UK: No new nukes if no waste solution
Nuclear new build programme faces uncertainty, FT.com, September 21, 2012
By Andrew Bounds and Jim Pickard“……In the run-up to the general election, David Cameron accused the Labour government of being “irresponsible” for failing to deal with the issue of nuclear waste: “They have to be dealt with in order to make any new investment [in nuclear power] possible,” he said, Jim
Two years later, as Mr Cameron’s administration tries to draw in private investment for a new wave of nuclear reactors, the issue is as far from resolved as ever.
Britain is not alone in its attempts to find a site for a gigantic underground repository, a construction project on the same scale as the Channel tunnel.
Governments worldwide have failed to find a permanent solution for the tens of thousands of tonnes of high-level radioactive waste currently stored in temporary facilities.
The disaster at Fukushima in Japan in 2011 highlighted the potential dangers; spent fuel rods were stuffed into cooling tanks at the site, each packed with lethal levels of radioactive isotopes.
Campaigners such as Greenpeace argue that it is foolish for governments to proceed with new nuclear plants when they have not yet resolved this legacy problem from half a century of nuclear power.
One of the few countries going ahead with a permanent repository is Sweden, where two communities competed for the project and the hundreds of jobs it provided.
By contrast, the US has a deep level repository in New Mexico, but it only accepts waste from weapons research and production. A permanent repository for civil waste was proposed for Nevada but the controversial project was scrapped by President Barack Obama. Opponents of underground repositories say spent fuel can be safely
kept for decades while more research is done on alternatives. But the Fukushima crisis has placed a question mark over that argument. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/fefcb306-040d-11e2-9675-00144feabdc0.html#axzz27ETNh6qF
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