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Unsolved nuclear waste problem may stop nuclear industry in USA and EU

On Wednesday last week, Greenpeace launched a broadside against the European repository plans, arguing that leaders were being misled over safety issues – particularly relating to groundwater contamination. It appears the repository battle is about to go nuclear here, too.

President Barack Obama’s Yucca Mountain decision is a blow to US nuclear power- Telegraph UK, By Garry White 20 Sep 2010, US President Barack Obama appeared to deal a decisive blow to America’s nuclear power industry earlier this year, when he pulled the funding for a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. “…….the legal position, however, remains unclear. The repository is still on the statute books – it was legally mandated in 1982 under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act – so Mr Obama may be forced to reverse his funding decision.

The latest eminent voices to join the debate are a team of experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which released a report on Thursday arguing that storage was an essential part of the country’s energy strategy.

No new power plants have been built in the US since the Three Mile Island meltdown in 1979 – and, without a government-sanctioned means of disposal of spent nuclear fuel, investors are unwilling to stump up the cash to build any new plants…………..

After cancelling funding for Yucca Mountain earlier this year, President Obama launched a commission on America’s Energy Future, which will look at the country’s energy strategy in detail. It is expected to produce a draft of its recommendations in January next year.

However, its conclusions are non-binding and waste is still being stockpiled at the 104 nuclear plants in operation across the country. It has been estimated that about 70,000 tonnes of highly reactive material are being stored in 35 different states.

Representatives from states all over the US – which have contributed to the cost of the 22-year construction – are coming out in favour of Yucca Mountain…….

The UK faces similar issues of what to do with its waste. The EU is expected to publish a draft nuclear waste plan in the next few months and it is believed to favour disposal at sites similar to Yucca. Finland has already started to build an underground repository and the first disposal facilities are expected to be ready by 2025.

On Wednesday last week, Greenpeace launched a broadside against the European repository plans, arguing that leaders were being misled over safety issues – particularly relating to groundwater contamination. It appears the repository battle is about to go nuclear here, too.

President Barack Obama’s Yucca Mountain decision is a blow to US nuclear power – Telegraph

September 21, 2010 - Posted by | USA, wastes | , , , , , , , , ,

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