[Marxism] [UCE] NY Times - what to do with nuclear power radioactive waste

Dennis Brasky dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Fri May 25 11:02:53 MDT 2018


There are two aspects to the national cleanup: decommissioning the
radioactive plants themselves, and finding a permanent home for the huge
volumes of plutonium-containing “spent fuel” produced by the plants’
reactors during their working life. That home needs to be safe and secure:
plutonium is an emitter of virulent radiation, and has a half-life of
24,000 years
<https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/radwaste.html&sa=D&ust=1526929109133000&usg=AFQjCNHUWGbw_m8_H6ZAceSHvJmZeofepw>
(a
half-life is the time it takes for half of the radioactive material to
decay.).

Dismantling and safely removing the radioactive remains of a typical
commercial reactor is hugely expensive. The eventual cost of doing this for all
99 nuclear reactors <https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=207&t=21> at
the country’s 61 operating commercial power plants was put at $91 billion
in a report
<https://www.callan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Callan-2017-NDT-Survey.pdf>
last
year by Callan, an investment consulting firm. But completing the task also
requires a place to take the accumulated spent fuel and radioactive debris,
and so far, the nation has abjectly failed to plan for this. Radioactive
waste is strewn across the country.

The United States’ failure to establish a burial site for its most
dangerous and long-lasting nuclear waste could have tragic consequences.
“Not in my backyard” means that the waste is left in everyone’s backyard.
Unless put out of harm’s way, plutonium is virtually a permanent
radioactive threat, and a potential attraction for would-be nuclear
terrorists or malevolent governments of the future.

The age of generating nuclear power may be drawing to a close. But cleaning
up its legacy has barely begun.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/24/opinion/nuclear-power-radioactive-waste.html



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