Nuke waste issue critical

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In the op-ed “Nuclear waste must find safe, permanent home in Nevada” (Nov. 6), U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson expressed dismay that the Republican candidates jumped at the opportunity to agree with President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on shutting down the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

Wilson noted that even though the Yucca Mountain site has been thoroughly evaluated and submitted for licensing with more than $10 billion out of the Nuclear Waste Fund already spent on the project, the Obama administration took Yucca Mountain “off the table” and formed a Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future to again study the issues.

After nearly 18 months, the BRC issued a draft report for comment. Key recommendations previously proposed by numerous government and private organizations were again endorsed by the BRC including:

• interim storage of spent nuclear fuel;

• selection of a second repository;

• formation of a quasi-government entity to manage nuclear waste and take control of the NWF.

Interim storage of spent nuclear fuel is the right choice, since it allows for additional research and development to address the cost of spent nuclear fuel recycling. But the draft report downplays the potential of its role in the overall nuclear fuel cycle, ignoring its potential to enhance resource use, radioactive waste management and nuclear material safeguards.

Wilson states it is imperative for the United States to have a permanent nuclear storage and disposal facility. In selecting the site for the second repository, consideration should be given to expanding the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico. WIPP is the United States operating geological repository for long-lived transuranic wastes from the production of nuclear weapons and nuclear research, development, and demonstration activities.

Recent studies, as reported by Dr. James Conca in a recent presentation in Aiken, have shown that WIPP has the capacity to handle high-level nuclear waste in a cost-effective manner, in comparison to other options and WIPP, has demonstrated effective performance in its operation to date.

The nuclear waste issue should be raised as a defining issue in the Republican primaries and in the subsequent general election in 2012, since it holds one of the keys to America’s nuclear future that is being spearheaded in Georgia and South Carolina.

Mel Buckner

North Augusta, S.C.

(The writer is a nuclear engineer and an adjunct professor with the University of South Carolina Department of Mechanical Engineering.)

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10aikenite
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10aikenite 12/04/11 - 10:29 am
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I used to be angry about this

I used to be angry about this total waste of money and the fraud Harry Reid perpetrated on this country. Harry, over many years, supported funding for Yucca Mountain until it became politically convenient to oppose it. So, here we are with billions wasted and a big hole in a mountain. You can bet that the hole is still being funded. That aside, the CSRA is benefitting from Harry's manipulations. We are still creating nuclear waste glass logs and storing them on site. Unlike the legacy waste in tanks, there is no risk in storing the encased glass logs. So, as long as Harry keeps blocking the movement of the glass logs, the people of the CSRA benefit from the jobs created to store the glass logs as well as build additional storage buildings. Unfortunately, the fraud on the rest of the country continues.

Chillen
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Chillen 12/04/11 - 03:08 pm
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Well, its a good thing we

Well, its a good thing we spent almost $100 Billion on Yucca. Reid sure brought home the pork, the beef, the chicken, the goat and the sheep to his district.

Unbelievable waste. I could have used my tax contribution to that for something far more useful.

Rather
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Rather 12/04/11 - 03:24 pm
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I generally agree with

I generally agree with 10sikenite about Yucca Mountain. I cannot even begin to describe the scrutiny used to select the site in the first place. It was the best location by far over any other location. As a Structural engineer who worked in Las Vegas on the design of the waste handling facilities I am well aware of the transparent over-site; intensive studies and examination of everything from ground water, seismic, terrorist, airplane crashes, and you name it. The only reason why Obama cancelled the project is to appease Harry Reid and destroy America. Of most importance is to get all the nuclear waste totally protected against terrorist attack. Just one dirty nuclear bomb in one of our major cities would make 9/11 look like a Sunday school picnic. So here we are in 2011 where South Carolina was promised one million dollars a day if the nuclear waste at SRS was not disposed of by the year 2000 and a clown of a president out collecting campaign money - and no answer on the nuclear waste. He is claiming everything is getting better because the unemployment rate fell to 8.5% assuming we were too stupid to realize Christmas retail employment being the cause. Also what about the people who have stopped looking for employment who no longer count as unemployed? God help us!

Rather
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Rather 12/04/11 - 03:34 pm
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Chillen - Yes 100 billion is

Chillen - Yes 100 billion is a lot of money. But the only reason it's a waste is because Reid/Obama cancelled the project. However, the waste still needs disposed of, and protected, and by the time that is accomplished with some new Yucca Mountain type site, 100B will look like a Sunday School donation. However, if the Republicans win in 2012, I predict Yucca Mountain will be resurrected, hopefully saving most of the 100B.

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