Nuclear Power - One of Humankind's Biggest Mistakes
by Jim Bell
01 February 2009
Nuclear Power was a mistake and remains a mistake. If the human family survives it, our descendants will wonder what we were thinking to justify leaving them nuclear power's toxic legacy -- a legacy they will be dealing with for hundreds if not thousands of generations.
In a blow to the nuclear power industry, the budget released by President Obama last week eliminates most funding for Yucca Mountain, the Nevada site that for decades has been proposed for the permanent burial of radioactive nuclear waste.
The decision will likely be an expensive one, considering how much money the federal government might end up owing the utility industry, and how much—up to $10.4 billion—has already been spent and will have been wasted on the search for a nuclear waste repository since 1983. The courts have already awarded the companies about $1 billion, because the government signed contracts obligating it to begin taking the waste in 1998, but seems unlikely to do so for years. The nuclear industry says it may demand the return of the $22 billion that it has paid to the Energy Department to establish a repository, but that the government has not yet spent [The New York Times].
And the $Billions keep flowing.
For the past 25 years the U.S. has burned through $10.4 billion looking for a home for nuclear waste. We thought we had one in Yucca Mountain, but popular, political and scientific support for that location has crumbled.
And now there's no plan for nuclear waste. In addition to the headache of figuring out what to do with the waste, if the measure is approved, the government should prepare itself for a bunch of lawsuits:
NY Times: Lawyers are predicting tens of billions of dollars in damage suits from utilities that must pay to store their wastes instead of having the government bury them, with the figure rising by about a half-billion dollars for each year of additional delay.
The courts have already awarded the companies about $1 billion, because the government signed contracts obligating it to begin taking the waste in 1998, but seems unlikely to do so for years. The nuclear industry says it may demand the return of the $22 billion that it has paid to the Energy Department to establish a repository, but that the government has not yet spent.
WHAT A DEAL ! Government subsidized fuel, Government subsidized insurance in case of an accident and Government responsibility to take care of the deadly waste left behind.
Stuck in limbo, all that waste from the weapons program.
DOE to review waste removal options at Hanford
By Annette Cary, Herald staff writer
The Department of Energy will prepare a report this year on the future of high-level radioactive waste, new Energy Secretary Steven Chu said.
That should give the Mid-Columbia a better idea of the future of Hanford's worst radioactive waste, now stored in underground tanks.
Chu was grilled this week at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing by Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, after saying that Yucca Mountain, Nev., will not be used as the nation's repository for high-level radioactive waste.
The nation's used fuel from power production and Department of Energy high-level waste, including Hanford's, is required to go to a national waste repository. Yucca Mountain was the only site that was being developed for high-level waste.
The Idaho National Laboratory also has waste that would have been sent to Yucca Mountain, Risch said. If it won't be sent to Yucca Mountain, then where will it be sent, Risch asked.
Salem is up for hearings on license renewal , full speed ahead !