Tuesday, March 17, 2009

USA Today on Yucca Mountain

USA_Today_re Does USA Today qualify as a top newspaper on a par with the New York Times and The Washington Post? It’s certainly more colorful. You can get it free on air shuttles and at a lot of hotels. People who have seen their local newspaper die – like Seattle – will likely depend on it more, if not for local news. And we certainly like it’s editorial stance on Yucca Mountain:

Like it or not, the nation needs nuclear power as a carbon-free bridge to a future in which wind, solar and other options will power computers and TVs and charge plug-in hybrid cars. It makes sense to dispose of spent nuclear fuel in a single place instead of at more than 100 nuclear plants around the country, where it is now.

They pick up a theme William Tucker pursued in his Wall Street Journal op-ed:

The president and the nuclear industry now want a group of experts to convene to decide what to do next. An idea to revisit is reprocessing spent fuel, which President Carter banned out of security concerns that seem much less compelling 30 years later. Reprocessing allows fuel to be re-used and shrinks the ultimate amount of spent fuel — but what's left still has to go somewhere.

President Ford actually got that ball rolling, but Carter had TMI on his watch, so he usually gets the credit. And, of course, the editorial gets the politics:

Killing Yucca is a big political win for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Nevada lawmakers who've long opposed the storage site. But that victory empowers not-in-my-backyard politicians in every state to dig in their heels. And, whether it's waste dumps or wind farms or oil refineries or air routes, they do — the national interest be damned.

Yes, they certainly do dig in their heels, but this goes all the way to the micro-level – meaning you and me – who would prefer not to have our pristine suburban sprawl besmirched by anything necessary or useful.

USA Today is a little late to the Yucca Mountain party, but it’s striking that the press all along the ideological spectrum has given thumbs down to this decision. Hard to find this much agreement on anything.


gunter said...

Its ludicrous to blame the abandonment of Yucca Mt. on the politics of Obama and Reid.

Neither the editorial nor NEI make mention that politics and Yucca Mt. are far older than the Obama Administration.

The Nuclear Waste Policy Act Amendments of 1987 abandoned the second repository search in granite and narrowed the 1st repository siting process to Nevada precisely because of the political fire storms fomented by DOE candidate site work elsewhere. Nuclear power was broadly getting more unpopular with more site characterization work. Might that have something to do with the unpopularity of the govermment grabbing 20,000 surface acres and erasing towns anywhere for private industry's dubious National Sacrifice Areas? That doesn't cut it in New England or anywhere else.

Might it also have something to do with the forced location of a repository fails to pass the scientific merit smell test?

I say three cheers that this forced location effort failed.

Its a credit to our democracy and a testiment to the Ponzi Scheme this industry seeks to perpetrate on countless future generations.
Electricity is a fleeting product of nuclear power, its timeless legacy is hazardous nuclear waste.

Jason Ribeiro said...

Mr. Gunter, as you have made a career of opposing all things nuclear, you would understand the "waste" products thus far produced would need to be stored somewhere even if all your wishes about abolishing everything nuclear were to come true. It would have to be stored with the very same or similar type of plan as proposed for Yucca.

Your side hasn't won a victory, you only kicked your own can down the road. So if you didn't like the Yucca site, what other site might you suggest?

Anonymous said...

Statistics to date:

Number of non-Nevada newspaper editorials supporting Obama administration decision to stop Yucca Mountain: 0

Number strongly disagreeing with Obama administration: see below









Vijay said...

Here's another interesting article that discusses about the implication of Obama's decision on Yucca mountain and where it leaves us now.


Although I thought that the arguments and conclusions were a little negative towards seeing no end to the problem, I do agree with the statement that it does not help the cause when every new administration comes up with a new plan to deal with the waste, rather than funding more research to deal with the problem effectively.

Maybe Mr. Gunther might like the the Waste Pilot Isolation Plant in the New Mexico desert near Carlsbad ?!