Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Temporary spent nuclear fuel storage isn’t temporary.

It is difficult to believe the nuclear power industry and the federal government are so unethical that they would defer the difficult and dangerous task of spent nuclear fuel disposal to future generations of Americans. The present generation must find a permanent disposal solution.

Temporary spent nuclear fuel storage isn’t temporary  https://www.santafenewmexican.com/opinion/my_view/temporary-spent-nuclear-fuel-storage-isnt-temporary/article_068d44e0-854c-11ec-b25d-a70bff5372b1.htmll By Dennis McQuillan, 13 Feb 22,   The proposal to “store” spent nuclear fuel in New Mexico is a Trojan horse that will defeat the goal of geologically isolating this highly radioactive and chemically toxic material, and create hazards to future generations of Americans.

At face value, the plan is to consolidate up to 10,000 canisters of spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants across the United States, store them in New Mexico for decades or even a century, and transport them to an undetermined permanent disposal facility that the federal government will someday establish.

In reality, after more than six decades of using nuclear power to generate electricity and amassing 90,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel, neither the industry nor the federal government has established a permanent repository for the fuel. Moreover, after Nevada stakeholders rejected the Yucca Mountain site, federal funding and efforts to find another potential spent nuclear fuel repository ended in 2010.

The citizens of New Mexico have every reason to doubt that deposits at the interim storage facility would ever be moved. Even if a future repository is established, there is no guarantee the funding and determination to dig up and relocate 10,000 canisters of spent nuclear fuel would exist at that time.

What is certain is this: Spent nuclear fuel will remain dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years, and the interim storage facility will not provide geologic isolation.

As proposed, the fuel would be buried at depths less than 100 feet in young alluvium in a region with shallow groundwater, land subsidence and sinkholes, amid one of the most prolific oil patches in the nation. By contrast, radioactive waste generated by national defense activities is isolated 2,150 feet underground, in 250-million-year-old salt beds, at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. The proposed interim storage facility is geologically unsuitable even for a period of decades.

It is difficult to believe the nuclear power industry and the federal government are so unethical that they would defer the difficult and dangerous task of spent nuclear fuel disposal to future generations of Americans. The present generation has benefited from electricity generated by nuclear power, and the present generation must find a permanent disposal solution.

New Mexico executive agencies, Attorney General Hector Balderas, state Sen. Jeff Steinborn, Reps. Matthew McQueen, Tara Lujan and other state legislators, are working to stop this geologically unsound, dangerous, unethical and disingenuous proposal to “store” spent nuclear fuel in New Mexico. But federal action is necessary. Congress urgently needs to give the federal government a statutory directive, and funding, to complete the mission of finding a permanent repository for the geologic isolation of spent nuclear fuel. Dennis McQuillan is the former chief scientist of the New Mexico Environment Department and lives in Santa Fe.

February 14, 2022 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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