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Reply #2: Actually I like Yucca delays. [View All]

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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-09-05 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Actually I like Yucca delays.
It's not like the so called "nuclear waste" is actually doing anything whatsoever to harm anyone at all. (Well it does inspire fear and loathing in paranoids and other nut cases but other than that it doesn't do all that much.) The longer it stays above the ground, the easier it becomes to reprocess, and the more valuable the materials within become.

Eventually the price of uranium will rise to a point that the uranium and plutonium inside the fuel rod will be coveted for its fuel value. Also from a non-proliferation standpoint - the use of "once through" uranium is to be (in my opinion) slightly preferred because of the presence of significant U-236. (This gives rise to the important contaminant Pu-238 in any new plutonium generated upon reuse, greatly complicating any attempt at diversion.)

There are also many valuable fission products in these rods: All of the radioactive ruthenium-106 (half-life 373 days) that is in fuel rods removed from a reactor in 1980 has now decayed to palladium. This means that the other isotopes of ruthenium present (99, 100, 101, 102, 104 and 105) are immediately recoverable and usable. The ruthenium in the so called "nuclear waste" in the United States is worth close to a billion dollars if recovered. The rhodium and palladium are worth considerably more.

The US Yucca Mountain delays will result in the defacto proposed Canadian approach to the storage of spent nuclear fuel, which is to keep it above ground until such time as it is necessary to recover the valuable materials in it. It is the approach that makes sense. A better approach is recycling, but it may take a few more years for the population at large to recognize that reality.

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