Thursday, November 7, 2013

Artichoke Annie's Promise

Did you see Pandora's Promise on CNN tonight? What were your feelings? Do you feel you were given all the facts? Did you come away thinking that if environmentalists have changed their views on nuclear energy then it must be OK?

I think Director Robert Stone offered up to us tonight a seductive myth aptly named after our beloved Pandora.

Artichoke Annie's promise to you is that I will continue to work as hard as I possibly can to see that our government - the Department of Energy - finds a viable solution for permanent storage of spent nuclear fuel.

We simply cannot ignore the fact that the United States had at one time 104 operating nuclear plants that were producing spent fuel. That fuel must find a permanent home somewhere. Until this problem is addressed there should be no nuclear facilities built.

It is a massive problem.

Where to store the spent fuel?  Your backyard or mine.
How to get it there?  Planes, trains or automobiles.

In the next couple of weeks TEPCO will be attempting to move the spent fuel rods from their damaged Fukushima facility just a short distance to a permanent storage facility. We need to watch carefully how this goes. At the very least this is what it will take in the U.S. if permanent storage were to be created onsite at the current facilities.

"Nuclear waste is not an environmental issue." ~ Mark Lynas

Fast Breeder Reactors: Want to know more?  How do fast breeder reactors differ from regular nuclear plants? A 2006 article in Scientific American

Here is an excerpt from that article:
"Creating extra fuel in nuclear reactors, however, is not without its concerns: One is that the plutonium produced can be removed and used in nuclear weapons. Another is that, to extract the plutonium, the fuel must be reprocessed, creating radioactive waste and potentially high radiation exposures. For these reasons, in the U.S., President Carter halted such spent fuel reprocessing, making the use of breeder reactors problematic."
Fast Breeder Reactors and Plutonium Concerns: Today in the News ~ Japan Nuclear Facility Cited for Security Failures 

Fast Breeder Reactors Use Spent Fuel to Create Power: Are fast breeder reactors a nuclear power panacea?

Here is an excerpt from that article:
"Spent fuel, while less of an immediate proliferation risk, remains a major radiological hazard for thousands of years. The plutonium — the most ubiquitous and troublesome radioactive material inside spent fuel from nuclear reactors — has a half-life of 24,100 years. A typical 1,000-megawatt reactor produces 27 tons of spent fuel a year."


  1. I love Mark Lynas reassuring us that nuclear waste is not an environmental problem. I guess now that he's put that issue to bed, we can unload the spent fuel in his backyard. How's next Tuesday, Mark? That work for you?