Just say ‘no’ to nuclear waste – The Post and Courier

This debate over what to do with high level nuclear waste has taken many iterations including the Monitored Retrievable Storage plan in Tennessee in the 1980s. It would appear that we are no closer to a solution some 30+ years later. Here is an opinion piece supporting citizens groups to say no to Savanna processing facility as an interim waste sight. I am not advocating this pro or con for this opinion, just informing citizens on status of debate. Excerpt from the Post and Courier reads as follows:

“Yucca Mountain, Nev., was supposed to provide a permanent disposal site, and the federal government had spent $15 billion preparing it when the Obama administration pulled the plug on it.

President Obama subsequently named a Blue Ribbon Commission to consider other solutions.

The commission concluded that existing on-site storage would be adequate for the present and cited interim storage at a central site as a solution down the road. In doing so, the commission underscored the importance of hearing from local communities about interim disposal of high-level waste before making a commitment.

So the citizens advisory board, composed of South Carolina and Georgia residents who live near SRS, would do well to put the federal government on notice.

Besides the “no waste” option, the board is expected to consider supporting additional waste disposal, assuming there would be some benefit attached.

That could include, for example, the possibility of a reprocessing facility for high-level waste. Such a project would provide new investment and jobs.

The citizens group would do better to say that enough is enough, considering the extent to which Savannah River Site already has accommodated the disposal of defense waste. For example, SRS agreed to take 34 tons of weapons grade plutonium for conversion into mixed-oxide fuel that can be used in commercial reactors. The process would render the material unusable for weapons, as part of a nuclear non-proliferation agreement between the U.S. and Russia.

But the MOX facility could be jeopardized by cost overruns. If it isn’t built, SRS could end up providing long-term storage for that additional waste stream, as well as the waste already generated on site.

Once nuclear waste is brought to SRS, it can be expected to remain indefinitely, absent a permanent repository at Yucca Mountain.

SRS was designed as a production facility, not a waste dump. The citizens committee should tell the administration just that with a preemptive rejection of any more waste disposal plans.”


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