Nuclear Waste Disasters and a Pollution Solution?

A couple debatable points sent in by e-mail:

We might learn something from the failures of the levees in New Orleans and the explosions of space shuttles, suggests Debater Dick Griest. They could offer valuable lessons about relying on sophisticated equipment designed to last many years. In other words, even our best engineering (which arguably the levees were not) is not necessarily foolproof.

He warns that Yucca Mountain could surpass the levees as the worst civil engineering disaster in U.S. history. "Can we afford to write off the entire southeastern [sic] U.S. like we have written off New Orleans?" Mr. Griest then goes on to wax eloquent about the devastating loss of the pornography industry in Southern California -- but I'm going to assume that was an attempt at humor rather than a serious concern.

(Griest also gets snitty with me for not posting a Yucca-related link he apparently e-mailed me back in October -- forgive me for not remembering it -- but I'm guessing the reason I didn't post it was that it's not at all useful unless you're willing to pay to read it. If you are, here you go.)

Speaking of relying on sophisticated technologies, Debater Michael F. McBride mentions this in another e-mail:

...there are new technologies about to be put to the test to remove virtually all the pollutants from the air emissions of coal-fired plants, and then inject the remaining carbon dioxide into the ground, to avoid potential greenhouse gas issues.

I admit I haven't heard too much about this. But it would be surprising if the approach didn't come with its own hazards. Would carbon dioxide leak into lakes, bays and oceans, making the water less hospitable for marine life? Could pumping gasses into the Earth cause any sort of terrestrial instability? (Any Debaters who happen to be geologists out there?)

More dire warnings from the e-mail box coming soon.

By Emily Messner |  April 20, 2006; 11:59 AM ET  | Category:  Your Take
Previous: Radioactive Man, Woman and Child | Next: They're Selling Uranium to Hu?

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Say, Emily, you wanna meet for refreshments some time?.. I don't have the solution to the polution (just yet) but we may figure something out.

Posted by: Emilio | April 20, 2006 12:29 PM

Last I checked, Yucca Mtn is maybe 60 or so miles outside Las Vegas, which is in Southwest, US. Only cold spent fuel assemblies planned for Yucca Mtn. (The fuel sits in plant fuel pool for a number of years, until cool enough so that air cooling is sufficient.) Very little internal energy in cold spent fuel. It's underground, so difficult to imagine access to do harm. Even if above ground in those robust storage casks sitting in a plant parking lot, any kind of breach would be messy, but easily mitigated. Just scoop it up, put it in containers and bury it where authorized. Not a big deal.

Posted by: Ed Trottier | April 20, 2006 12:30 PM

Science bores me. I prefer arts, crafts, the world of ideas and stuff.

Posted by: Emilio | April 20, 2006 01:05 PM

I referenced this in a comment on nuclear waste that begins

A much more interesting problem than how do we deal with nuclear waste is how do we deal with waste? Generally, liquid waste is a more difficult problem than solid waste, and gaseous waste is even more difficult. Not only do fossil fuels require 100,000 - 1 million times as much fuel (seen in the much higher numbers of coal miners dying and greater damage to the Earth, and the greater dangers and expense in shipping natural gas, compared to uranium), but fossil fuels produce 100,000 - 1 million times as much waste. mostly gases.

(Pargraph deleted, but it says that Coal waste kills tens of thousands in the US, and many more worldwide, every year from heart and respiratory diseases, including cancer.)

(A side comment to say that it looks like we need all of the solutions on the table, rapidly and radically increased efficiency, a shift to non-carbon energy supplies, living with less, and some not yet found, to get to the kinds of greenhouse gas cuts people in policy say are necessary, 65 - 85% or even more in the next few decades, even as population will increase by 40% and per capita consumption continues to rise.)

How safe would Yucca Mountain be?

From National Academies Press, written by the National Research Council Disposition of High-Level Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel: The Continuing Societal and Technical Challenges (2001) (http://www.nap.edu/books/0309073170/html/index.html)


Geological sequstration is defintely in the short term future, after some more characterization with large storage is completed. I discussed this in http://pathsoflight.us/musing/?p=70 This is definitely one of the interim solutions, and will work for pretty much any large stationary carbon source.

It's really easy to say that Yucca Mountain could be a disaster, really hard to back it up with analysis that could pass any kind of peer review.

When Bruce Alberts was interviewed on leaving as head of National Academy of Science, he listed three questions that NAS would love to be asked. One of these is, how safe is nuclear power? If you believe that nuclear power is unsafe, ask your legislator to ask NAS for an evaluation.

Posted by: Karen Street | April 20, 2006 01:14 PM

I say that instead of looking for the one magic energy solution, the government should fund 5 or 6 test solutions. Let's build a new state of the art nuclear plant, wind turbine farm, hydrogen fuel plant, ethanol do-hickey, etc ... and see how they perform. Maybe the sky won't fall in after all. You never know until you try.

Posted by: Turnabout | April 20, 2006 01:19 PM

The government is too busy helping big oil & co to maximize its profits to heed your well-meaning if naive advice, Turnabout.

Posted by: Emilio | April 20, 2006 01:33 PM

Ed Trottier is right. Consequences of disrupting a long-sitting chunk of nuclear waste are not likely to extend past a small area because the waste has already decayed off all it's iodine, flourine, nobel gas fraction, and other volatiles.

The Greenie strategy since the 70s was to "kill off nuclear power" by using fear and NIMBY-ism to prevent future plants construction then retire existing ones by forcing them to keep their waste until forced to cease operations on lack of capacity. And accomplish this by repeatedly saying safe storage elsewhere, anywhere was impossible.

Then glorious solar power could triumph - and all our stuff could be made from organic hemp..and the Age of Acquarius would dawn..

Russia, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Japan all went ahead and built permanent repositories. Showing the US "storage problem" is not technical but political. And slightly absurd - as radwaste has piled up in 160-200 different locations in America that the whacked activists say are safer there in temporary storage - than sealed in a permanent repository.

And the industry beat the anti-nukes attempt to force the industry shutdown via their "choked to death in their own wastes strategy" by consolodating fuel in spent fuel pools and use of dry shipping casks. But will the enviroweenies ever admit their tactic, agreed to in the mid-70s to oppose any permanent storage so as to shut down all nuke power plants eventually fail? No. That would be admitting defeat. And fanatic ideologues, ranging from the Bush White House to Greepeace's SF lawyers - never do that.

As part of licensing for dry casks, safety analysis had to show that even when a container was breached that the radiation event was localized and did not significantly endanger the public. (Say Abdullah or some other Islamoid drops a bomb on one...spreading chunks over a 100 meter area..). With volatiles gone from the spent fuel, you have chunks of high rad emitters that have to be located and put in shielded containers...but the rad effect is local. A highly radioactive mess, but one that can be cleaned up fairly readily by trained people and available equipment and meanwhile the radiation from a source attenuated by distance and air shielding to harmless levels for the gen population..

But in other ways, the anti-nuclear activists endanger us because those 200 "temporary" sites they have gifted us in populated areas through fear and NIMBY-ism tactics do increase risk over that of a sealed repository...especially one that only has fission products, not any plutonium or transuranics in it because they were separated out for recycling.

******************

Karen Street adds good links which - besides the fact other nations have already built and use repositories - show the NAS analysis. The vegan frisbee tossers (not that there is anything wrong with that!) muster up a few Leftie Scientists on their side while knowing the media loves to cover doomsday warnings from any self-annointed "PhD expert" on the side against the mainstream, and give the out of the mainstreamers more ink...

The problem with delay, besides fuller spent fuel pools and "farms" full of dry casks near populated areas - are most significant in the delay the enviroweenies have caused in permanent storage being politically feasible having on military weapons facilities. And those places, like Hanford and Savannah, DO have real environmental concerns. Unlike civilian nuke or the nuke Navy, they had to put safety second to defense in the peak of the Cold War and crank out tritium, HEU, and plutonium. And have million gallon, corroding, 60-year old steel tanks holding acids and transuranics and fission profucts at various locales, waiting for a national repository so they can begin clean-up.
*****************
As an afterthought, Dick Griest's comments on the SoCal porography industry does matter, though OT, in that it was the rare multibillion dollar US industry where we exported more than we consumed domestically. It's one of those American things that went global and was in every village. As such, in spreading our culture, our female ambassadors were large-breasted, insatiable blonde vixens, evidently able to do their trade with great enthusiasm, flexibiliy and athleticism. The male ambassadors of porn?? Best left unsaid...

And US porn formed one of the great resentments of the Islamoids. Bin Ladens 1998 Fatwa declaring war on us mentioned our decadent, filthy culture impacting his pure land of Camel wastes and soft, smooth young boys - was in both a metaphorical and literal sense. He wasn't just talking metaphorically about politically offensive cartoons, editorials, annoying TV shows draped in sexual innuendo and rabid love of materialism - even bikinis, Hollywood and Calvin Klein ads. He was talking real, bona-fide decadent American porn filth as well...which curiously enough is found in quantity at Al Qaeda hideouts, even though their handbook and Mullahs discuss punishments to those caught with porn...

The main target in Internet censorship in Muslim countries, quasi-totalitarian places like Iran and China - where the Chicoms are going nuts to stop "inappropriate" things, and completely totalitarian places like Mayanmar is not "free expression of ideas and dissent" - it is porn 1st.

With gambling 2nd, political debate a distant 3rd.

Atlantic Magazine had a great article on Internet censorship worldwide with country-by-country graphics of what is stifled in what percent. And had an article not too far back about US soldiers finding large caches of porn - some clearly intended for sale (multiple copies of the same porn movie, magazine) in Islamoid fighter havens in Iraq..

Posted by: Chris Ford | April 20, 2006 03:03 PM

Chris, are you okay?

Posted by: Emilio | April 20, 2006 03:20 PM

Shoot, never mind the nukes, save the SoCal porn industry! All those struggling actresses, only wanting to continue in the footsteps of their mothers and grandmothers and great grandmothers confronted by the horror of unchecked globalization!

I wonder if we can get the UN to label SoCal as a World Heritage Site?

Posted by: D. | April 20, 2006 03:26 PM

Emilio - unwittingly hilarious, sez:

"Science bores me. I prefer arts, crafts, the world of ideas and stuff."

Posted by: Chris Ford | April 20, 2006 03:51 PM

No, I'm not okay, Emilio. As a matter of fact, I'm a compulsive verbal masturbator. Actually, not just verbal. Now would you excuse me.

Posted by: Chris Ford | April 20, 2006 04:40 PM

Why not convert nuclear waste into flakes, sprinkle it with sugar, and sell it as breakfast cereal? People will eat anything.

Posted by: Turnabout | April 20, 2006 05:11 PM

What a droll comment, Turn. Say, anything else is going?

Posted by: Emilio | April 20, 2006 05:24 PM

Emily - Michael F. McBrides carbon sequestration email might make a good separate topic. The NPR, and thence linking onward from that brings you to DOEs site on carbon sequestration. With lots of ideas from USA gov't, other nations, and universities studying sequestration methods. Some wild but good stuff like deliberately fertilizing nutrient barren, vast lifeless stretches of the ocean to create large amounts of additional photoplankton starting vast new carbon fixing food chains(marine life is mostly in patchy regions of the ocean where fisheries and shallow regions getting nutirents from land runoff and current upwellings are.) The ocean is where the researchers ultimately hope to fix the carbon in, not the very small geologically suitable land reserviors known to exist.

If you read further, you find that existing coal plants cannot be practically modified collect and pump CO2 subsurface, even if they were sited near a reservior, which many aren't. And the new coal plants that would have to be built if this technology improves to being feasible given a certain advanced coal plant design can be developed would cost lots to sequester - on the order of doubling the price of electricity..

"http://www.fe.doe.gov/programs/sequestration/capture/index.html"

*************

PS, psuedo-poet, it's not normally acceptable Internet etiquitte to post fake posts using other people's handles, like your 4:40 post using my name. Just getting caught at it once is enough to get someone like you permanently banned from other sites. It's just a smegma tactic from a smegma guy. Attempting to false post to impugne other posters you disagree with, or to derail a debate you dislike by attempting to confuse other posters with which are bona-fide posts and which are deceitful ones.

I've seen other Blogs once open to comments, that lacked the time and inclination to police posters and do bans simply take the easier path - have to discontinue allowing public comment once the spamming got out of control or the threads were vandalized by those seeking to confuse and shutdown ongoing debates or "get" posters they politically sought to attack..

Posted by: Chris Ford | April 20, 2006 05:34 PM

unless you don't have any.

having to clean up after anything is a waste of motion...

but then I like to do things right the first time...

I'm not a gerry rigger....hee hee hee...


having things that work together in concert seems like the smart thing to me...


the CERN project that generated power while destroying, nuclear waste seems like a winner...

having roofing material that was somehow used as solar collectors....

simply building houses that reflected the thoughtfulness of design that is available...

if you really wanted to save energy and make the world a better place to live in then...


you'd educate and advertise.


people that are informed tend to make smarter choices.......


people that are fed to tend to make the choices that they are fed...


which is why Rovian techniques, tend to work so well right now.

people don't have time to think so they

get general impressions...

they graze they don't read...

so someone can just put out a couple of psuedo facts that _seem_ to make sense like


organic, solar or whatever is a _bad_ idea or it's unpatriotic...

and the next thing you know the stupid people are repeating that psuedo factoid...


sort of like selling the United States Homophobia as a way of electing George Walker Bush....whose uncle used to be an owner of a Sugar Cane plantation in Cuba, part of the West Indies Company...a British company...apparently he lost that during Castro's takeover which led George H. W. Bush to become involved in Cuban, Mafia and Castro....wonder what he was doing when JFK died?

just kidding, he wasn't involved, directly..

.

Posted by: actually any multifaceted environment assisting energy program makes the most sense.. | April 20, 2006 05:48 PM

thanks for your attribution, but apparently there's someone else that can mimic my style...


I was out shopping for antiques.....


and I'm not a psuedo poet,


I just post for effect, if it makes you happy well

you can call me a poet.


but what I really prefer is that you stick to the truth rather than spin.


I don't care to pretend to be you, no part of you is unoffensive....but hey perhaps that just your genetics...


you have pretended to be me though, haven't you you little scamp...

I can feel your jealous rages, like soda pop bubbling......


but that's not my purpose, you're simply a disinformationist...I'm happy if people can see through your scamming...


you're just an example of a poster without moral responsiblity,,,,

you know a cunning ham, a dealaid, a rovian schlepper...

no class, talking out rear end...


I takeit as minor praise that you deign to feel threatened by me.

It's not you I care about, it's your lack of honesty, and seeding the world with spuutum...

pinhead.

.

Posted by: dear bonehead, | April 20, 2006 05:54 PM

you seek to control as a way of administering to your bushwahs way.......

evil would be something that would be a part of your rretinue...


but that's always there in some form, so I guess ecologically speaking you're a parasitic lifeform,

one that artificially creates a sspace for themselves by taking energy from a larger lifeform...


like the citizenry of the United States of America...

you take, misinform, and misdirect as a way of being while spewing out tawdry minute pieces of misinformation to those so unfortunate enoughto wander through the perfunctionaary spewings, mewlings and puulings of your disfunctionory proceesosors...


peep.

.

Posted by: you're not an honest person... | April 20, 2006 06:00 PM

he is accurate about the verbal mastrubation though isn't he?


you really are inadequate arent' you?


you can't tell the difference between me and the real things...


....

...

.

.

Posted by: oh and he's doing it in other places too... | April 20, 2006 06:05 PM

I think you've got some on your nose, use your tongue to get it off...

Posted by: speaking of smeegma... | April 20, 2006 06:07 PM

how's it going...like your show..

.

that not your brother is it?

Posted by: hello charlie... | April 20, 2006 06:15 PM

As E. J. Dionne, Jr., tells us in today's WP, no political initiatives are going to be happening from the Republicans anytime soon. And if the Democrats control Congress after November, then they will turn to "investigate everything."

Like a bad grape harvest, 2006 is a very sour year; and it is progressively getting worse. We citizens need to conserve our brain cells for debating solutions that will enable to eventually deal with reformation to straighten out the rules for being American, rules that have been bent and broken. Until we can better trust political and corporate leadership, then it would be seriously unwise to venture into a great nuclear power push.

Posted by: On the plantation | April 21, 2006 10:45 AM

Would you say the Reublican government may fall, OTP? I think this country needs a socialist government now and then. As long as it's not national-socialist, of course.

Posted by: Emilio | April 21, 2006 11:18 AM

Emilio,

Labeling systems seems to confuse the issue, particularly using words long associated with industrial models of social organization and expectation.

We do need a new social compact, as well as a new compact with nature -- changes so radical they perhaps even go back to our roots for core ideas; e.g., in the past, corporations involved shared liability of its officers, were chartered by consent of the legislature for a defined period of time and specific purpose, and were not artificially given the same legal standing as a natural person. They were designed to be dissolved once they accomplished their socially sanctioned mission.

But realistically, I think we have run out of space on the runway; like Roman civilization, we could take a hard and sudden fall in the next fifty years and be overrun by vandals. A precipitating event could be the subject of this debate, the lack of skills to transition to acceptable new sources of mass energy. It would take a miracle of intelligent leadership to take us where we need to go to recover what we have been from the angle of the average citizen and family.

Posted by: On the plantation | April 21, 2006 11:55 AM

Emilio,

Let me add, not that different from Argentina (which once had the highest per capita income of any nation in the world).

Posted by: On the plantation | April 21, 2006 12:01 PM

"the greatest nation"

would be an influx of integrity.

you want that?

you start doing what I said about Guilliani.


you arrest people that are in congress and government for all infractions of _all_ the rules...


the ones that don't obey the laws, shouldn't be allowed to set, create, or influence them........

two years later,

it's a different world.

.

Posted by: actually all that it would require for us to reinstall | April 21, 2006 12:29 PM

I'm no chemist but I do know that co2 dissolved in h20 (ground water) produces carbonic acid.

Posted by: Jay Isacks | April 21, 2006 12:52 PM

By "vandals", OTP, are you referring to the immigrants or some external force?

And what exactly "we have been from the angle of the average citizen and family"?
As for "the highest per capita income in the world", let me just say that if one citizen has 1.000.000 whereas another doesn't have a pot to piss, "per capita" they worth 500.000 each, no? I wouldn't employ such categories.

Posted by: Emilio | April 21, 2006 01:20 PM

Emilio,

By vandals, I do not mean present day immigrants. Something more aggressive, like China.

As to "average citizen" assessment, I do not make measure against a global measuring rod. The wealth of this nation is a product of multiple generations of investment in institutions, knowledge, and infrastructure; and is quite rightly the property and assets of its citizens, who are, BTW, very generous for those outside the nation. What we have today is a serious distortion in how the productivity gains that were hard won are distributed. We also have a problem with costs being imposed on those who do not consent and who do not benefit (here's the illegal immigration issue for you). Corporate profits and executive incomes grow, and real incomes and social security for the average person decline.

Sometimes it is good to get away from financial measures and look at how the real economy functions. Also, it's necessary to look at the overhead involved in participating in this society, not just gross income figures. It costs a lot for a person to maintain a job here, and the taxman always takes the first cut. When it takes excessively long hours or two jobs to have a family and a home, then there is a problem in income and wealth distribution. When long-term older employees are cut with little or no pension or retirement health benefits, then there is a problem is equity. We have experienced both these problem in major ways for about 15 years.

Posted by: On the plantation | April 21, 2006 01:33 PM

retirement package is considered _fair_ compensation for a retiring executive from a gasoline company...

I wonder if any of the workers are being compensated like that from the "orchestrated windfall."

Posted by: Yes, if a $380,000,000 | April 21, 2006 01:57 PM

I believe it's what causes the formation of stalagtites and stalagmites as it dissolves limestone...

on the plantation.

we need to formulate a plan for reentering the concept of "middle-classness" to the planning of

human ecology.


I would encourage looking at humans as existing within an ecology as a way of sidestepping


old governmental terms of description.

and aiding in the process of understanding our interactions as a system of response rather than a class of response.


to clean up these United States successfully would require the reinstatement of middle-class as a necessary thing rather than a "nice thing," as well as leisure time....


we also need to remove the entire marginalized citizenry, as an impediment to real wealth, by intervention.

intervention in parallel.

as this:

grade school, middle school, high school, family, prison, police, social, medicine


this can be paid for by having colleges insist on "real world" experience for their college

law enforcement, social workers, city planners, teachers, lawyers, therapists, and so on...field work in senior or junior year as a requirement...


a side benefit would be that there wouldn't be any fauntleroys created from never having been exposed to the real world.

Posted by: carbonic acid is a very weak acid... | April 21, 2006 02:08 PM

Emily,

Probably the largest field study of radiation health-effects was conducted by the Japanese. Here's the key site with public information:

http://www.rerf.or.jp/top/healthe.htm

Posted by: On the plantation | April 21, 2006 02:21 PM

Emily,

While this site examines the costs of nuclear weapons (not power generation), it does give some insights into the magnitude of the issue of radioactive waste management.

http://www.rerf.or.jp/top/healthe.htm

Posted by: On the plantation | April 21, 2006 02:23 PM

Well, back to the actual topic of the original column...

First, on carbon sequestration (capturing CO2 and pumping it back into the ground or other reservoir). Recapturing the gas from burning at power plants is not entirely untried, but all fingers point to it being relatively expensive (another poster mentioned a possible doubling of electricity prices to support this. Ugh, I'm living in Maryland where we're about to get socked with that just because deregulation failed to come up with competition. No green power, no carbon sequestration, just big honking bills.). Pre-price spike, electricity is going for around 8 cents per kilowatt hour (i.e. it takes 8 cents to run a 100 W bulb for ten hours straight). So are talking serious money here, and look how people have screamed about that. Then again, look at the fact it's going to happen anyway. So maybe it's not so unthinkable. Alas, large scale carbon storage is not well worked out. The Norwegians are experimenting with ideas about injecting CO2 back down into oil reservoirs, which also helps bring out more of the existing oil by providing higher pressure in the reservoir. But one of these days, one does have to wonder if there's going to be a Mentos in Diet Coke moment (Put a few Mentos in a 2 litre Diet Coke and you'll see what I mean. 12-15 foot high soda geyser and almost no soda left in the bottle. Oh, did I forget to mention don't point the soda bottle at your face?). Another method is to pump the CO2 down into the deep ocean where pressure is such that the CO2 stays in liquid form and being heavier than water, forms pools in low spots. Alas, a concern here is that it will gradually dissolve in the ocean, forming a weak solution of carbonic acid. This dissolves calcium and releases... CO2. Oh, and since that calcium might happen to be part of the exoskelton of something like phytoplankton that was drawing down CO2 from the atmosphere...

So carbon sequestration probably deserved some serious consideration, but at a face value, it currently faces some serious challenges.

Nuclear power does too, and not just because of the waste concerns. Consider the full cost of building a power plant, with a safe design and running it and decommissioning it when it runs out of its useful life (bombardment by fast neutrons is a bit rough on the structure, ultimately weakening the reactor vessel and containment systems, so a power plant as a limited lifespan of somewhere in the 40 year range), the cost of fuel processing, waste storage, etc... The usual cost estimate taking all this into account comes to 20 cents per kilowatt hour. In other words, a compelling reason for not building new power stations since the 70s is not ninny greenies, greedy oil barons, etc but sheer economics. Take away the government support programs to encourage civilian nuclear power which helped underwrite those initial startup costs (paid with taxpayer money, so you pay for it anyway, just on the 1040 instead of the utility bill), and it didn't make economic sense. With rising oil prices, environmental concerns about coal mining and CO2 emissions, it's worth giving nuclear power a good looking over again, but the compelling case is not there yet either.

On the subject of waste disposal, however, there are some interesting solutions besides shoving it in Yucca Mountain packed in so tight that the heat from the radioactive waste is high enough to turn ground water to steam and prevent ground water contamination until the radioactive crud is "cooled off" significantly (This is a fundamental part of the current Yucca repository design.). There are a variety of reactor technologies to draw power from the heat of radioactive waste, which processes the leftovers down to a nice toxic mix of crud with half-lives in the tens to hundreds of years, instead of thousands to tens of thousands. In other words, it would result in some really nasty waste we'd need to store safely for a few hundred years with warning signs in English and hope the language doesn't drift too far in that time span for "DANGER" to not end up meaning "Tasty food ahead".

Hmm, seems like maybe that's happened already. Never mind.

Reducing the danger shelf life of radioactive wastes turns Yucca Mountain or other respositories (Yucca Mountain is NOT the only possible storage facility solution, it's just the one located in an area with the least votes against it. Another idea of sequestration in deep mud flats is quite intriguing, albeit rather breathtakingly expensive to implement on a large scale.) reduces a lot of the "and then after ten thousand years, a miracle occurs" elements of planning. How DO you plan for storage of waste realistically for time spans that make ancient Egyptian society seem like just yesterday? Reprocessing can bring that down to a manageable level.

So far, however, solutions to date are largely well intentioned pass the problem on the future. Nuclear power stations running towards the end of their useable lives have had to compete with cheap coal and don't have the cash reserves to deal with their wastes and power plant decommission, nor plans to restart with new reactors.

Posted by: JSA | April 21, 2006 03:15 PM

JSA wrote:

" . . . a variety of reactor technologies to draw power from the heat of radioactive waste, which processes the leftovers down to a nice toxic mix of crud with half-lives in the tens to hundreds of years, instead of thousands to tens of thousands."

__________

How does one shrink a half life? I thought that was pretty fundamental. Even super-accurate atomic clocks are based on the principle.

Posted by: On the plantation | April 21, 2006 05:17 PM

natural radioactive decay into _more_ stable elements...


in the CERN Particle Accelerator, they used _directed_ (rather than random) bombardment by particles on a radioactive substance that resulted in the

fission,

breaking apart of heavy radioactive isotopes into

simpler, lighter, unradioactive or less radioactive components...


bombardment by particles (electrons, alpha, beta, nuetron, proton, etc.) is a way of shortening half life...


just as heating (adding energy is a way of speeding up chemical reactions that are aided in that fashion)

entropy, laws of thermo dynamics.

.

Posted by: half lives are the result of unimpeded and unstimulated... | April 21, 2006 06:10 PM

half lives are . . .,
Fission generates radioactive isotopes. What you describe certainly takes energy to conduct.

Simple proof of concept: If it works why wait to go into large-scale operations? There's plenty of radioactive waste with long lives waiting in compact convenient places for such a process.

Posted by: On the plantation | April 21, 2006 06:23 PM

and just like knowing you need flexible tires to win WWII,

to replace rubber

it takes attention and need.

the primary focus right now of "big business/international corporations" is oil...

you could even call the hullaballo about gas prices, _that_


even though in Europe they've been over $4 dollars a gallon for 10 years...


the corporate brigands are interested in oil, because it's

_what they've got leveraged in the current market_

they might as well be the _shopping channel_

trying to unload 21 truckloads of cubic zirconium...

they sell the public a war on terrorism, corner the market on oil...

and ignore alternatives as not making _them_ any money

you have to drag them away from their sales game, by exposing them...

or by making the public knowledgable enough to elude them....


we're not ineffective.


I've seen several instances of things that we've been discussing in the media and DHS.


to a very real extent:

helping people to understand what you've stated so well, here,

"The wealth of this nation is a product of multiple generations of investment in institutions, knowledge, and infrastructure; and is quite rightly the property and assets of its citizens, who are, BTW, very generous for those outside the nation. What we have today is a serious distortion in how the productivity gains that were hard won are distributed. We also have a problem with costs being imposed on those who do not consent and who do not benefit (here's the illegal immigration issue for you). Corporate profits and executive incomes grow, and real incomes and social security for the average person decline."


is probably the most important task....


that and taking away that corporate/elitist/government, ability to mesmerize by

reframing the elitist-run-government's, wealthy interests, sum corporate distortion(s)

into what is undeniably the truth, by giving people the ability to tell the difference.....


that's one reason why having an authentic presidential race would be so good for our country.......


one where people spoke about how they felt, not tried to match the polls...

in another post, on another thread I spoke of matching or speaking to peoples

internal process,

using that to convince others that they were understood and to lead them, as one leads sheep to slaughter...

I would like to remove the ability of the public to be mislead, and to give them an alternative by having a genuine electoral process...as an example of the difference between spin and authenticity...

.

that would be nice wouldn't it?

Posted by: they have to get funding, | April 22, 2006 01:10 AM

As I understand the Yucca project, the nuclear power connection is the proposed burial there of some unreprocessed spent fuel rods aged 25 years or more. They are solider than the coils on a stovetop and much lower in temperature.

Over decades and hundreds of storage sites, human fallibility has not, as far as I know, been sufficient to get anyone injured by these things, anywhere -- even though when first discharged they were many hundreds of times more radioactive than they will be when shipped to Yucca, or to a deep ocean dumpsite.

I understand the dimensions of this problem and would live without a qualm by the seaside after such dumping, or a mile from Yucca when it's full.

Nuclear is clean; people who say the existence of nuclear waste makes this cleanliness questionable are entirely wrong.

In the original peak-oil paper, Hubbert dealt honestly with this issue: http://www.hubbertpeak.com/hubbert/1956/1956.pdf


--- Graham Cowan, former hydrogen fan
B: internal combustion, nuclear cachet http://tinyurl.com/4xt8g

Posted by: G.R.L. Cowan | April 22, 2006 02:45 AM

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