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What’s Buried Beneath the Decision

March 6, 2010

When President Obama announced on February 16 that he was backing loans for 2 new nuclear power plants, I was slightly surprized, but hopeful.  I was glad to see that he was embracing nuclear power, which I believe has to be included in any discussion regarding cleaner energy sources.  Of course, there is the age-old question, what are we going to do with the waste?  The US government has spent over 13 BILLION dollars developing Yucca mountain to provide a single, safe, central location for not only reactor wastes but also DOD wastes.  That makes sense.  Use more nuclear reactors for power and build a repository for any wastes generated.

Of course, then came the curveball.  As Waste News reported on March 4,

 The Obama Administration has formally moved to end the national nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

The U.S. Department of Energy filed a motion with prejudice Wednesday with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to withdrawn license applications for the high-level nuclear waste storage facility.

Umm, ok.  Why did the DOE feel this step was necessary?

In its filing with the NRC, the Department of Energy states it no longer feels the underground storage of the waste is viable, and states it “does not intend to ever refile an application to construct a permanent geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain.”

After 13 BILLION dollars we just decided that this wasn’t feasible?  I guess that the science didn’t support the plan.  Of course then I came across this entry at The Foundry which adresses this issue better than I’m prepared to at this point. 

I guess that I’ll just have to spend some more time studying this issue.  Of course, now I’m wondering if the key phrase in the DOE filing might just be “at Yucca Mountain.”  After all, it can’t be as simple as the Senate majority leader whom Obama owes is from Nevada and facing a tough re-election.  Can it?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2010 12:43 pm

    By the way, Michael Fumento has more details on the Yucca Mountain decision.

  2. March 8, 2010 8:32 am

    I see this as an easy way for the administration to support what seems good but block what they don’t like, especially if those two are the same thing. It’s easy to say that you’ll happily float a bunch of new nuke plants in the press, then kill them because they don’t have a way to actually operate.

    Really, how much waste can you encase in glass and… um… turn into church windows? Whatever.

  3. March 7, 2010 10:51 am

    well, it’s not robbing Peter to pay Paul. It’s more like the small business tax breaks that come hand in hand with a permanent small business tax increase in a different bill….it’s still a net negative in the end

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