Thursday, March 5, 2009

Obama Stops Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository

In the news today the Obama administration is stopping funding for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada. Opposition had been consistent and strong in Nevada for years.

The biggest issue about this is the retrospective--the money already sunk. About $7.7 billion has been sunk into the project since its inception.

If we can forget the past, this isn't that big a deal. There isn't an urgent need for a repository quite yet, and there are many places, and many better places.

The Washington Post says:

MacFarlane lists three criteria for any permanent repository site: It should be located in an area that's not tectonically active; it should offer a non-oxidizing environment underground so that the storage vessels won't corrode; and it should be part of a closed hydrological system, so that any water that may get contaminated by the nuclear waste doesn't flow to faraway locations. MacFarlane notes that there are plenty of places in the United States that meet all three requirements. Yucca Mountain, for its part, actually meets only one of the three—being located in a closed hydrological basin. And even if it is situated in a closed basin, there are still people who drink the basin's groundwater. In other words, Yucca was a long way from being an ideal repository site.
We Arizonans should lobby to get a repository placed near our own beloved Palo Verde Nuclear Generation Station, which, I say with delight, has been the biggest U.S. producer of electricity since 1992 and produces around 0.4% of the world's electricity.

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