It's the Environment, Stupid.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Scientists give nuclear waste transport the green light

Now that nuclear power has been chosen as the 'clean' power for our future, scientists have recently concluded it is officially 'safe' to transport nuclear waste. (ENN 2/10/06)

Of course details such as times and routes would be kept top secret, and the panel suggested transport by rail would be preferable over truck (also, reportedly a preference of the energy dept.) I wonder how many rail stations there are at Yucca mountain right now? In any case, when Yucca mountain opens (anticipated date right now is 2015) it'll be the first 'safe' nuclear waste 'disposal' site (read: holding tank) in the world. So it is a very good thing we've got this transportation thing figured out now to avoid further delays in the future.

"The Energy Department is preparing a transportation plan to ship some 70,000 tons of nuclear waste from around the country to a proposed central repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, if the facility gets a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission." (If they get a license?) "The department said that would require 4,300 shipments -- about three-fourths by rail and the rest over highways -- over 24 years. Nevada officials, who strongly oppose the Yucca project, have said there could be as many as 50,000 shipments with wastes going through at least 43 states."

And that's only the existing waste. What about the waste from all the new nuclear plants we're going to build? I'd like a number crunching person to add up the costs of this 24 year nuclear waste transportation plan (all at however much the 2005 dollar is worth) + the cost of building 20 new nuclear power plants (with some kind of alternative calculation of anticipated cost overruns) + transport costs for all that waste + operating costs of all the plants. And just for fun there should be an alternative calculation that factors in the costs of just one leak during that 24 year span, where, say, 10,000 people are exposed to radiation (you pick whether its as a result of transportation or near a plant.) What do you think? Will nuclear power will come in under other power sources?

Congress has been asked for a measly $544 million to build Yucca mountain. How can they refuse? The American people are on board with nuclear power, there's none of that nasty climate changing CO2 to deal with. Seems like a win-win situation. With Yucca Mountain taken care of nuclear can plow full steam into the future on a clear conscience. Looks like the only thing standing in the way now is Nevada. Wonder when elections for Sen. Harry Reid's seat come up for re-election...

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