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Sixteen (16) New US Commercial Nuclear Sites in 10 Years

By       Message Amanda Lang     Permalink
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Why is the US government planning to build 16 new commercial nuclear reactors in the next 10 years when it has not successfully opened even one federal nuclear, high-level radioactive waste repository? "Presently, there is no scientifically sound, environmentally just, or democratically defined solution to the disposal or storage of radioactive waste. Yet each day approximately ten (10) tons of High-Level Radioactive Waste (HLRW) alone is produced. "

Thursday evening, I attended a presentation by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on a proposed ESP - Early Site Permit - for a new commercial reactor at Southern Company 's Plant Vogtle in Burke Co, GA. Here are a few of the interesting tidbits I learned:

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (VP Cheney's Frankenstein) awarded more than $14 billion in taxpayers' dollars for public/private investment in 16 new nuclear power reactors to be on-line in a decade despite the fact that no federal nuclear waste repository has been successfully completed. The high level federal dump, Yucca Mountain, after 20 years and $8 billion is no where near completion. In fact, three DOE scientists are under investigation for falsifying water infiltration and climate data, crucial factors in determining its overall safety. Every reactor creates between 20 - 30 tons of high-level nuclear waste annually.

A majority of the existing waste remains on the reactor site where it was produced in temporary containment facilities with a 30-year shelf life. (To give you a time frame on the age of some of this waste there hasn 't been a nuclear reactor built in the US in nearly 30 years) In many instances, the time for permanent transfer and containment of this waste has passed, and these sites are no longer compliant with the original license with which they were allowed to open and operate. In lieu, the government has granted extensions because the federal repository started over 20 years ago is no where near completion. The sites housing this nuclear waste are ticking time bombs with more than 100,000 tons of waste from the first generation of reactors.

I 'm no expert on this issue except for the fact that I live smack in the middle of the Savannah River Site (SRS, formerly SRP) and Plant Vogtle. It just seems insane to create more waste when we do not know what to do with what we already have ...and I haven 't even touched on the potential security element (approx. 46% failure rate on terrorism drills), costs (not one facility has ever opened on-schedule and within its original budge), limited liability insurance, cost/benefit, almost all going to be built in 'red' states in the southeast (Neocon election pork payback), and the list goes on ... But most importantly, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH ALL THIS HIGH LEVEL, RADIOACTIVE NUCLEAR WASTE that at a minimum has a shelf life of 12,000 years??

For more information on this issue and others regarding the 'new' nuclear age, contact:

Nuclear Information and Resource Service - Mary Olson, Director, NIRS Southeast

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy - Sara Barczak, Safe Energy Director

I had an opportunity to speak with both these individuals at the presentation. They are well informed and fair.

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OpedNews volunteer from 2005 to 2013.

Amanda Lang was a wonderful member of the Opednews team, and the first volunteer editor, for a good number of years being a senior editor. She passed away summer 2014.


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