Australian news, and some related international items

Exposing the dishonest spiel that nuclear waste is “manageable”

Tom Smith, Chair, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, 2017-20.
Samanth Subramanian captures perfectly the vast scale and longevity of the
effort needed to clean up Sellafield (The long read, 15 December).

As Britain and other states with nuclear power industries grapple with how to
go about an effective, safe and economical nuclear clean-up, it might be
better to explain the challenges with less reliance on suggestions that in
its early days the nuclear industry never thought about decommissioning
(though the point has validity).

Instead, we need more honesty about the fact that nuclear power inescapably generates large quantities of hazardous human-made waste, the worst of which will remain hazardous probably beyond
Homo sapiens’ time on the planet.

The industry’s solution to this is a network of deep disposal facilities. But none have yet been created, their
cost is enormous and there is no certainty that they will perform the
long-term task required of them. These are considerations that sadly
receive little attention in current debates about the need for new
nuclear-generation capacity.

Coincidentally, you published a letter (14 December) suggesting that nuclear radiation is less dangerous than
emissions from a wood-burning stove, a curious comparison to make.
Wood-burning stoves are pollutants, no question, but they could never lead
to a Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chornobyl or Fukushima. Nor will
decommissioning them cost billions and take decades.

Guardian 22nd Dec 2022


December 24, 2022 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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