SkyWatcher's comment history

SkyWatcher said...

This article is a mish-mash of nuclear issues, with the writer stretching to try and relate them to the closure of Yucca Mountain.

The term "reprocessing" is repeatedly misused. This term refers specifically to recovery of fissile material from spent nuclear fuel, generally by chemical separation.

Downblending is not reprocessing, rather it takes highly enriched uranium, such as the bomb-grade material that the US rescued from former Soviet Union countries, and blends it with depleted uranium to bring it down to an appropriate enrichment (U-235 content) for civilian nuclear fuel. I can't think of a better way to make the world a safer place.

Treatment of low-level waste is not "reprocessing" either. Also, there are several other low-level waste treatment facilities elsewhere in the country--Tennessee does not have a "near monopoly" (which is an incorrect statement in itself--there is either a monopoly or not).

I've read the "Out of Control - On Purpose" report and that is full of errors, exaggerations, and untruths.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has consistently made anti-nuclear statements; I would never consider them to be impartial.

Nuclear power is one of the safest and most environmentally friendly ways to generate the large quantities of electricity needed by our nation. Handling the waste products is not a technical issue, it is a political one. Great Britain, France, and Japan have demonstrated that reprocessing can be done safely. The fear mongering needs to stop and our elected officials need to be properly informed about the technology before they start trying to ban activities they don't understand.

March 31, 2010 at 6:15 p.m.
SkyWatcher said...

Every method of generating electricity has its drawbacks. But your lifetime usage is the equivalent of a lipstick-sized chunk of nuclear waste, as opposed to the tons of toxic fly ash and air emissions (both of which are also slightly radioactive) if all of your electricity came from coal. Coal usage has had a much more damaging environmental, health, and worker-safety impact than nuclear ever has. In the southeast there are no other reliable and cost effective ways of generating the necessary baseline electricity for our households and industry than nuclear or coal. Solar, hydroelectric, biofuels, landfill gas, and wind can help, but they will necessarily remain a small percentage of generation options because they are difficult to scale up without damaging environmental impacts. Natural gas can be used for peak demand times, but tends to be expensive.

What will TVA do with their nuclear waste? Realistically they should recycle (reprocess) it, as spent fuel has a great deal of remaining fuel value, then dispose of the remnants in a geological repository. We have the technology, it is now a matter of political will.

March 23, 2010 at 1:01 p.m.

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