Monday, February 06, 2006

Budget Details on GNEP

From Bloomberg:

The Bush administration, reversing a 29-year-old government policy, is seeking to reprocess the waste produced by nuclear reactors in the U.S. and other nations.

The administration requested $250 million in the budget it unveiled today for development of a process to reduce and recycle radioactive waste. The process would foster expansion of nuclear power in the U.S. by reducing by 80 percent the amount of waste sent to the storage site in Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

The proposed Global Nuclear Energy Partnership would also take spent fuel from other nations, addressing growing concern about the proliferation of nuclear weapons by keeping the capability to enrich and recycle nuclear material in U.S. hands, according to budget documents released today.
For our previous posts on GNEP, click here and here. And it looks like Russia might be interested.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Japan may be welcome to GNEP. However, it may be risky to transport apent fuel and MOX over Pacific Ociean. Furthermore your nation may not allow to recieve Japanese nuclear waste in Mt.yukka.

Matthew66 said...

Japan and Australia have been sending spent fuel, power reactor fuel from Japan and research reactor fuel from Australia, to Cogema in France for reprocessing for many years. Under the current arrangements, France ships vitrified high-level waste to Japan/Australia aboard one of two specially designed ships, escorted by Japanese/Australian/French warships. The ship unloads the waste in Japan/Australia and loads spent fuel for return to France for reprocessing. The amount of waste shipped to Japan/Australia is the amount that would result from the reprocessing of the fuel to be sent to France. Neither Japan or Australia has a problem with accepting responsibility for the high-level waste they produce.

Under its agreement with the USA, Australia is not permitted to ship US originated fuel elements anywhere but the USA. Until the USA decided to repatriate US sourced research reactor fuel, these spent fuel elements were safely stored at the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney.

Australia reprocesses spent fuel elements to minimize the volume of high level waste to be disposed of, and to enable the recovered uranium and plutonium to be reused in power reactors. Australia considers this to be the most environmentally ethical approach to the disposition of spent fuel, notwithstanding that it is an expensive option.

There have been no incidents related to the shipping of spent fuel or vitrified high level waste, save for some protests by the usual anti-nuclear suspects.