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[P]
Nuclear Waste....Get Rid of It Already!

By madgeo in Op-Ed
Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 10:41:53 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The U.S. Congress approved the Yucca Mountain Nuclear repository on July 10, 2002. This starts to end a very long fight over where nuclear waste should be stored in the U.S.


The Yucca Mountain repository is composed of tunnels turned storage vaults roughly 1200 feet below the surface. The mountain above the storage is an old volcanic ridge roughly 100 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada.

It does seem rather federalist to force the "poor" state of Nevada to accept the nuclear waste of an entire country, but let us count the reasons why this is a good idea.

1. Its one of the driest areas in the U.S therefore the impact to groundwater (which is estimated to be over a 1,000 feet below) is seriously minimized should the waste leak out. Not many places in the U.S. have that depth to groundwater, plus 1200 feet of mountain over them.

2. The State of Nevada has been fairly seriously nuked over its history, being a nuclear test site and all. Nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain will be more controlled than some of the surficial nuclear residue from the nearby historical nuclear test site.

3. The waste is currently piling up around the country at each of the nuclear facilities. For an idea of where and how many facilities there are check out this map.

4. There is approximately 160 million people living within 75 miles of nuclear waste at the moment.

5. Security. Its arguably easy to "disappear" waste from the current temporary storage facilities all over the U.S. It would be challenging for terrorists to grab a truck of Nuclear Waste going to Yucca Mountain. The trucks of waste would be actively guarded and watched all the way across the country.

6. The State of Nevada is relatively sparsely populated as compared to most of the temporary storage facilities.

The State of Nevada should have done the smart thing and just charged some very nasty fees for storage of the waste in their borders. They probably could have funded the whole state with the money plus had money left over to give back to the citizens for their "trouble". Similar to the money paid to Alaskans from the Oil Pipeline.

Nuclear reactors are here to stay, and ironically are one piece of the puzzle to reduce hydrocarbon emissions.

Let the damn nuclear waste be buried already.

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Poll
Should Nevada be forced to take the U.S. nuclear waste?
o Yes 57%
o No 42%

Votes: 73
Results | Other Polls

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Nuclear Waste....Get Rid of It Already! | 107 comments (98 topical, 9 editorial, 1 hidden)
Why Nevada won't go quietly (1.00 / 2) (#2)
by mingofmongo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 05:33:12 PM EST

The state is already funded, and quite nicely, by gambling. The average gambler is not the sharpest tack in the drawer, as you can see by the lack of math skill it takes to think you can win.

The people who make all the money in Nevada, make it by convincing these mental deficients to come to Vegas from all over the country. This will be harder to do if said morons get it into their little pinheads that there is radioactive waste somewhere in that giant state.

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion

Not a problem (3.50 / 2) (#7)
by thenick on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 05:59:16 PM EST

In the 1950's, people in Vegas would watch the Nuclear tests from the Strip, so I doubt that nuclear waste buried in a mountain is going to stop gamblers from visiting. Where else are they going to go, Atlantic City?

 
"Doing stuff is overrated. Like Hitler, he did a lot, but don't we all wish he would have stayed home and gotten stoned?" -Dex
[ Parent ]

Reno, The FUN capital of the world [nt] (1.00 / 1) (#11)
by Bob Dog on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:05:37 PM EST



[ Parent ]
I thought (none / 0) (#90)
by Verminator on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:43:30 PM EST

It was the biggest little city in the world. I suppose it could be both, but a town really shouldn't have two catchphrases.

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to misery, misery links to Satanosphere.
[ Parent ]

They didn't know it was bad then (none / 0) (#99)
by mingofmongo on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:54:15 PM EST


"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion
[ Parent ]

100+ miles from Vegas (none / 0) (#53)
by demi on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 09:18:44 PM EST

Heh, there's an active nuclear power plant in Calvert Cliffs, MD, which is a stone's throw (~50 miles) from Baltimore and Washington, DC. What is that (less active) radioactive waste going to do, jump up out of the earth and attack?

[ Parent ]
leak into the groundwater table (none / 0) (#57)
by aphrael on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 11:14:27 PM EST

and poison everyone. a thousand years from now.

[ Parent ]
ok (none / 0) (#78)
by BLU ICE on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:09:35 PM EST


leak into the groundwater table and poison everyone.

Solid waste. Inside a thick metal container. Inside another double-walled container. 1000 feet above the groundwater. In a test area where they exploded shitloads of nukes anyway. Many miles from any town. How exactly does that poison everyone?

a thousand years from now.

Thinking it will poison everyone 1000 years from know shows the misinformation you have recieved. The radioactivity of nuclear waste drops to that of uranium ore in 500 years! Uranium ore is just slightly radioactive. It is so safe that they make fiestaware plates out of it.

Nuclear power is a good energy source. Take a look at the new pebble bed technology: Graphite encased balls of uranium are stacked in a cylinder. Helium coolant is passed through it, which provides the power to run the boilers. The helium coolant also makes it utterly impossible for the reactor to melt down. The fuel pellets remain intact for 1,000,000 years, so your radioactive waste problem is completely solved. Did I mention that this costs even less than power from coal?

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

point-counterpoint (none / 0) (#85)
by aphrael on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:14:29 PM EST

Hey, I didn't say I believed it, did I? :) I was just answering the question 'what are the people who are complainign worried about'; understanding what they are worried about doesn't imply agreeing with their fears.

Some points:

Solid waste. Inside a thick metal container.

Exactly the way the stuff was stored in Washington state, but is now leaking all over the place. Sure, maybe things are better in Yucca mountain, but I'd want to be damn sure before I signed off on something like that moving in next door to me.

The radioactivity of nuclear waste drops to that of uranium ore in 500 years! Uranium ore is just slightly radioactive. It is so safe that they make fiestaware plates out of it.

Sure. But not all of the waste they're talking about is uranium, and it's not necessarily only the radioactivity that would worry potential neighbors --- things can be poisonous without being radioactive.

[ Parent ]

I live not too far from hanford. (none / 0) (#89)
by BLU ICE on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:12:19 PM EST

I'm from Yakima, about 30 miles away from hanford as the crow flies. (I don't work for hanford, though) I have gone boating in the Columbia river right next to Hanford many times. The amount of radiation in the contaminated there is completely inconsequential. It is on the order of picocuries. Like the amount of radiation you get from standing a fraction of a second in the sun. The Hanford area is even a rich undisturbed desert wildlife habitat, probably the best in Washington State.

Sure. But not all of the waste they're talking about is uranium.

Not all of the waste is uranium, yes. But my 500 year figure includes all materials in the waste. If the waste was only uranium, then the radiation would be inconsequential from day 1.

and it's not necessarily only the radioactivity that would worry potential neighbors --- things can be poisonous without being radioactive

Very true. The uranium is a heavy metal, and therefore toxic, just like lead and mercury. But there's millions of tons of lead and mercury just sitting around anyway, that isn't in thick containers 1000 feet underground.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

Why (4.00 / 3) (#3)
by roam on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 05:48:18 PM EST

can't we just build a big rocket and shoot it into the sun? I mean, once you get it out of our gravitational pull, it'll keep moving in the direction it's headed, then be sucked in by the suns pull, so you won't need a lot of firepower. I don't think a little nuclear waste would hurt the sun.

___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


I hope you're not serious (3.50 / 2) (#6)
by Bob Dog on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 05:57:25 PM EST

But in case you are, does the Challenger or Ariane accidents mean anything to you?

[ Parent ]
Furthermore... (3.50 / 2) (#8)
by Danse on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:00:22 PM EST

Do you have any idea how many rockets would be needed to send all our nuclear waste into space?






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
space elevator? (3.00 / 1) (#30)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:22:20 PM EST

that would solve that little "explosion" problem. Besides, it would be hella cool.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Yes, But... (none / 0) (#69)
by virg on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:12:33 AM EST

It would solve problems with explosive failure of the launch vehicle, but you can't assume that a space elevator will never fail, so failure to achieve escape vector is still an issue. Also, even if the assembly cost was feasible, with current technology it would still be prohibitively expensive to lift that much mass out of the gravity well. Also, there's the very real possibilty that we'll want this stuff years down the line (what if one of the components of nuclear waste turns out to be the dilithium of next century?), and if we dump it into the Sun, it's gone forever.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
tongue in cheek (none / 0) (#73)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:39:13 PM EST

I'm not entirely serious, just musing about the idea. Still, if it were affordable to build, then we must assume that getting out of the gravity well would be a trivial matter. We would have to assume that the thing would work, and the advantage of space elevators is that it conceivably lowers the cost of individual launches.

I'm not so concerned about keeping the products of nuclear waste. If we found a use for it, making it would become an industry. What we have now is probably only a pittance in comparison to how much we could expect to be manufactured. Power plants would have an incentive to be inefficient about their waste creation.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Here's why not: (5.00 / 3) (#9)
by Anonymous Commando on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:03:16 PM EST

OK, here's my short, ad-hoc list of reasons not to shoot rockets full of nuclear waste into the sun:
  • Rockets occasionally blow up (oops, radioactive materials scattered over a large area)
  • Rockets occasionally don't make it as high as they're supposed to (oops, re-entry, where it's gonna land nobody knows)
  • Launch cost is usually based on weight (oops, nuclear waste is not "lightweight")
  • It costs an obscene amount of money to lift something into orbit (oops, we want to get beyond the gravity well)
  • It costs an even more obscene amount of money to lift something out of the Earth's gravity well (oops, we're broke)
Please feel free to add, anyone else.
Corporate Jenga™: You take a blockhead from the bottom and you put him on top...
[ Parent ]
One more (3.00 / 2) (#24)
by Boronx on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:59:54 PM EST

The ammount of nuclear waste far outstrips our capacity to launch it into the Sun. If you throw in waste from weapons production, there's probably millions of tons worth.
Subspace
[ Parent ]
Cost in addition to danger.... (4.33 / 3) (#14)
by madgeo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:20:16 PM EST

Satelites cost upwards of $50,000 per kilogram to launch or so I'm told. Yucca will hold 77,000 tons of waste. Do the math.

Plus as stated before, rockets go BANG occasionally.

[ Parent ]

My physics teacher once suggested ... (2.66 / 3) (#23)
by hesk on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:58:36 PM EST

... that it would be dangerous to shoot the nuclear waste into the sun, because it would mess up the nuclear reactions going on there.

I didn't see her around in the next year though.

[ Parent ]

highly unlikely (none / 0) (#54)
by demi on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 09:27:04 PM EST

As I am sure you guessed, the total amount of depleted fission fuel currently on Earth would not make any difference in the fusion-hot surface temperature of the Sun. Considering that the Sun accretes an estimated 0.1 Lunar mass every century, a few billion tonnes of low-grade radioactive waste would make no difference.

[ Parent ]
Political suicide (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by greydmiyu on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:00:10 PM EST

Ok, aside from the other items listed in response there's also the political factor to consider.  Do you recall at all the stink that the Cassini launch caused?  That was just for a relatively small amount of radioactive material used for power and heat.  There is absolutely no way the general public would allow large amounts of radioactive material to be launched into space on a regular schedule that is on the order of several magnitudes larger than what was present on Cassini.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
We may want it back. (4.00 / 3) (#26)
by Bad Harmony on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:00:18 PM EST

At some date in the future, we may decide to reprocess the waste to extract valuable materials. You can't reprocess the waste if it is sent off planet.

54º40' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

Good point (none / 0) (#80)
by BLU ICE on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:34:08 PM EST

At some date in the future, we may decide to reprocess the waste to extract valuable materials.

I bet 100 years in the future or somthing, we may decide to dig up Yucca mountain for cheap fuel, putting the (mostly) uranium waste into breeder reactors.

On a side note: Thorium, a common radioactive metal found in such things as camping lantern mantles, can be put in a special breeder reactor and converted into very fissionable U-233. Thorium is three times as common as uranium, so energy from such a plentiful fuel is very attractive. The East Indians already have a small test thorium breeder reactor.

Also: Regular uranium breeder reactors.

One of the main costs of nuclear energy production currently is getting the fuel. Uranium, a metal that is cheaper than silver, is mined out of the ground. Now, over 99% of naturally occuring uranium is U-238, a non-fissionable isotope worthless as a fuel. Only a fraction of 1% is U-235, a fissionable isotope. To make a fissionable fuel, you have to increase the U-235 content to around 5%.

So they have to seperate two isotopes of the same element, which is difficult. A common way of doing this is to vapourize the uranium, and enlessly use centrifuges to increase the U-235 concentrations.

However, there is a better way: If you have a reactor core surrounded by U-238, neutrons from the   reactor core can transmute it to Plutonium-239! However, only fast neutrons can jostle the uranium enough to turn it into Pu-239. So fast breeders have no boron rods to slow the neutrons, as in ordinary reactors. Paradoxily, fast neutrons aren't very good at sustaining a nuclear reaction. So, to keep the reaction going, you need a high concentration of U-235, around 15-30%. However, the plutonium produced in these fast breeder reactors can be used to fuel them, thereby eliminating the need to use expensive concentrated U-235 fuel. Fast breeders usualy use liquid sodium or water as a coolant.

The french already have had a large liquid sodium fast breeder in service since 1984. It's the Super-Phenix
, a reactor that produces 20% more fuel than it uses.(That link also has other info on fast breeders) The French hope to build even more breeder reactors.

If regular reactors were replaced by breeder reactors, the need to mine uranium would be almost non-existent.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

partly wrong (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by macpeep on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:54:33 AM EST

I've thought about the same thing but your theory on space flight is faulty. A rocket launched from earth has relative velocity in relation to the sun. For example, if you just, hypothetically, launch something to the same distance as the moon but on the opposite side from the moon, the earth's gravity will be very low and you need very little thrust to move about in relation to the earth. However, at this stage, you are, just like the earth, in an orbit around the sun. It's all about relative velocities.

You don't get "sucked into the sun" any more than the moon gets sucked into the earth. You will stay there, orbiting the sun and slowly drifting away from earth (provided that you gave some minor thrust away from the earth). If you thrust slightly towards the sun, you will change your oribit around the sun slightly but you will not get sucked in.

In order to fly into the sun you would have to decrease your prograde (in the direction of the orbit or "forward") velocity. This will cause the orbit to be lowered on the other side of the orbit. In other words, half an orbit later, you will be a lot closer to the sun. By slowing down enough, you will eventually fly into the sun. However, there's no suckage...

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert on this topic so if someone is, please verify that I didn't make any fatal flaws..

[ Parent ]

You can't easily reach the sun (none / 0) (#81)
by isdnip on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:43:39 PM EST

This is counterintuitive, but it was discussed previously elsewhere on the net, so I think I know the issue.

You can't easily send a rocket to the sun.  Earth's orbital momentum means that a rocket leaving Earth would be stuck in orbit, unless it had a whole heap of velocity.  It takes considerable energy to leave orbit, even "downwards".  It's easier to go outwards, towards Mars.

But in any case, space flights fail too often to risk carrying such hazardous cargo.

[ Parent ]

300 meters isn't much (3.50 / 2) (#5)
by Bob Dog on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 05:54:00 PM EST

Round where I live nuclear waste is stored at about 800 meters below the earth surface.  So your first point is not that great.

England? (none / 0) (#15)
by madgeo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:24:43 PM EST

Just curious which country?

[ Parent ]
Sweden [nt] (none / 0) (#36)
by Bob Dog on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:49:35 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Interesting. (none / 0) (#40)
by madgeo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:04:47 PM EST

Is all your nuke waste in one locale?

[ Parent ]
No (none / 0) (#51)
by Bob Dog on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:59:19 PM EST

And the final destination haven't been decided yet.  Right now it's stored in various places not intended for such use.  It's the same kind of fighting that's going on in the US.

[ Parent ]
What is the difference? (none / 0) (#52)
by demi on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 09:12:17 PM EST

Since the facility will be presumably tens or hundreds of miles away from any city, what scientific difference does 800m versus 300m make? In terms of the proximity to deep groundwater, perhaps the 800m depth is more hazardous if anything.

[ Parent ]
Interesting... (4.00 / 3) (#12)
by Danse on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:06:21 PM EST

I was watching CSPAN last night and the senators from Nevada were arguing against the bill that would allow the waste to be shipped to Nevada, whether they want it or not. They were throwing out every argument they had. Most could be shot down pretty easily. I've done some more reading about it today, and in the end, there's probably not a better choice right now. I did read somewhere that the government was originally planning to pay fees to a state to take the waste. Since Nevada seems to be the only option left, they apparently decided to forget about paying anything and just force them to take it. Not sure how accurate that is, but it sucks if it's true.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
That's really the crux of the matter. (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by aphrael on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:13:00 PM EST

Nevada is the best choice available. It's the location that would have an impact on the smallest number of people. Sure, it sucks for the people who live there --- and sure, they should be paid. But it's not like there are any better options.

[ Parent ]
looking at that map (none / 0) (#44)
by rhyax on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:36:33 PM EST

looking at that map, it really sucks since NV doesn't even have any reactors...

[ Parent ]
Coincidentally.... (4.00 / 2) (#18)
by NFW on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:49:31 PM EST

I did a diary entry about Yucca this morning... According to the congresscritters on the radio yesterday, there's actually two projects in the works, one good and one bad.


--
Got birds?


Yup, (none / 0) (#20)
by madgeo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:52:05 PM EST

those nook-yoo-ler waste dumps are pretty frightening, as are the politicians....

[ Parent ]
Why a central repository is bad... (3.33 / 3) (#22)
by CtrlBR on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:57:51 PM EST

Because it's all too easy for a terrorist to attack the nuclear waste transport trucks. They are quite accident proof (they are crash tested at a speed unlikely to be reached by the truck) but absolutely not anti-tank missile proof. Something like a Milan can easily defeat the armor used. If there is enough wind a huge zone could be contaminated for centuries, and if in an urban area during the attack cancer victims would be numerous a few years after...

I'm not pulling that out of my ass, by directly from a Nevada State document.

If no-one thinks you're a freedom fighter than you're probably not a terrorist.
-- Gully Foyle

Hmmm. (5.00 / 3) (#27)
by madgeo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:08:53 PM EST

Well if they got a Milan, they can use it on a stationary target like a temporary nuclear storage facility in the middle of a population center just as easily. Or drop a jumbo jet into the temporary storage facility, which was a very real concern around Sept 11.

Two days of truck driving time risk versus years worth of risk.

I'll take the armored truck, thanks.

[ Parent ]

the myth of contamination (5.00 / 2) (#29)
by Work on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:13:43 PM EST

believe it or not, you can clean it up. Its expensive as hell, but you can do it. Back in the early 70s an athena test ballistic rocket which had radioactive material onboard crashed into mexico...govt went and dug up the dirt, disposed of it, gave the nearby village a new school and road for the trouble.

Expensive, yes. Contaminated for centuries? No.

[ Parent ]

Waste (4.75 / 4) (#28)
by Boronx on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:09:15 PM EST

One other point for Yucca is very low geologic activity.

In designing the site, they have to try to keep people out of it for about 100,000 years while assuming that the U.S. government survives only 100 more years. Current facilities aren't up for that sort of job.
Subspace

Weak Reasoning (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by juliusseizure on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:24:21 PM EST

The gist of the article is to justify the selection of Yucca Mountain, Nevada as a nuke burial site. If that is the case, then points 2, 3, 4 & 5 don't really make  one.

2 -> It assumes that just because we have the nuked Nevada all along, lets nuke them some more, albeit in a slightly more controlled fashion. (Where is the case for Yucca Mountain, over any other site??)

3 -> The author is simply stating a fact, which has no bearing over the selection of Yucca Mountain or Nevada for that matter as a nuke burial site.

4 -> Sure, there are a lot of people living around nuclear waste, but why should Yucca Mountain/Nevada have to bell the cat??? Why not Alaska?? or other sparsely populated locations?

5 -> May be more secure from temp sites, but why is Yucca Mountain more secure compared to other locations considered for permanent disposal sites? (Not a point making the case for Yucca Mountain. Could be used when arguing for a permanent nuke burial site.)

I think the story is interesting and will generate good debate, but the author's reasoning leaves much desired. He needs to get more meat which will bolster the case for selecting Yucca Mountain.

Cheers!
JS


becouse (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by nodsmasher on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:48:36 PM EST

2->already is radiation there, really can't complain about the additional minuscule amounts of radiation this will ad
3->decentralization is bad, because it is very hard to guard that many places
4->see #1
5-> any permanent site would be more secure but this is not near ground water so it can't contaminate drinking water, and is not near many people
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Most people don't realise just how funny cannibalism can actually be.
-Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
You point that (none / 0) (#39)
by juliusseizure on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:03:25 PM EST

 points 4, 5, and 1 are all the same. They could be condensed.

JS

[ Parent ]

not quite (none / 0) (#58)
by nodsmasher on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 11:53:54 PM EST

you were saying in your questions about 4 & 5 but why Nevada, #1 answers that
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Most people don't realise just how funny cannibalism can actually be.
-Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
Alaska (4.50 / 2) (#35)
by SDrifter on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:49:06 PM EST

why should Yucca Mountain/Nevada have to bell the cat??? Why not Alaska??
Because Canada is in the way. I don't think they'd take too kindly to us shipping radioactive waste through their borders.
--
It burns!!!
It's loaded with wasabi!
[ Parent ]
Weak this..... (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by madgeo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:50:35 PM EST

2. Simple, there is no other site, much less one that was previously nuked unless your proposing Kwajelain Atoll in the South Pacific. Not a bad idea, except it would be under water and have to be transported across teh Pacific after crossing the country. Actually they did look at other sites and Yucca was selected as I recall.

3. Yep, I stated a fact. Has bearing in that it is important to get the waste OUT of the other numerous temporary sites.

4. Simple. Geography. Look at where the heck Alaska is. Can't get much more desolate than Nevada... and relatively centrally located in the U.S. lower 48 states.

5. See 2.



[ Parent ]

Clarifications (2.00 / 1) (#42)
by juliusseizure on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:14:03 PM EST

2. I feel it would be better if you stated how it is advantageous to use Nevada (a previously nuked site) as opposed to some place, and corroborate it with facts. As  you have stated, that other places were considered, you could add a link to some relevant report.

"unless your proposing Kwajelain Atoll in the South Pacific. Not a bad idea, except it would be under water and have to be transported across teh Pacific after crossing the country."

With regards to this statement, I just want to add, I did neither explicitly propose, nor imply the above. You have chosen to interpret something and provided an argument against it. In my view, this was unnecessary in the discussion.

4. I want to imply any other remote site. If other sites have been considered, I think it would be great, if you would add a link to the pertinent report.

I hope this is taken constructively,  and my intention is not to criticize as an end in itself.

Cheers!
JS

[ Parent ]

I'm.... (none / 0) (#45)
by madgeo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:39:11 PM EST

just excitable today <grin>

Here's some info of the previous sites:

"Centralized repository site selection.

Originally, DOE selected nine locations in six states that met its criteria for consideration as potential repository sites. Following preliminary technical studies and environmental assessments of five sites, DOE chose three sites in 1986 for intensive scientific study: Yucca Mountain, Nev.; Deaf Smith County, Texas; and Hanford, Wash. After extensive environmental assessments of all three sites, Congress, in its 1987 amendments to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, eliminated two of the three sites from further consideration and designated Yucca Mountain as the site to be studied."

Heres where that came from:

http://www.nei.org/doc.asp?catnum=2&catid=63

[ Parent ]

Have you ever heard of Amchitka (none / 0) (#83)
by Chiascuro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:36:46 PM EST

Somewhere in the Aleutians if I recall from reading snowcrash. Apparently they conducted a test there in 1971. It wouldn't make a good storage site being an island and all but ironic that the suggestion of Alaska did actually have a nuke test.

[ Parent ]
Poison Pill (4.00 / 4) (#33)
by frankcrist on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:29:56 PM EST

I'm all for using nuclear energy.  Gasolene is dangerous if improperly used, and we're definitely not going to be able to use fossil fules when we start going into space for real.

But have we learned anything from the pollution by-products of burning oil?  The senators from Nevada should concede the storage, but should add a poison-pill to the ruling, something along the lines of: for every dollar the gov't spends storing the stuff in NV, they must spend an equal dollar devising ways not to produce the stuff in the first place.

--x--x--x--x--x--
Get your war on!

wasted dough (none / 0) (#55)
by mpalczew on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 10:04:19 PM EST

>The senators from Nevada should concede the storage, but should add a poison-pill to the ruling, something along the lines of: for every dollar the gov't spends storing the stuff in NV, they must spend an equal dollar devising ways not to produce the stuff in the first place.

All that would do is line people's pockets that sit in a comitee doing nothing, claiming they are "devising ways"
-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]

DMV (none / 0) (#63)
by godix on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:21:18 AM EST

Whenever I hear someone propose that the government be given money I have a simple question. Do you really want the same people who run the oh so effective DMV, INS, Border patrol, and war of drugs to do this?

[ Parent ]
TEST SITE! (3.66 / 3) (#41)
by bjlhct on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:06:05 PM EST

We'd send it to space (it would be cheaper) but rockets explode.

Send it back to the test site, where it can be with its brothers and sisters. If you gotta have a national sacrifice zone, you sure as hell want to make it as small as possible. Guess why it's Yucca Mtn: Some air force general didn't want it around and told someone to get rid of it.

Who cares about him?

I'd say maybe we should be researching reprocessing. You know, this stuff is only waste, not fuel, because of a small (%-wise) amount of other stuff built up that blocks neutrons. And somebody, I think, has come up with a new process that doesn't make the toxic byproducts. But it's a few years off, and it's not like the governemnt cares. Oh, and the plants are expensive and NIMBY's too.

Of course, the politicians are being dumbasses as usual. Somebody send a high school debate squad up there to show 'em how it's done.

Endlesss...stupidity...
I gotta move to Switzerland, get out of this place, or I'll be suffocated!
"Sometimes a cheroot is just a cheroot." -Jung, in Pilgrim

Oversimplification (none / 0) (#61)
by Armaphine on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:06:26 AM EST

Guess why it's Yucca Mtn: Some air force general didn't want it around and told someone to get rid of it.

If only this were just the decision of some Air Force general... nuclear waste, having a VERY high scare factor amongst the population, is not goin to be decided by a general in any branch. If his opinion on the subject is respected, then maybe he will be listened to, but generally, Congress tells the generals what to do, not the other way around.

Question authority. Don't ask why, just do it.
[ Parent ]

I Wish. (5.00 / 1) (#102)
by bjlhct on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 12:13:28 AM EST

Well, it was moved from one military-controlled area to another, at a point when nobody seemed to notice. That's where it is now, and people who want to get rid of it don't want to change the site because the process is already going along and the whole deal is fragile.

And it's obvious anyway, that, like I said, the Test Site is ALREADY a national sacrifice area. Why make another one?

And I'd link to the article but it requires registration.
"Sometimes a cheroot is just a cheroot." -Jung, in Pilgrim
[ Parent ]

Did you read that National Geographic-article? (4.33 / 3) (#43)
by Puzzle on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:36:08 PM EST

I guess you did, otherwise, this thread would probably not come up...
I feel it was quite well-written, as it talked a lot about radioactivity and the history if nuclear technology.

Anyway, burying the waste deep down in a mountain is only a temporary solution, even if it works for a great number of years. One day it will resurface. Let's hope that it's a long time before that happens, and that the radioactivity has diminished when it happens.

(By the way, try reversing the two letters in the word 'nuclear'...)



Actually I didn't see that article.... (4.00 / 1) (#47)
by madgeo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:44:10 PM EST

but I read a lot of enviro crap due to work. This was in response to yesterdays news on Yucca (of course you may be being ironic).

Are you proposing I was unclear.....<grin>



[ Parent ]

Go see it, then. :-) (none / 0) (#93)
by Puzzle on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 08:44:27 AM EST

Pick up the latest National Geographic-magazine.

It's one of the few articles in the mag that I actually like to read. I tend to skip most of the nature-stuff...

And no, you weren't unclear. :-)



[ Parent ]
There ought to be a Czar. . . (1.50 / 2) (#46)
by IHCOYC on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:41:22 PM EST

. . . or some other plenipotentiary authority with the power to command where nuclear waste dumps, and other needed public works that excite the NIMBYs.

Once the Czar has decided, that decision stands. There is no "process;" the Czar need not publish notices in the newspaper, need not consult with anyone, nor is she obliged to conduct any hearings. She may do so, of course, in whatever manner she sees fit, and may accept or disregard the findings of any experts.

There is no appeal. Courts have no jurisdiction to stay the project. Homeowners who sue are jailed until the lawsuit is automatically dismissed without trial or hearing. The lawyer who writes it is disbarred for life.

This is the only way I can figure to prevent these sorts of project from becoming the focus of endless controversy and FUD, most of which is stirred up by soi-disant activists for the explicit purpose of delay. An institution like this is urgently needed in the USA.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy

Funny.... (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by madgeo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:48:46 PM EST

weren't the czars replaced with communism <grin>.

[ Parent ]
I'm fine with that... (5.00 / 2) (#49)
by ShadowNode on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:51:37 PM EST

As long as I get to be the Czar. I'll order everything into your back yard.

[ Parent ]
Gee, how supportive of the democratic process (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by revscat on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 10:09:13 PM EST

That's what we need: a totalitarian bureaucrat with the power of eminent domain and who is completely removed from any and all oversight. Oh, and to top it off we'll remove the ability for people to redress any harm that may have been caused unjustly to them. After all, just about every lawsuit is frivolous anyway. What a brilliant idea.



- Rev.
Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.
[ Parent ]
That's it, exactly. (none / 0) (#59)
by IHCOYC on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:11:08 AM EST

That's what we need: a totalitarian bureaucrat with the power of eminent domain and who is completely removed from any and all oversight. Oh, and to top it off we'll remove the ability for people to redress any harm that may have been caused unjustly to them.
Let's face it, nobody wants needed public works like nuclear waste dumps. With all the "process" that goes into decision-making, it becomes a question of money and political clout as to who gets saddled with them and who can turn them away. This may be more "democratic" in some attenuated sense, but I wonder whether it is actually fair.

The totalitarian bureaucrat of my modest proposal may not be more democratic. As proposed, she has no obligation to be responsive to any constituency. On the other hand, she has the ability to treat everyone equally: something the system with lawyers and "process" fails dismally at. And, she can get needed public works done, another conspicuous failure of the glorious democratic process.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy
[ Parent ]

Still A Problem (none / 0) (#67)
by virg on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:29:36 AM EST

> Let's face it, nobody wants needed public works like nuclear waste dumps. With all the "process" that goes into decision-making, it becomes a question of money and political clout as to who gets saddled with them and who can turn them away. This may be more "democratic" in some attenuated sense, but I wonder whether it is actually fair.

But if one person has eminent domain without recourse, how does this change?

> As proposed, she has no obligation to be responsive to any constituency. On the other hand, she has the ability to treat everyone equally: something the system with lawyers and "process" fails dismally at.

The ability, but not any requirement. Who is to say that she won't abuse the power? Without any checks or balances, what would prevent her from taking bids and going with the one that paid her the most? Again, how would that differ from what we have now, other than the inability to seek redress in the case of a particularly badly executed plan?

> And, she can get needed public works done, another conspicuous failure of the glorious democratic process.

I think this very story is disproof positive of this point.

Your answer changes nothing about the process, and adds to the downside by removing accountability after the fact. Sorry, rejected.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
(Corrupt + Efficient) > (Corrupt - Efficient) (none / 0) (#95)
by IHCOYC on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 10:40:39 AM EST

Obviously, much resides in the probity and trustworthiness of the Czar. It is true that a corruptible Czar could be swayed by bribes or put decisions up for sale.

In that case, the Czar is just an open and public version of the current bureaucratic decision-making process, which too can be swayed by money, laywering, and politicking, but which takes much, much longer. The chief claim to fairness of the current system seems to me to be that it generates delay and uncertainty as to how much you need to spend, and on whom, before you purchase a decision in your favour; this strikes me as a slight advantage. Even a corrupt Czar works better than not having one.

My understanding is that plans for a nuclear dump have been kicked around for nigh unto thirty years now. It's been urgently needed, but till now impossible to begin, mostly because nobody wants to be anywhere near this thing. This is mostly the consequence of the anti-nuclear FUD that we've been awash in since the Seventies. As a result, we've been slow to adopt what is actually the most environmentally friendly power source.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy
[ Parent ]

Further Discussions (none / 0) (#96)
by virg on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:04:15 AM EST

> In that case, the Czar is just an open and public version of the current bureaucratic decision-making process, which too can be swayed by money, laywering, and politicking, but which takes much, much longer.

It's also arguable that it's harder to do, because convincing one person of a point is easier than convincing 100, be it by money or strength of argument. Also, how do you figure your Czar is "open"? Without oversight or accountability, what impetus is there for openness? What keeps your Czar from saying, "I choose A because B" when she really chose A because of C? Or, what if she just says, "none of your business"?

> Even a corrupt Czar works better than not having one.

False dichotomy. Given only those two choices, yours is better. That does not mean, however, that yours is the best choice, only that it's (in the short term) better than what's there now. Moreover, it's not "better enough" to warrant the effort to establish it. Hence my rejection.

> My understanding is that plans for a nuclear dump have been kicked around for nigh unto thirty years now. It's been urgently needed, but till now impossible to begin, mostly because nobody wants to be anywhere near this thing.

I disagree with your concept of "urgently needed". Needing nuclear waste dumps is not the same as needing a single, centralized nuclear waste dump, which I'm still not sure we need. It seems better than distributed storage, but only time will tell.

>As a result, we've been slow to adopt what is actually the most environmentally friendly power source.

Again I find I must disagree, at least so far as to say that I don't think all of the anti-nuclear sentiment is necessarily FUD, and I'm still not convinced that nuclear power (as we use it today) is the most environmentally friendly power source. It's better than burning fossil fuels but I'm not sure it's better than things like geothermal or even, in some cases, hydroelectric power.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Nevada shall be King. (3.00 / 2) (#60)
by driph on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:56:19 AM EST

With Yucca Mountain in place, that will solidify Nevada as conquerer should all the states ever go to war with each other. :]

Let's see.. we'll have tons of radioactive waste, Nellis Air Force Base(where all the Red Flag fighter training is done), the Naval Air Station in Fallon(home of Top Gun and unexplained leukemia clusters), and Groom Lake/Area 51, where God knows what goes on. We'll be dropping dirty bombs out of UFOs in no time.

Finally, once we've finished subjugating the country, as a memorial and tourism income source, we'll build miniature versions of each conquered major city along the Las Vegas Strip.

Either that or we'll just get high all the time and talk about it.

--
Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave

while reading.... (4.25 / 4) (#62)
by sobcek on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:38:21 AM EST

National Geographic (believe it or not) they made an excellent point:

The storage containers in which the nuclear (or nuc-u-lar as our reigning jackass would term it) waste resides are guaranteed for 10,000 years.  In keeping with current Republican/Springfield Nuclear Plant (yes, Smithers) regulations, these containers are guaranteed through about 1/1000 (at most) of the time it will take the radioactive matter to decay to a safe level (10 half-lives).  Not that you should be surprised by this.

10,000 years (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by katie on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:50:03 PM EST


Look, you really think doing something with this stuff will pose an issue for our descendents in 5000 years time? Store the stuff safely now, then we can have a think about fixing the problem properly.

All the messing around trying to work out how to solve the whole problem in one go basically means we're left with tons of emminently stealable nasty stuff in drums in "temporary" locations that are becoming more permanent by the day.

Let's put it this way the most immediate problem to solve is that next week someone could steal a few tons of spent fuel rod and scatter it over new york.
Long term problems can have long term, long way off solutions... short term ones can't.


[ Parent ]

...or your money back. [EOM] (1.00 / 1) (#76)
by NFW on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:31:55 PM EST




--
Got birds?


[ Parent ]

ARG (none / 0) (#82)
by BLU ICE on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:43:51 PM EST


The storage containers in which the nuclear (or nuc-u-lar as our reigning jackass would term it) waste resides are guaranteed for 10,000 years.

Yes, but the waste decays to the safe level of uranium ore in 500 years. Uranium ore is all around in the ground (rhymed!) anyway. It is only slightly radioactive. They make fiestaware plates out of it. after 500 years it can get even a little less radioactive than ore! (Uranium is less radioactive than ore because ore has radium in it) Nuclear waste being dangerous for 10,000 years is a bunch of bullocks.

In keeping with current Republican/Springfield Nuclear Plant (yes, Smithers) regulations, these containers are guaranteed through about 1/1000 (at most) of the time it will take the radioactive matter to decay to a safe level (10 half-lives)

Clearly you're talking about a long-lived isotope with a half-life of several hundred thousand years. Long lived isotopes produce almost no radioactivity. The short lived ones, such as cesium (half life ~12 years, if I remember right), are the ones that produce the great bulk of radioactivity.

The composition of nuclear waste is about 99% non-dangerous U-238, which has a half life of over a billion years. The rest is assorted U-238, plutonium, and other transuranics. The most radioactive transuranics are gone quick.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

Not to question your expertise, but... (none / 0) (#86)
by Renegade Lisp on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:35:19 PM EST

Nuclear waste being dangerous for 10,000 years is a bunch of bullocks.
What about, for example, Plutonium? A few millionths of a microgram of it will kill a human instantly.

An average nuclear power plant produces 250 kg of it per year. It has a half-life of 24,000 years.

Please comment.

[ Parent ]

Correction (none / 0) (#87)
by Renegade Lisp on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 06:43:23 PM EST

Sorry, that should have been: A few micrograms of it will kill a human instantly.

[ Parent ]
um no (none / 0) (#88)
by BLU ICE on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:56:13 PM EST

A few micrograms of it will kill a human instantly.

I'll eat plutonium and you eat cyanide and we'll talk. ;-)

Most of plutonium's toxicity is due to alpha emissions. These cannot even penetrate a sheet of paper or your dead epidermis. So plutonium is harmles unless you inhale or ingest it.

I have no clue who told you that. Plutonium oxide, the kind often used as fuel, actually won't do much if ingested. It passes out of the system quickly, not exposing your body to much radiation. Ingesting a couple grams of plutonium would only slightly increase the risk of cancer. Inhaling it is very dangerous though. This is due to the fact that it stays in your lungs, irradiating them for the rest of your life. I can't imagine how one would manage to inhale plutonium though!

There are many things more toxic than plutonium. You would get more radiation from standing out in the sun for a bit than you would get from eating that little plutonium.

Plutonium is actually not that radioactive when it's not fissioning. Anyway, how on earth could it kill someone instantly? I don't even remotely understand the logic behind that. You need a massive dose of radiation to do that. Like standing  a couple feet away from an unshielded reactor core. Even that would take a few minutes to kill you.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

O.k., I'll go for the cyanide, then :-) (none / 0) (#94)
by Renegade Lisp on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:23:05 AM EST

This article seems to back up what you say. I'm quite amazed how propaganda-loaded this field turns out to be. I was quoting information from a German newspaper with a fairly good reputation.

[ Parent ]
As far as the safety of Plutonium (none / 0) (#100)
by a humble lich on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:55:15 PM EST

It was my impression what made plutonium dangerous was that it really likes to form plutonium oxide--enough so that it will spontaneously combust when exposed to air. When it burns like that you get plutonium oxide particles in the air where they can be breathed and deposited in the lung.

[ Parent ]
Nuclear waste.... Reuse It Already! (4.00 / 2) (#64)
by Znork on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:27:31 AM EST

Improve breeder reactors and rerun waste fuel through them, then use the fuel again. And again. And again. There is no need for the fuel to be 'waste' at all.

Of course, it's a bit more expensive than mining new fuel, but compared to the storage problem that's a small problem and one that would go away if breeder reactors were developed further.

Nope. (4.00 / 2) (#65)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:34:58 AM EST

The reason the US discourages breeders is because breeders create weapons grade materials.

I think it was back in the Carter administration they made the decision to try to eliminate breeder reactors across the world.


--
ACK.


[ Parent ]
Can't get around nuclear physics (3.50 / 2) (#72)
by James Thiele on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:05:20 PM EST

No breeder reactor could ever be waste free.

In a fission reactor an atom of Uranium 235 or Plutonium 239 absorbs a neutron then splits into two smaller atoms, each of which has about half the atomic weight of the original. Many of these are radioactive, with long half lives. They eventually build up to the point where further reactions are impossible. In the breeder reactor fuel cycle these byproducts are removed and discarded during the extraction of the Plutonium 239 created in the reactor. These discarded byproducts are still nuclear waste that would need to be stored.

[ Parent ]

That isn't the point. (none / 0) (#91)
by sjl on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:27:45 AM EST

The point isn't getting rid of waste entirely. Rather, it's about eliminating the long-lived isotopes. As I understand it (and my nuclear physics is rather rusty, so feel free to correct me), the idea behind a breeder reactor is that it converts the "unusable" U-238 into "usable" Pu-239, whilst consuming U-235. When the fuel rod has reached the point that there is too low a percentage of usable fuel, it is extracted from the core, and re-processed.

The re-processing separates out the waste byproducts from the Pu-239, U-238, and U-235 (and other fissionable materials). The waste that results is generally relatively short lived. The Pu-239 and other materials is returned to the start of the cycle, along with the freshly extracted ore.

Most of the long-life isotopes -- the ones that cause the real hassle in dealing with nuclear waste -- turn out to be usable in some form within a nuclear reactor. It's a win-win situation, except for -- as has already been pointed out -- the fact that that the usable byproducts are generally weapons-grade material. So it's a tradeoff: do we try to deal with the hassle of securing the resulting weapons-grade nuclear material, or do we try to deal with the long-life radioisotopes?

Which would you choose?

As I said -- this is off the top of my (very rusty) memory; if I'm inaccurate, please, do correct me. My specialisation is computer science, not nuclear physics...

[ Parent ]

Correction.. (none / 0) (#92)
by sjl on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 02:30:07 AM EST

Now that I think about it, I'm reasonably sure that it's about the medium life-span material. Long-life material has low enough radioactivity that it's not a major concern -- it blends reasonably well into the background. Short-life material decays quickly enough that it isn't a worry. The aim of recycling the fuel is the medium term decay.

*sigh* Post, and then remember something important... I told you my memory's rusty... (no, not Rusty :)

[ Parent ]

Almost all nuclear waste isn't usable as fuel. (none / 0) (#105)
by mjfgates on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 10:43:11 AM EST

Something like 90-95% of nuclear waste is just stuff that's been contaminated by a LITTLE bit of radiation-- things like the IV bottles that are used to drip radioactive dye into people for medical tests, gloves that were used to handle radioactive materials, or old clocks with glow-in-the-dark radium paint on them.

There isn't enough radioactivity in any of this junk to do anything useful. There's no way to get the radiation off. You can't re-use any of it for raw materials to make other things-- it'd contaminate the machinery you used on it. Nope, the only thing you can do, is find someplace to dump it.



[ Parent ]
stop using nuclear energy, then think of disposal (4.00 / 3) (#66)
by fr2ty on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:29:07 AM EST

Nuclear waste is impossible to store safely. If you don't think so, try to imagine how to keep the code for warning information about the facilities readable over a long time.

No "solution" of the atomic waste problem  is acceptable before the last atomic power plant is turned off.
--
Please note that are neither capitals nor numbers in my mail adress.

This is an interesting problem (4.66 / 3) (#68)
by IHCOYC on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:39:24 AM EST

The nuclear waste is going to have to be stored for more than ten thousand years. We obviously cannot guarantee that classical English will still be widely studied after that time. If and when civilisation collapses, the principles of radioactivity may no longer be widely grasped by any surviving humans, assuming there are any.

Not only does the site have to be designed to last as long as the pyramids; it has to be made uninteresting, to inspire little curiosity among inquisitive mortals of future generations. A dramatic site in stone and concrete decorated with skulls and crossbones may not convey the needed message. It might come across as an especially interesting ancient shrine, a Stonehenge or Tenochtitlan. This will inspire visitors we don't want, especially if they revert to a more primitive state of technology.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy
[ Parent ]

Fallout (none / 0) (#84)
by bugmaster on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:37:42 PM EST

Lol ! This reminds me of Fallout, and Fallout Tactics specifically. Tribal chieftains send armored Brotherhood of Steel soldiers to eradicate some radscorpions, in exchange for useless "fushin bats"...
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
Here's a link (5.00 / 1) (#98)
by p3d0 on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:20:17 PM EST

Very creepy stuff.

http://www.halcyon.com/blackbox/hw/wipp/wipp.html.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]

Fascinating material there (none / 0) (#101)
by IHCOYC on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 07:40:15 PM EST

. . . This problem came up as a class discussion in a cultural anthropology course I took more than ten years ago. It is about as close to insoluble as you can get: just about anything you might think of runs the risk of failing to communicate, and arousing inappropriate curiosity that will only be deepened when they discover these ancient tanks in there that have been made deliberately hard to open. It's rather like H. P. Lovecraft in reverse.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy
[ Parent ]
A modest proposal... (2.50 / 2) (#71)
by Barnaby James on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 11:59:40 AM EST

I say, they should shoot it into the sun. It's highly radioactive anyway and on a long enough time scale, it's going to end up there anyway so it's a zero-sum proposition. Getting it into orbit could be a problem but I dare say some of these exotic tools developed for SDI (rail guns, etc) could fit the bill.

[ Parent ]
Harder than you think (none / 0) (#97)
by p3d0 on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:15:03 PM EST

It's harder than you think to get stuff to the sun. Getting away from Earth is hard enough, requiring only a 11km/sec velocity. However, counteracting the Earth's motion will take another 18km/sec on top of that. If you don't get rid of that momentum, the waste won't fall into the sun, but instead will go into orbit.

Building a machine to achieve that extra 18km/sec is expensive. To reach mars only requires an extra 3km/sec.

(Note: I'm no expert on orbital transfer, but to actually hit the sun, I think you do need to lose almost all angular momentum. If I'm wrong, please correct me.)
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]

Are you "for" Coal and Hydrocarbon.... (5.00 / 1) (#77)
by madgeo on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:31:58 PM EST

fired power plants?

[ Parent ]
Read up (5.00 / 1) (#79)
by cameldrv on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:28:38 PM EST

There are a number of techniques such as breeders and accelerator-based subcritical reactors that eliminate or don't produce waste. Solar and wind plants aren't up to the job of running a modern society, so you are effectively advocating coal power plants, which have way more problems than nuke plants.

[ Parent ]
Re: Read Up (3.50 / 2) (#103)
by fr2ty on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 12:26:59 PM EST

so you are effectively advocating coal power plants

Only if I follow your criteria.

Solar and wind plants aren't up to the job of running a modern society

Modern society isn't up to the job of running solar and wind plants. People like you go for gold with useless harmful energies only to get away without the critical rivision of their so called modern lifestyle.
--
Please note that are neither capitals nor numbers in my mail adress.
[ Parent ]
Revision of modern lifestyle (none / 0) (#107)
by cameldrv on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 02:41:43 PM EST

Well, the suspicion I have about rabid greens is exactly this. They *want* radical revisions in lifestyle. They would not like the fact that you can drive everywhere even if it had no environmental cost. They fundamentally don't like economic progress. Well, I'm not about to live an austere life just because you find it aesthetically pleasing in some Rousseau/Kaciznski way. Your criticism of newer nuke designs is essentally nil because they would work well and provide lots of clean, reliable power.

[ Parent ]
send it to new york city (1.12 / 8) (#75)
by turmeric on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:10:42 PM EST

new york city is just a giant pile of filth anyway. you fill up some of those buildings with toxic waste, nobody will able to tell the difference, except maybe it will smell better since rotting dog carcass and feces are pretty fragrant compared to spent fuel rods.

now, nyc has been bombed a lot of times in its history, hell, 2000 people a year die there from murder anyways. whats a few thousand more radiation deaths? the onyl people who will die there are too stupid to stay away from the glow-in-the-dark buildings in the first place, and as all darwin-award junkies know, that is 'good for the gene pool'.

now, some people say 'it might harm innocent children'. well, new york city is the medical capital of the world... all the smartest doctors are there. im sure they can figure out a way around the whole 'genetic mutation' thing.. its not that big a problem really.

another thing is that terrorists would never try to attack NYC, it is just too hard anymore ... all the security and everything. so obviously we should put the dump in NYC.

ground zero revisited (none / 0) (#104)
by fr2ty on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 12:34:40 PM EST

That would give a whole new meaning to the word "ground zero". Oh, wait...
--
Please note that are neither capitals nor numbers in my mail adress.
[ Parent ]
thought about... (5.00 / 1) (#106)
by 216pi on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 08:56:34 AM EST

...the effort you have to be sure no body drills down there THE NEXT 10.000 YEARS?

It is not only our problem but the problem of some of the next, uhm, 300 generations...

Read what your government thinks they should do (full version as PDF).

The PDF is about 19Mb but it's an very interesting read and seems to make sense...

They want to make it an 'ugly' place but the deeper you drill down, the more information you receive about what is stored down there...
collecting pr0n? use this.
Nuclear Waste....Get Rid of It Already! | 107 comments (98 topical, 9 editorial, 1 hidden)
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