The reality is that no matter what solution is
offered, it will never be good enough for the opponents of nuclear
The so-called "problem of used fuel" is just
one of the tactics of the anti-nukes in achieving their goal of
nuclear phase out.
When we finally recognize this, we ought
to stop playing this fool's game.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, July 21, 2004 1:37
Subject: [cdn-nucl-l] Yucca Mountain
debate needs dose of reality
Posted in the TriCity Herald on July 21, 2004 and at:
Mountain debate needs dose of reality
This story was published Wednesday,
July 21st, 2004
What's missing from the latest debate over Yucca
Mountain is reality.
Opponents of the plan to build a nuclear waste
repository in Nevada are
demanding an all-or-nothing answer.
is, they either will accept a perfect plan or no plan.
That might be
an appropriate approach if Yucca were a referendum on whether
States should be producing nuclear waste.
But it is not. That choice
was made long ago, during the frenzy of trying to
win World War II. Now the
nation has nuclear waste scattered across 39
states, where it sits in
relatively vulnerable conditions -- such as
single-shell tanks at Hanford
-- waiting for a safer place to go.
That place is Yucca. It is the
government's best attempt to plan for safe
says "best." Not "perfect."
The difference between the two is apparent
in the disagreement over
establishing radiation protection standards for
An appeals court ruled this month that a 10,000-year
prediction of safety is
The U.S. Court of Appeals for
the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that
the feds must follow the lead
of the National Academy of Sciences. That's a
direction that could push the
radiation protection standard as high as a
that some of the waste will be reaching its most dangerous state
10,000 years. But consider, for a moment, just how long 10,000 years
That's the recorded history of man with an extra 4,000 years thrown in
Predicting even out that far seems a questionable feat,
given the number of
unknowns. The chance that scientists would de-velop new
treating or using nuclear waste before then is as likely as
Extending that look to as many as a million years is a
fool's errand. But
opponents are insisting on the longer window, which
could effectively kill
In typical full-speed-ahead
Department of Energy fashion, Deputy Secretary
Kyle McSlarrow told Congress
last week that Yucca won't be slowed by the
there is no reason why the department cannot file the project
with the 10,000-year standard now, then update it later if
Environmental Protection Agency re-quires the million-year standard.
Still, there is the little matter of the law cited by the court
requires EPA to follow the recommendations of the National Academy.
a reversal of the court's decision, Congress will need to change
the law to
keep the project on track.
There is no perfect solution
to storing nuclear waste. But there is a good
one, and that's Yucca
Mountain in Nevada. Lawmakers cannot allow the perfect
to become the enemy