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As U.S. Moves Ahead with Nuclear Power, No Solution for Radioactive Waste
Excellent article on the nuclear dilemma worrying everyone except, it seems, the US government and the NRC who have issued another Waste Confidence Rule.
Essentially they are, once again, saying they have no idea what to do about the waste problem, but they are confident that someday they will. See the detailed challenge to the new Waste Confidence rule by the NRDC here. A challenge was also filed by the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Riverkeeper, and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
In addition the article highlights the issue of the enormous release of chlorofluorocarbons annually produced by the enrichment of uranium:
According to the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC), which runs the only U.S.-owned uranium enrichment facility in Paducah, Kentucky, the enrichment cycle releases 300,000 pounds, or 150 tons, of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into the atmosphere yearly.
The radiative properties of CFCs make them a dangerous global warming agent — 1,500 times more potent than carbon dioxide, according to EPA figures. Ozone-depleting CFCs have been banned in the U.S. except in the processing of uranium ore.
And the dependence of reactors, and enrichment, on coal:
Further, the Paducah plant enriches the yellowcake, a lightly processed form of uranium ore, to produce uranium oxide and make nuclear fission from two 1,500-megawatt, 30-year-old coal plants, which release CO2 and other environmental pollutants.
All the while the industry still maintains that nuclear power is the clean energy solution.
Abby Luby 3 March, 2011
President Obama has won wide bipartisan support for his determination to revive American nuclear power — a low-carbon energy solution that electric utilities and conservatives can support.
But a pair of legal actions last month could complicate matters for Washington by forcing theNuclear Regulatory Commission(NRC) to address a longstanding and almost intractable problem: How and where to store the highly radioactive waste.
For many, the separate suits by state attorneys general and environmental groups raise fresh questions over why America is pouring billions into a nuclear renaissance with no long-term strategy for handling waste from the nation's existing facilities.