Editorial: Going nowhere on U.S. nuclear waste
U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz listens during a congressional hearing regarding disposal of used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain and other facilities.
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#1 Aug 16, 2013
A basic problem is that the Yucca facility has been evaluated and sold as a "permanent repository" for spent fuel. Instead, it should be engineered so that future generations can retrieve the waste if they have reason to do so. Such reasons may include poor performance of the site as measured over time, or new technologies that make reprocessing more economical and practical. Future generations may also evaluate the actual performance and decide to backfill and close the facility for good. Probably not a good idea to embark on reprocessing at this time. The technology is clumsy and the logistics are a nightmare.
#2 Aug 16, 2013
Yucca is designed for retrieval, but why should we put it there when reprocessing is the best alternative. I agree that current technology while not necessarily clumsy certainly is infrastructure intensive but worth it from the standpoint of the waste remaining only needs about 600 years of radioactive decay as opposed to the tens of thousands required with the Transuranic and plutonium isotopes in used current LWR fuel assemblies. This is another reason anti-nukes don't want reprocessing as it would kill one of their biggest arguments about nuclear power. ANL is currently working on a much more efficient way to recycle spent fuel, see video at http://atomicinsights.com/recycling-used-nucl...
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