Skip to main content

Completely Comfortable: Next to a Nuclear Repository

WelcometoCarlsbadMaybe it was the collapse (this year) of an attempt to lift a ban on uranium mining in Virginia that got the Washington Post thinking about the other end of the fuel cycle, but here’s what they think regardless:
Since the president helped to kill the Yucca project, his administration has borne a particular responsibility to devise a workable way to clean up this mess.
Last month the Energy Department finally released its proposal. It is a reasonable plan for post-Yucca policymaking that nevertheless relies on a big assumption — that someplace in the country will volunteer to host some waste.
Oh, somehow I don’t think that will be so difficult. Even the people around Yucca Mountain wanted Yucca Mountain. And the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission proposed the idea of consent-based repository siting after seeing it work at New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and in Sweden, where towns competed for a repository.
But disbelief that anyone would take used nuclear fuel is really the gist of the Post’s editorial.
We are skeptical that many localities would volunteer to host waste facilities, particularly the permanent repository, no matter the economic benefits. But perhaps the administration’s staged approach might be a way to convince communities, with each step building confidence that this material can be stored safely.
Yes, it really “might be a way.”
Here’s the Carlsbad Current-Argus on WIPP:
"WIPP is one of the greatest unsung success stories around, a project with a perfect safety record and more of a game changer for our economy than even oil and gas," said Eddy County Commissioner Jack Volpato, a Republican. "I see it or maybe something else like it creating a whole new generation of jobs."
In particular, Volpato said, Carlsbad and Eddy County will push for a federal study to determine if a second repository similar to WIPP could safely bury high-level nuclear waste from defense projects.
I’m sure I could find stories about environmentalists griping like crazy about this, but the point is that county elected officials see jobs in WIPP and it’s operated so well as to preclude objection – or fear from those politicians.
The idea of taking nuclear waste from the rest of America and salting it away under the desert is not radical thinking in Carlsbad, which has been a neighbor to WIPP since 1999. For many people, nuclear-waste disposal is pure business now, not a cause for worry.
"I was a skeptic when WIPP came here. Then I educated myself and I have become entirely comfortable with it," Volpato said.
I think I’ll listen to Carlsbad on this one.


jimwg said…
For Pete's sake, government! Put the hole to SOME use, huh???

James Greenidge
Queens NY

Popular posts from this blog

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.


The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.

What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…