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Government Earth Power Science

New NRC Rule Supports Indefinite Storage of Nuclear Waste 191

mdsolar writes in with news about a NRC rule on how long nuclear waste can be stored on-site after a reactor has shut down. The five-member board that oversees the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday voted to end a two-year moratorium on issuing new power plant licenses. The moratorium was in response to a June 2012 decision issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that ordered the NRC to consider the possibility that the federal government may never take possession of the nearly 70,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel stored at power plant sites scattered around the country. In addition to lifting the moratorium, the five-member board also approved guidance replacing the Waste Confidence Rule. "The previous Waste Confidence Rule determined that spent fuel could be safely stored on site for at least 60 years after a plant permanently ceased operations," said Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the NRC. In the new standard, Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel Rule, NRC staff members reassessed three timeframes for the storage of spent fuel — 60 years, 100 years and indefinitely.
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New NRC Rule Supports Indefinite Storage of Nuclear Waste

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  • Ridiculous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Phil Karn ( 14620 ) <karn@ka9 q . n et> on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @07:18PM (#47770427) Homepage
    I agree that waste in casks at nuclear power plants is reasonably safe but it would still be better to move it to Yucca Mountain. If nothing else, security would be a lot cheaper. It's utterly ridiculous that all that money was spent on a waste repository that, thanks to NIMBYism on the part of Nevada politicians, doesn't look like it'll be used any time soon. At least nuclear waste is the one form of toxic waste that will eventually go away on its own. Arsenic, mercury, lead, thallium and other chemical poisons remain toxic forever.
  • Re:Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ralph Wiggam ( 22354 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @07:45PM (#47770601) Homepage

    Let's blame the people responsible- Nevada voters. The politicians are just representing their constituents. I supported the Yucca Mountain project before I moved to Nevada and I would be an asshole to change my opinion afterward.

    The proposed site is over 100 miles from Vegas in the absolute middle of nowhere. Even if they stored the waste in a big open pit above ground, it still wouldn't affect anyone.

    But people here are terrified about transporting the waste along the rail lines through town. There is a freight train that goes literally 100 feet from my office every day with tanker cars full of ammonia and sodium hydroxide. Nobody bats an eye.

  • Re:Ridiculous (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @08:34PM (#47770915)
    Reid singlehandedly tried to undermine the NRC from the top by appointing (via BO) Jaszko as NRC chair. Putting an incompetent political appointee in charge of an agency as important as the NRC is its own form of willful negligence. Thankfully he was driven out when it became clear he was not fit to hold such a position.
  • by crioca ( 1394491 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @08:54PM (#47771027)

    It's about damned time we started building new nukes

    I've been a proponent of nuclear power for years, but given how fast the cost of solar power has been falling, I think the time for investing heavily in nuclear power has passed.

  • Re:Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phil Karn ( 14620 ) <karn@ka9 q . n et> on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @10:25PM (#47771537) Homepage
    Not far from Yucca Mountain you will find hundreds if not thousands of craters under which are buried the fission and activation products of decades of US nuclear testing. They're not reprocessed and contained in silica glass, they were simply mixed (quite violently) with the soil and rock. And yet they don't seem to go anywhere. There is no need for Yucca Mountain to contain reactor waste for even a hundred years because it will surely be removed and burned as fuel in fast reactors. Once people wake up to the fact that global warming is a vastly greater threat than nuclear power, and that nuclear power is just as essential as wind, solar, geothermal and hydro in combating it, people will realize that "spent" fuel from light water reactors is far too valuable to just throw away.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller