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USA wants new nuclear waste storage (doesn’t occur to them to stop making this trash)

text-wise-owlUnder current law, the DOE is responsible for nuclear waste generated by electric utilities. The department has already paid out US$4 billion for failing to meet its obligation to remove waste that is now building up at nuclear power plants. It could be forced to shell out up to $23 billion more over the next 50 years if the issue isn’t resolved, Moniz said

US government seeks new sites for nuclear-waste storage Department of Energy pursues interim plan for commercial fuel and permanent location for defence waste. Nature Jeff Tollefson 24 March 2015 The US Energy Department will seek interim storage facilities for commercial nuclear waste and a permanent geologic repository for radioactive material from the country’s nuclear weapons programme, energy secretary Ernest Moniz said on 24 March.

The announcement follows more than three decades of contentious debate about a planned geologic repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The Department of Energy (DOE) halted work on that project in 2010 due to political opposition in the state. The department is now pursuing a “consent-based” approach designed to build support at the local and state levels before new waste facilities are designated……..

The DOE’s new plan has the department pursuing a two-pronged approach to handling nuclear waste. A 24 March decision by US president Barack Obama allows the DOE to put defence-related waste — roughly 5% of the total — in a different repository from commercial reactor waste. The move reverses a policy that former president Ronald Reagan put in place in 1985, which directed the two types of waste to be stored together.

Moniz says that Obama’s decision will allow the DOE to identify different solutions for different types of defence waste: waste that is stabilized in glass logs could be placed in a more traditional underground repository, while other types of waste could be packaged and buried in deep boreholes. The DOE’s fiscal-year 2016 budget proposal includes money for a deep-borehole experiment along those lines.

Moniz said the department also plans to develop a pilot interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel from commercial reactors. And the DOE will begin evaluating locations for a full-scale interim storage facility, although the construction of such a facility would require legislation from Congress.

Early reaction

The Energy Department approach echoes recommendations from a 2012 White House commission, and legislation introduced on 24 March by a bipartisan group of US senators. The Senate bill would establish an independent agency to manage nuclear waste and initiate a new search for interim storage facilities and permanent repositories.

Allison Macfarlane, a former chair of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, calls the latest DOE announcement a positive step. “It’s beginning to move us toward grappling with this issue and being practical and pragmatic about it,” says Macfarlane, a public-policy expert now at George Washington University in Washington DC. “The US should be a leader on this, and now we are in a position of being a follower.”…..

Under current law, the DOE is responsible for nuclear waste generated by electric utilities. The department has already paid out US$4 billion for failing to meet its obligation to remove waste that is now building up at nuclear power plants. It could be forced to shell out up to $23 billion more over the next 50 years if the issue isn’t resolved, Moniz said……http://www.nature.com/news/us-government-seeks-new-sites-for-nuclear-waste-storage-1.17183

March 25, 2015 - Posted by | USA, wastes

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