burn all the waste for power

        ALL the radioactive waste?

        then blame science

        How about learning some science. The Harford website will help.

        Seriously guys - it's people living in a fantasy world like the above poster that cause things like the waste being left in ponds instead of reprocessed and the remainder stored safely.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by PvtVoid ( 1252388 )

          Seriously guys - it's people living in a fantasy world like the above poster that cause things like the waste being left in ponds instead of reprocessed and the remainder stored safely.

          No, you learn some science.

          I was speaking specifically of fast burner, or fast neutron reactors [world-nuclear.org] which are fuel reprocessing. The result of this reprocessing is short half-life isotopes that are far less of a long-term problem than existing waste.

          • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @09:29AM (#52154901)
            I suggest you consider what released neutrons do to everything around them and you may be able to work out what low level waste is. If you have done high school level science it should be enough.

            I was speaking specifically of fast burner

            You wrote "all the waste", a depressing mistake since it shows you do not understand the topic at all. There is a lot more than fuel rods to deal with.

            • What, you mean make it mildly radioactive for a short half life? That's not nuclear waste in any real sense. I mean, yeah, you probably don't want to roll around in it right away, but shove it all in a hole in the ground for a few decades and it will be perfectly safe.

              • by dbIII ( 701233 )

                What, you mean make it mildly radioactive for a short half life?

                No.
                Please go look at something like the Harford site or read something else about radioactive waste instead of just guessing.
                Stuff like synrok would not have needed to have been developed if reality matched the fantasy.

                • Synrock is not designed to contain low-level nuclear waste like neutron-activated surroundings. It's designed to store the high-level waste that remains highly radioactive on geologic timescales.

                  There are of course some elements that react more unpleasantly to neutron activation, but the solution is simple - don't use those elements. There's also several elements that are essentially completely inert, and simply become hydrogen impregnated instead.

                  • It's designed to store the high-level waste that remains highly radioactive on geologic timescales.

                    There are many levels of waste and fuel can only be processed from a very small portion of that total, thus leaving a lot of waste that remains highly radioactive.

                    There are of course some elements that react more unpleasantly to neutron activation, but the solution is simple - don't use those elements

                    WTF? That "some" is that majority of all elements known!

                    • No, many/most things become radioactive under neutron bombardment, but generally they have a short halflife so it's not really a storage issue, and/or they decay into something stable via alpha or beta radiation, which only cause transient ionization issues.

                      It's really only the medium range half-lives that are a storage problem, in the years to decades range. Short half lives are extremely dangerous, but by the same token they usually decay to stable forms rapidly. And long half lives by definition aren't

                    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

                      No, many/most things become radioactive under neutron bombardment, but generally they have a short halflife

                      When you are dealing with very large amounts of material and a lot of neutrons, and have a definition of "short" that does not allow you to wait a decade or two then there is a lot of waste that should not be waved away as if magic can make it vanish. Hence needing storage solutions. Several exist.

                      As I mentioned well above the Harford web site is a good place to start for those that know little abou

          • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @09:51AM (#52154991) Journal

            No, you learn some science.

            I was speaking specifically of fast burner

            You'll need to learn some politics too. Specifically the Integral Fast Reactor was a burner reactor prototyped in the US that showed promise with a burn up rate of 19%. It promised to replace coal and oil but Clinton shut it down and W.Bush funded its demolition in Sec 628 of the 2005 US Energy policy act. Oil and coal companies don't want something around that will replace their product, you see. To rub salt into the wound, the same act fund pilot programs to replicate some of IFR's hydrogen production functionality in Sec. 634 - as far as we know the funds haven't been accessed.

            Of course the issue with the burner technology you suggest, apart from using sodium as a coolant, is that these reactors will be insanely radioactive at the end of their service lifespan. The only proper way to deploy them would be to build them inside a mountain where the reactor could be disposed of in-situ to cool and they simply would not be economically viable unless you could make one with a service life that exceeds 100 years. You won't get that without a significant advancement in materials technology.

            I hoped burners would work too as it looked like promising technology for nuclear disarmament, however I'm afraid we are still a long way off.

            Thanks to the tireless efforts of NIMBYs and anti-nuke environmental activists, we are storing spent waste in absolutely the most dangerous possible way.

            You nukkers should stop blaming NIMBYs all the time because they have no political power in the placement of nuclear facilities. Yucca is not being used because it is about as effective at storing radio-isotopes as a sponge is to carry water. Hopefully some geologists here will chime in with some more details but getting the geology right for storing nuclear materials is very difficult in granite (the DOE's prefered choice) due to the way the rock fractures, let alone the pumice Yucca mountain is made of.

            Yucca was selected because one of the representatives from Nevada didn't show up for the vote that placed it - nothing to do with science, it was placed inappropriately *because* of NIMBYism. There are probably more approriate sites in the US to choose from if science is applied to selecting one instead of politics. Once you do place it you are going to be building a lot of railways to move the spent fuel and NIMBYs and environmentalists have no control over investment funding for that.

            You nukkers should start to look at how the oil and coal industry affects the nuclear industry with their lobbying power instead of blaming environmentalists and NIMBYs who have very little influence. It's all there (and more) in the laws that govern the way the taxpayer and government interact with funding of all of the energy industries. A core component of the US 'New Deal' the PUCHA is repealed in the 2005 energy act (see Subtitle F—Repeal of PUHCA in the same act) so that oil and coal interests can access taxpayer funding via accessing provisions in Sec 638 of the same act. They were *exactly* the conditions that created the US depression in the first place only this time oil and coal are using the nuclear industry to access the taxpayer's rates instead of other utilities.

            "NIMBY" is a tired accusation that ignores how coal and oil interests are the main face of lobbying power that determines how these laws are shaped to distribute funding.

            • by dbIII ( 701233 )

              It promised to replace coal and oil but Clinton shut it down

              The even more annoying thing is he did it at least partly because Westinghouse and other parts of the nuclear lobby spent a lot of money convincing him to do so. Apparently they saw it as a threat to their business model because they had sunk money into Uranium and it used Thorium. While I think he should have told them to go fuck themselves because they themselves were using previous government nuclear research and should not stand in the way of

      • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @08:15AM (#52154761)
        Just to be clear, this study was done by reporters. "The Center for Public Integrity" is a news organization in Washington, D.C

        In no way are they qualified to do this type of study. They basically are just interviewing people and cherry picking the stuff they think will scare you.
      • Thank the gods someone else sees this too. I have been saying for decades that anti nuke movement from the 60's has done more damage to the planet then all the corporate greed and environmental disasters put together. But try to tell that to a hippie, most can't see past the haze of pot that surrounds them.

        For those of you that are not on the same page with me, let me explain why. In 1945 we built two nuclear bombs and nuked Japan. Now, I'm not going to say that was a good thing or a bad thing, but

      • we've been cutting funding to infrastructure since the Clinton (Bill) era. I'm a NIMBY too. I'll be a NIMBY until you can get the average joe to stop voting against necessary investments in the name of "Small" gov't and Freedom. Look at Flint, Mi and how something as critical as a city's water supply was handled. You wanna drop nuclear waste near me, stored and maintained by the lowest bidder with the highest profit margin? Of course I don't want that.

        Change our politics if you want nuclear to work. Othe
    • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @08:07AM (#52154745)

      This is what happens when you don't build the Yucca Mountain (or equivalent) long-term waste-storage facility. The waste just sits somewhere else, even more vulnerable and more at risk of damaging the environment in both the short and long term.

      This is also what happens when people do studies with an outcome in mind, and don't understand the risks to begin with. They claim the NRC failed to include security risks in their recent rulings, but they failed to mention that the NRC has fully considered those risks elsewhere, so they didn't need to be included. That one oversight is a demonstration of incompetence in understanding the regulatory structure. They also completely fail to state a credible path for such a terror attack to be successful.

      They claim that a fuel pool accident will cause widespread evacuations. In fact, even in a major fuel pool accident that should be unnecessary. The wording in the report says 'might', because they don't have enough of a case to say 'will' or even 'is likely to'. They fail to recognize that most of the older fuel rods are not a threat, and the more recent rods are the concern, and those are manageable with simple measures. They don't even state the post accident measures that are available, nor even acknowledge they exist.

      And as usual, the underlying basis is a completely skewed misperception of radiation risk. They are doing more damage creating fear than fixing an imagined disaster. Every one of them should spend a little time learning what we know now. Here is a great start;

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    • by TheRealHocusLocus ( 2319802 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @08:35AM (#52154785)

      This is what happens when you don't build the Yucca Mountain (or equivalent) long-term waste-storage facility. The waste just sits somewhere else, even more vulnerable and more at risk of damaging the environment in both the short and long term.

      You're right, but I also feel this approach is ultimately wrong, as in 'was never a good solution'. Why do we have nuclear waste that will not be walk away safe for a hundred thousand years... instead of a smaller volume of waste that would be walk-away safe in a few hundred?

      Because the we broke the promises we had made to help solve the problem. First by halting reprocessing in the United States, then failing to find off-plant storage, then ultimately shutting down the last fast neutron reactor, having never even begun to use this technology to render waste into electricity and a much smaller volume of short-lived actinides [wikipedia.org]. In short, left the job unfinished.

      We live in a world where mean people people love to blow things up, unfortunately. This means even Yucca Mountain is a bad idea. For once you create any single point of failure, such as collapsing its entrance, the meanest people steer history and paralyze the waste storage process indefinitely. Contrast that 'bury deep and forget it' approach to a number of well-constructed but shallower storage areas, where even a worst case scenario leaves the waste remains accessible for cleanup and re-use or subsequent processing. I'd even be wary of people who push 'bury and forget it' solutions, for deep down they are counting on this disaster to happen, and they know some day someone will make it happen.

      Consider the hypothetical town of TBA who welcomes the safe storage of nuclear waste [slashdot.org] and ask yourself, what kind of future would you rather?

      Must be a slow solar news day [computerworld.com].

    • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @08:53AM (#52154803)

      As isotopes of short half life break down, the radioactivity of each spent fuel rod goes down exponentially. The fuel pools at nuclear plants were all designed to hold spent rods for the year or so it takes for the hottest isotopes, like iodine, to cook off. The intention was to then move them to buffer storage, like Yucca Mountain, for eventual recycling into new fuel. Let's see if Trump can get the recycling plant built at Yucca, which would provide a lot of ongoing jobs, not just construction, for Nevadans.

    • Without disagreeing about the need for Yucca Mountain or the equivalent, I think the situation is more complex. My understanding is that even with a permanent long term storage facility, some amount of waste will probably always be stored on site. That's because after refueling, it's probably safer to allow the fuel to cool down both physically and radiologically before transporting it. That would seem to make sense. Why transport Iodine-131 -- half life 8 days -- hundreds or thousands of km if the stuf

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      Not really, its more when you insist on not reprocessing fuel because of irrational fears about proliferation. The only reason we have a problem with waste is the first place is that Jimmy Carter should stayed on the peanut farm.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 21, 2016 @05:50AM (#52154505)

    Seriously, this isn't news. Besides, it's not that big of an issue.

    Yes, spent fuel rods are radioactive waste. However, there are two obvious problems with the article.

    1) Simply store the waste in a permanent disposal location, such as burying it at Yucca Mountain. It's extremely unlikely to leak there, nor is there much of a risk in transporting the waste if reasonable safety measures are employed. The environmental hazards are way overstated and significant release of radioactive isotopes is very unlikely during transport or disposal.

    2) The article cites the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, but that wouldn't have happened if power hadn't been lost to the pumps circulating water to cool the reactor and keep the spent fuel rods underwater. Obviously, if you don't keep the spent fuel rods underwater, you're not providing shielding from radiation and you're letting them heat up. The failure was not the storage of spent fuel rods but that the pumps failed. This lesson has been learned and steps have been taken to ensure such an incident doesn't happen again.

    This is fear mongering, which is pretty typical of mdsolar. I don't understand why the editors continue to post his crap.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Seriously? Did you need to have fukushima to be aware that pumps shouldn't fail?

      Nuclear energy, if we use it at all, should never be in the hands of private companies.

      • Seriously? Did you need to have fukushima to be aware that pumps shouldn't fail?

        Existing plants are designed to be able to handle multiple pump failures with no problems whatsoever. They are not designed to handle them after being deluged by a tsunami which rendered too many safety devices inoperable. Which is why we should not place a plant where it can be hit by a tsunami, or suddenly deluged in a similar manner.

        • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

          Existing plants are build to require active input to maintain their safety. The question is not if things will go wrong, but when.

          What Fukushima showed is that the current nuclear safety model is fundamentally unsafe.

          • Zero deaths, projected zero health impacts due to exposure. That even with placing a plant not designed to be underwater being smashed by a huge tsunami. How is that fundamentally unsafe? This was a worst case scenario, yet no radiological health impacts will be seen.
            • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

              >blockquote>Zero deaths, projected zero health impacts due to exposure.

              Several billions cleanup costs.

              Really, apologists for the current nuclear industry are masters at goalpost moving.

              • Expensive to clean up, yes, but not unsafe.
                • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

                  It's billions of damage; something capable of causing that kind of damage is unsafe.

                  • It was not unsafe from a human health standpoint. If you consider those billions to be the added cost of producing huge amounts of carbon free, particulate free power over decades, then it is well spent from a health perspective. The lives saved already by using nuclear vs. coal is tremendous, and the added benefits of improving our position in the fight against AGW are worth many times this cost.
                    • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

                      Irrelevant. You're moving the goalposts; I wasn't constraining myself to health risks only, I was making an observation that systems that depend on active input do not fail safe and are therefore fundamentally unsafe. You have not addressed that.

                    • It was you who moved the goalposts. You said "What Fukushima showed is that the current nuclear safety model is fundamentally unsafe." Then after I corrected you, you changed it to causing 'damage', the you added 'billions' as a cost reference. Now you are back to safety but just safety excluding health risks.

                      I did address safety. I am talking about human health and safety, that is all I have talked about, and I have not moved from that at all, just read my posts. Fukushima, which is basically a worst ca
                    • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

                      Nope, I did not. I pointed out specifically that the current safety model as it depends on active input is unsafe. That's common sense. You brought up the health risks.

                      So fuck off, you blind apologist. I don't talk to stupid people.

                    • If you use the term unsafe and you don't mean human health and safety, then you should clarify in the future.
            • Again, stop lying, you bloody atomic playboy. Several workers died during the cleanup, several sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan had to have their thyroids removed, two of them died so far.

              • Interesting. I have not heard of any deaths. Do you have their names? The stated causes of their deaths? The date of their deaths?

                Also, the US sailors that had their thyroids removed, do you have their names, dates of their surgeries, or anything about them really?

                Anyone that died in this cleanup effort should be recognized for their sacrifice. The least we could do is know their names.

                • It is a shame that people believe all the hyperbolic journalistic crap written about the event. Its also nice to see there are at least a reasonable number of people that can spot that type of reporting.

                  There are thousand of Japanese that, to this day, can not return to their homes which were damaged from the tsunami, and are well away for Fukushima. They simply can't just rebuild villages in a potential tsunami zone. Nobody cares about the real disaster. And yet a lot of people seem to believe all Japan
                • https://news.vice.com/article/... [vice.com]
                  http://www.theguardian.com/wor... [theguardian.com]
                  http://www.spiegel.de/internat... [spiegel.de]

                  Here you go. There is more if you actually bother to look it up.

      • Nuclear energy, if we use it at all, should never be in the hands of private companies.

        And your model for making this assertion is... TSA/DHS?

    • by Zumbs ( 1241138 )

      Simply store the waste in a permanent disposal location, such as burying it at Yucca Mountain

      If it's that simple, why isn't it being done?

      • It isn't being done because a small number of US Senators bought votes in their state by authorizing the construction of the site and then later bought more votes by not allowing the radioactive material to actually enter the site.

        This way they buy votes building a nuclear waste site here AND there to store the same nuclear waste. They robbed us to make busy work for their buddies.

        They also won't allow for the construction of nuclear reactors that can use some of this waste for fuel. Because if they solve

  • by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @06:06AM (#52154529)
    What could be safer than an artificially maintained pool of water filled with highly radioactive spent fuel rods?
  • Finally (Score:4, Funny)

    by hackertourist ( 2202674 ) <.ln.tensmx. .ta. .tsiruotrekcah.> on Saturday May 21, 2016 @06:30AM (#52154569)

    I was getting worried I'd have to do without my weekly dose of antinuclear FUD. mdsolar to the rescue yet again!

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @06:53AM (#52154599)

    I know I openly criticise people for failing to RTFS, but I got to mdsolar and just figured I know the answer to whatever alarmist bullshit he posted today.

    Hey everyone, you're going to be alright, whatever weird scenario he's "researched" this time.

    • This sceanrio wouldn't have been so alarming, but people like mdsolar didn't like the Yucca storage facility that would have solved this issue either. We spent $9 billion building it, only to shut it down.
  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @07:51AM (#52154717)

    The committee that carried out the study and authored the Phase 2 report found that spent fuel storage facilities -- both spent fuel pools used to store fuel under water and casks used to dry-store fuel -- at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant maintained their containment functions during and after the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

    and

    The committee recommended that the USNRC perform a spent fuel storage risk assessment that addresses both accident and sabotage risks for both pool and dry cask storage. USNRC staff informed the committee that it is already thinking about how to expand its risk assessment methodologies to include sabotage risks.

    Not exactly a doomsday scenario. Seems reasonable to do more risk assessments but it's not like they are yelling "Danger Danger Will Robinson..."

  • One word answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Required Snark ( 1702878 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @08:09AM (#52154749)
    Every time someone in the nuclear establishment says that a particular kind of horrible worse case accident can't happen, there is a one word answer: Fukushima.

    The one country in the world that had experienced nuclear devastation, with one of the most technologically advanced cultures in the world, couldn't get it right. This was not the bureaucratically hide bound Soviet Union, where technical expertise coexisted with a struggling backwards economic system, this was the home of the bullet train that always ran on time and they still couldn't get it right.

    So when a bunch of really smart people point out a serious problem that the nuclear establishment (called the "nuclear village" in Japan) say is impossible, it's time to take it seriously. That is exactly what happened in Japan when it was pointed out that a much larger tsunami could over run the Fukushima power station. The industry made a decision based on their pocketbooks, the pretend regulators agreed, and the time bomb started ticking. So this class of failure has happened before.

    Arguing that the article is tainted because it is somehow associated with the solar power field is a paranoid delusion. If you can't criticize the findings on their technical merits then you are the ones engaged in propaganda arguments. As the Russians and Japanese have already found out, nuclear materials go critical based on laws of physics and do not respond to overly optimistic planning documents. When things go bad because of an unplanned critical mass it gets very ugly very fast and there is little to be done to stop it.

    • The one country in the world that had experienced nuclear devastation, with one of the most technologically advanced cultures in the world, couldn't get it right. This was not the bureaucratically hide bound Soviet Union, where technical expertise coexisted with a struggling backwards economic system, this was the home of the bullet train that always ran on time and they still couldn't get it right.

      It always boils down to people. So much about Fukushima reeks of bad decisions at every level, from siting to accounting to management. And while hindsight is always 20/20, the combination of location, and insufficient seawall height made the accident almost inevitable. The only way it wasn't going to happen was if plate tectonics gave it a lucky break and no Tsunami happened during the reactor lifetime and decommissioning. Simple study shows those seawalls would be breached, and if the historical record is

    • Re:One word answer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @01:35PM (#52155885)

      nuclear establishment ... there is a one word answer: Fukushima

      Everytime someone gives a one word answer to describe a fluid technology that has been changed, developed, and despite all pushback AGAINST making it safer has an excellent safety record i also have a one word answer: Idiot.

      So when a bunch of really smart people point out a serious problem that the nuclear establishment (called the "nuclear village" in Japan) say is impossible, it's time to take it seriously.

      Really? Because I cherry picked my results and published them too and everything came up as 100% safe. The article isn't tainted because it's associated with solar power, it's tainted because it's a fake study done by reporters who cherry picked answers to "prove" their pre-determined outcome.

    • Fukushima Dai-Ichi was a BAD nuclear plant design--no modern containment structures and highly vulnerable to a tsunami in the first place. They should have decommissioned that power plant by the late 1990's and replaced it with a more modern nuclear power plant located further inland with real containment structures around the reactor.

    • Every time someone in the nuclear establishment says that a particular kind of horrible worse case accident can't happen, there is a one word answer: Fukushima.

      This. Also, part of the technique for the 'can't happen' brush-off is to quote enormous odds against. After the 2011 Japan earthquake/tsunami we heard first how such things were about one-in-a-thousand-years, now we're hearing The NRC staff in its 2014 study said a major earthquake could be expected to strike an area where spent fuel is stored in a

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Saturday May 21, 2016 @09:04AM (#52154821)

    As a nuclear physicist: Yes, that's true. But if you reprocessed the fuel rods instead of treating them as waste, they wouldn't be sitting in a pool being radioactive.

    • As a nuclear physicist: Yes, that's true. But if you reprocessed the fuel rods instead of treating them as waste, they wouldn't be sitting in a pool being radioactive.

      As a hoomin bean, then we'd be talking about the safety, security and health risks of reprocessing.

  • No matter how good the technology, it's run by people and they lie, don't tell the whole truth and cut corners to save money.

  • Anyone else notice that every article that BeauHD posts is either clickbait and/or meant to inspire rage/anger?

    • by Pikoro ( 844299 )

      Sorry to reply to my own, but seriously. Looking at only the stuff posted by BeauHD today:

      Scientists Say Nuclear Fuel Pools Pose Safety, Health Risks
      DARPA Extreme DDOS Project Transforming Network Attack Mitigation
      Microsoft Finds Legal Path To Launch Minecraft In China
      A Third Of Cash Is Held By 5 US Tech Companies
      Apple Opens First 'Next Generation' Retail Store
      Wristband Gives You An Electric Shock When You Overspend
      Real-Life RoboCop Guards Shopping Centers In California
      AI Will Create 'Useless Class' Of Hum

  • Seriously, burying this makes little sense, which is why Yucca mtn was stopped.
    So, if we spend a couple of billion NOW, we can have multiple reactors that are designed to burn this up and leave us with minor amounts of radioactive material that will be safe within 200 years.

    The fact that we have NOT solve this is because the dems are as anti-science as the GOP.
    • Completely correct. That's why there is a lot of interest in molten-salt reactors (MSR's), where the nuclear fuel (normally thorium-232) is dissolved in molten sodium fluoride salts. In fact, MSR's could even use reprocessed spent uranium-235 fuel rods or even plutonium-239/241 from dismantled nuclear weapons dissolved in molten fluoride salts as fuel.

      • It is particularly frustrating when you realize that all of the current and old nuke sites had/have plenty of cooling and transmission capability. It is actually relatively cheap to add these small reactors to these sites and then use up the old fuel. Worst of all, we are going to need to replace not just coal and nat gas plants, which is around 66%, but 20% is nukes and will require replacement. With these smaller reactors, we can place 10-15 of these to replace 1-2 GW reactors
  • This is what happens when reprocessing is forbidden in the United States.

    We don't need very large deep repositories. Reprocessing spent fuel generates power and reduces the amount of dangerous waste. Why don't we do it? Because of some hypothetical proliferation risk that turns out doesn't actually exist in those countries that do reprocess spent fuel.

    And we shouldn't be dry-casking, because that makes it so much more difficult to extract and reprocess. God forbid we glassify the waste, spending orders

"Joy is wealth and love is the legal tender of the soul." -- Robert G. Ingersoll

Working...