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Sci Tech

In My Backyard

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As a person with a science and engineering background, I am of the opinion that the DOE's choice of Yucca Mountain in Nevada provides a good technical solution to the high level radioactive waste disposal problem. As a practical matter, however, the NIMBY rallying cry of Not In My Back Yard makes burial in this manner politically unacceptable in any State of the Union. I, therefore, propose that a new business (IMBY™?) be started with a mission to contain these wastes in a place that can support a rallying cry of In My Back Yard.

Many nuclear power plants in the United States are using a canister method for interim storage of high level radioactive wastes. Within three years IMBY™ can relocate these canisters to Baker Island, an uninhabited U.S. Possession near the equator in the Pacific Ocean. Instead of being in the backyard of concerned citizens, these wastes now will be thousands of miles away, out of sight and out of mind.

Volume will quickly exceed the capacity of this location so IMBY ™ can outfit Howland Island (another uninhabited U.S. Possession near the equator in the Pacific Ocean) to enclose spent fuel in glass or ceramics, encase it in a torpedo shaped sarcophagus, and dispose of it on the ocean floor.
 This method is not as impractical as some might think; it has been recommended by professionals with impeccable credentials. In her book entitled Trashing the Planet, the late Dixie Lee Ray, a former Chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and Governor of the State of Washington, proposed immersing high level radioactive waste in glass, placing it in a shell, and dropping it into one of the many geologically stable, remote, inactive, and non-life bearing locations (so called "ocean deserts") on the ocean floor. Selecting these sea locations for graveyards will ensure that the spent fuel will not find its way to the surface for hundreds of thousands of years, or long after natural radioactive decay has made it harmless.
Bernard L Cohen, former Professor of Physics at the University of Pittsburgh, was a prolific writer, authoring over 300 papers and articles as well as six books including The Nuclear Energy Option. Dr. Cohen voiced high approval of this method in a paper entitled Ocean Dumping of High-Level Waste - an Acceptable Solution We Can "Guarantee", which appeared in the January 1980 issue of Nuclear Technology.

On a long-term basis (a thousand years?) even acceptable dumping sites on the ocean floor will become saturated so a third method must be developed to permanently take care of the problem. The March '89 issue of Discover magazine had an article entitled Nuclear Dump: The Experiment Begins which described the initial work, with projected burial costs of $275/pound, to establish Yucca Mountain as a high level radioactive waste depository. The SPACE WATCH section in the same magazine had an article on Electric Rockets, which introduced an electromagnetic launcher that could deliver cargo to LEO at $40 per pound. IMBY™ proposes to investigate the use of this and alternate launch methods of rocket, laser, and pulsed microwave as a means to dispose of radioactive waste into either a Sun trajectory or to the far side of the moon. Jarvis Island (yet another uninhabited U.S. Possession near the equator in the Pacific Ocean) is one of many sites that can be developed for use in this manner.
 IMBY™, as summarized on www.lowearthorbitnow.org, can use the above three methods to provide short-term, long-term, and permanent solutions to the high level radioactive waste disposal problem.

 

A. Birth: Born as the tenth and final child to a farm family in Prairie View, Arkansas. B. Education: 1. Physics - BA from University of Dallas followed by two semesters of graduate work at the University of Wisconsin at Madison under a National (more...)
 
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While the suggested solutions are science based, t... by Eileen McCabe on Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 1:16:58 PM
I agree with almost everything you have said, exce... by Leon Neihouse on Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 2:31:20 PM
I must have missed the poll, of 6billion plus peop... by sliphoch on Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 8:16:44 PM
You are right – my mistake. Certainly everyone do... by Leon Neihouse on Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 9:37:45 AM