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Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Old 04-02-10, 02:05 PM
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Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

I didn't realize Yucca Mountain was scrapped last year. Now what? Obama is for more nuclear power but where do we put the waste?



This article has some info on the cost of the failed Yucca Mtn idea

http://www.ajc.com/business/seeking-...type=ynews_rss

Georgia electric customers paid the U.S. government more than $701 million over nearly three decades, in exchange for a service now 12 years overdue.

After spending $7 billion in waste fund money and $3 billion in taxpayer dollars on the project, last month the U.S. Department of Energy withdrew its license application for the project, saying the site wasn't suitable.

Today, the U.S. government is as far away from delivering on its part of the bargain as it has ever been.

Electric customers not only can’t easily get their money back — Congress borrowed it for other things — but must keep on paying.

That’s a snapshot view of the nation’s Nuclear Waste Fund.


...

The DOE has spent $150 million litigating the cases, and utilities have spent between $5 million and $7 million per case, the congressional report said. The Energy Department has estimated its total liability at $12.3 billion. The nuclear utilities estimate it at $50 billion. Both figures assume that the DOE would begin removing waste from nuclear plants by 2020.

Last edited by Venusian; 04-02-10 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 04-02-10, 02:10 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

We can ship it to Iran or North Korea for "disposal". Or wait until Harry Reid is voted out of office.
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Old 04-02-10, 02:13 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Ship it to Siberia like the Europeans do.
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Old 04-02-10, 02:16 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Stack it up on the other side of Guam. Two birds with one stone people. The lack of ideas in this country blows my mind.
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Old 04-02-10, 02:20 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse View Post
Ship it to Siberia like the Europeans do.
What do they do with it? Looks liek a lot of it gets processed in France but the leftovers are sent back to the countries that produced it
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Old 04-02-10, 02:22 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Originally Posted by Venusian View Post
I didn't realize Yucca Mountain was scrapped last year. Now what? Obama is for more nuclear power but where do we put the waste?
That's what he says. I don't believe it for a minute.
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Old 04-02-10, 02:26 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Looks like everyone buries it or plans to bury it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-le...ste_management
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Old 04-02-10, 02:45 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Originally Posted by Venusian View Post
What do they do with it? Looks liek a lot of it gets processed in France but the leftovers are sent back to the countries that produced it
Well some of it, believe or not, sits out in the open air.

There was a story about some of the stuff from France and Germany being found in the parking lot of a long-abandoned building in Siberia a ways back.

Now they recycle a lot of their nuclear material, a lot more than we do, but they ship a lot of the waste off to Siberia.

I'll tell you this, I would much rather deal with burying nuclear waste than the idiotic decision we made here in the US of burning coal until we had lead and mercury in every body of fresh water in the US. Sulphuric acid in the rain, etc. Also, because of the concentration into rivers and them going into the ocean, such concentrations of mercury are in the coastal sea creatures we eat that pregnant women are told to not even consider eating seafood all over America. People think mercury in seafood is normal I guess, not due to us pumping the sky full of coal smoke for over a century.

Between the two: poisoning our entire country with coal pollution slowly, or finding a way to bury some nuclear waste, we made the stupid choice IMO.

Texas produces more pollution(and the dreaded 'greenhouse' gasses) than the whole of Europe thanks to us burning coal.

One of the founders of Greenpeace, after actually educating himself on the matter, quit the group and has been a high profile nuclear power advocate for years.
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Old 04-02-10, 03:03 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Didn't realize it was scrapped. That's too bad.

Obama is for nuke power like Obama is for offshore drilling. Believe it when you see it.
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Old 04-02-10, 03:29 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Not sure what preconceptions are going round here, but it might be worth pointing out that the vast majority of nuclear waste isn't particularly hazardous (less so than the huge amounts of radioactive coal power waste in fact). The small amount which is particularly nasty gets dealt with in a range of different ways, though one of the most popular is to vitrify the waste and put it underwater in tanks. Britain sends increasing little of its waste overseas for processing these days (though of course our Nuclear infrastructure has been crumbling to nothing for decades now). Nuclear is about to go commercial over here though, with the major generation companies (E.ON, Centrica, NPower, etc) bidding to begin new builds. There is little doubt in my mind that Nuclear will be a major component of a greener energy world in the mid to long term future. Unfortunately the fear of waste and mishaps tends to cloud some people's judgements unduly.
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Old 04-02-10, 04:29 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Georgia electric customers paid the U.S. government more than $701 million over nearly three decades, in exchange for a service now 12 years overdue.

After spending $7 billion in waste fund money and $3 billion in taxpayer dollars on the project, last month the U.S. Department of Energy withdrew its license application for the project, saying the site wasn't suitable.

Today, the U.S. government is as far away from delivering on its part of the bargain as it has ever been.

Electric customers not only can’t easily get their money back — Congress borrowed it for other things — but must keep on paying.

That’s a snapshot view of the nation’s Nuclear Waste Fund.
The first statements bullshit, Yucca Mountain's funding was cut to zero in Obama's first budget.

Anyone who thinks this country will advance any nuclear projects must enjoy Obama telling them it's raining while Secretary Chu pisses on their backs.
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Old 04-02-10, 04:30 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Americans are influenced by 3-Mile Island, The China Syndrome & Silkwood, unfortunately.
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Old 04-03-10, 04:33 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Fast breeder reactors would avoid a lot of the problem to begin with, by consuming the waste from other plants, plus the half-life of waste is dramatically shorter than current (on the order of a few hundred years, versus thousands). The downside is the material it puts out is near weapons grade, making it a security risk.
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Old 04-03-10, 05:24 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

the Chinese will take it. they will take any garbage for money
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Old 04-03-10, 05:25 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post
the Chinese will take it. they will take any garbage for money
and turn it into a children's toy.
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Old 04-06-10, 12:06 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Is there a way to take depleted uranium and enrich it back to it's usable form?
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Old 04-06-10, 12:42 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Originally Posted by parrotheads4 View Post
Is there a way to take depleted uranium and enrich it back to it's usable form?
That doesn't take more energy than it will give back?
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Old 04-06-10, 02:58 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Originally Posted by parrotheads4 View Post
Is there a way to take depleted uranium and enrich it back to it's usable form?
Depleted uranium is the unfissionable U-238 tailings from enriching uranium. It is used for depleted uranium shells and bullets because it is heavier than lead.

Reactor fuel rods can be enriched. They start out as a modest percentage of U-235 which gets "burned" and a lot of U-238 as buffer.

Over the life of the fuel rod, some of the U-235 is consumed, some of the U-238 is "bred" to Pu-239, some of which may also fission, some is left in the fuel rod. (Commercial reactors are not designed as breeder reactors, but a small amount of Pu-239 is produced. Military reactors can be designed as fast breeders to maximum production of weapon material) When the total fissionable load falls somewhat (quite a bit is still left), the reactor has to be refueled. (Part of the safety design is so it "just barely" operates with fresh rods, and ceases to operate when they are depleted a set percentage).

Most nations reprocess the fuel rods, by flushing out the fission fragments, separating out some U-238 to re-enrich or mix with higher grade material and put it back in operation. Any Pu-239 is left as part of the fission load, the rod is then known as a mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel rod.

Reprocessing reduces the need to dig up new uranium and extends the supply. It also reduces the storage time for nuclear waste. The really long half-life material (that would have to be guarded for 100,000 years) goes back in the reactor. The fission fragments are intensely radioactive but short-lived. A few hundred years would suffice for their decay.

However, if the fuel rods (either spent or reprocessed) were stolen by terrorists, the Pu-239 in a MOX fuel rod is easier to enrich to bomb grade material than the U-235 in a pure, virgin fuel rod.

So a fuel reprocessing operation offers huge benefits (extended supply, reduce waste storage time) but requires some security step. Everybody else does it, so terrorists could just steal from them, but the US (extremely stupidly) refuses to do so. I believe it is a "bone" thrown to those who oppose nuclear power to help make the attractive option look as unattractive as possible.
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Old 04-06-10, 03:30 PM
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Re: Nuclear Power without Yucca Mountain. What now?

Thanks OldDude I was hoping you would post.

I found this helpful also: http://www.usec.com/uraniumenrichment.htm
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