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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:04 PM
Original message
Yucca Mountain Repository is ressurected
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/30/science/earth/30nuke....

In a setback for the Obama administration, a panel of judges at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled on Tuesday that the Energy Department could not withdraw its application to open a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain in Nevada....

In a 47-page decision, the three-member panel of administrative judges said the Energy Department lacked the authority to drop the petition because it would flout a law passed by Congress.

In the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, Congress directed the Energy Department to file the application and the commission to consider it and issue a final, merits-based decision approving or disapproving the construction, the judges said. Unless Congress directs otherwise, D.O.E. may not single-handedly derail the legislated decision-making process.
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Bobbieo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:20 PM
Response to Original message
1. Sounds like Bush's last minute political appointees.
Edited on Wed Jun-30-10 10:21 PM by Bobbieo
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:57 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I don't think we have to worry with this
too many problems for it to ever be used.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:58 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Too many problems if it isn't used. nt
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 05:38 AM
Response to Reply #4
11. Too many problems either way - we should stop making this crap.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 05:40 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. 300 new nuclear plants going online in the decade.
Sadly more than 1000 coal plants will go online in the same time period.

I know which technology I'd rather we stop making.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 05:44 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. Both are bad, we don't need either of them.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 06:06 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. We need coal less.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 07:36 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. We need more wind and solar.
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 07:37 AM by bananas
We don't need more coal and nuclear.
And we don't want more coal and nuclear.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. We need less fossil fuel energy.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:51 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. and less nuclear.
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FBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #19
21. You can't say "and" when it's contradictory.
We can't get rid of coal/oil/gas for electricity generation while reducing/eliminating nuclear.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. Yes we can!
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FBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:03 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. You can SAY it...
...but it isn't rational.

Not that rationality has ever been a constraining factor where fearmongering was concerned. :)
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #23
29. There are no indications that that is happening.
I take whatever fossil free energy we can get.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #21
33. That is a fase claim.
There is absolutely no supporting data to back up your assertion. On the other hand, there is a great deal of study that proves your assertion to be false.

Nuclear is a very poor choice to meet our energy and carbon reduction needs; it is literally a "third rate" option.

Abstract here: http://www.rsc.org/publishing/journals/EE/article.asp?d...

Full article for download here: http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/revsolglobw...


Energy Environ. Sci., 2009, 2, 148 - 173, DOI: 10.1039/b809990c

Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security

Mark Z. Jacobson

Abstract
This paper reviews and ranks major proposed energy-related solutions to global warming, air pollution mortality, and energy security while considering other impacts of the proposed solutions, such as on water supply, land use, wildlife, resource availability, thermal pollution, water chemical pollution, nuclear proliferation, and undernutrition.

Nine electric power sources and two liquid fuel options are considered. The electricity sources include solar-photovoltaics (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP), wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, wave, tidal, nuclear, and coal with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The liquid fuel options include corn-ethanol (E85) and cellulosic-E85. To place the electric and liquid fuel sources on an equal footing, we examine their comparative abilities to address the problems mentioned by powering new-technology vehicles, including battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs), and flex-fuel vehicles run on E85.

Twelve combinations of energy source-vehicle type are considered. Upon ranking and weighting each combination with respect to each of 11 impact categories, four clear divisions of ranking, or tiers, emerge.

Tier 1 (highest-ranked) includes wind-BEVs and wind-HFCVs.
Tier 2 includes CSP-BEVs, geothermal-BEVs, PV-BEVs, tidal-BEVs, and wave-BEVs.
Tier 3 includes hydro-BEVs, nuclear-BEVs, and CCS-BEVs.
Tier 4 includes corn- and cellulosic-E85.

Wind-BEVs ranked first in seven out of 11 categories, including the two most important, mortality and climate damage reduction. Although HFCVs are much less efficient than BEVs, wind-HFCVs are still very clean and were ranked second among all combinations.

Tier 2 options provide significant benefits and are recommended.

Tier 3 options are less desirable. However, hydroelectricity, which was ranked ahead of coal-CCS and nuclear with respect to climate and health, is an excellent load balancer, thus recommended.

The Tier 4 combinations (cellulosic- and corn-E85) were ranked lowest overall and with respect to climate, air pollution, land use, wildlife damage, and chemical waste. Cellulosic-E85 ranked lower than corn-E85 overall, primarily due to its potentially larger land footprint based on new data and its higher upstream air pollution emissions than corn-E85.

Whereas cellulosic-E85 may cause the greatest average human mortality, nuclear-BEVs cause the greatest upper-limit mortality risk due to the expansion of plutonium separation and uranium enrichment in nuclear energy facilities worldwide. Wind-BEVs and CSP-BEVs cause the least mortality.

The footprint area of wind-BEVs is 26 orders of magnitude less than that of any other option. Because of their low footprint and pollution, wind-BEVs cause the least wildlife loss.

The largest consumer of water is corn-E85. The smallest are wind-, tidal-, and wave-BEVs.

The US could theoretically replace all 2007 onroad vehicles with BEVs powered by 73000144000 5 MW wind turbines, less than the 300000 airplanes the US produced during World War II, reducing US CO2 by 32.532.7% and nearly eliminating 15000/yr vehicle-related air pollution deaths in 2020.

In sum, use of wind, CSP, geothermal, tidal, PV, wave, and hydro to provide electricity for BEVs and HFCVs and, by extension, electricity for the residential, industrial, and commercial sectors, will result in the most benefit among the options considered. The combination of these technologies should be advanced as a solution to global warming, air pollution, and energy security. Coal-CCS and nuclear offer less benefit thus represent an opportunity cost loss, and the biofuel options provide no certain benefit and the greatest negative impacts.

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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 07:35 AM
Response to Reply #4
16. We're kinda screwed either way looks to me like
Tell me again why we are attempting to resurrect the nuclear genie when it is not safe, clean nor is it cheap and after 60 years they still have no answers for what to do with the very dangerous for a long long time waste. I've been down this road a long time and we were asking about the waste problem way back when, late '60s. Back then we were told by the nuclear industry that a solution was just around the corner, all we need is time. Well here it is 50 years later and still no answer for that one question other than Yucca Mountain which is stupid at the very best and insane in the worst. Many of us were concerned with the problems that the industry faces today way back then. They're throwing good money after bad by attempting to resurrect this insane idea that was a bad idea to begin with. Money and time that could be better spent on working on developing alternates and renewable sources.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #16
22. Nuclear tech has progressed a long way since the 50s-60s
The (best) answer for what to do with the waste is to put it in Yucca. Leaving it where it is is one of the worst answers.

If we ended nuclear power tomorrow (we won't) we'd still need to find a place to put the existing waste.
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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #22
31. That's actually not the best answer. Reprocessing is the best answer.
It'll reduce the volume of waste by 97%, and the other 3% we can find more ways to deal with. The only reason it's not done in the US because it's too cheap to buy new uranium on the open market; recycling the old stuff and turning it into new fuel.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. The reason it's not done is proliferation risk
If it can be safely reprocessed at Yucca, sending it there is still the best option.

"In October 1976, fear of nuclear weapons proliferation (especially after India demonstrated nuclear weapons capabilities using reprocessing technology) led President Gerald Ford to issue a Presidential directive to indefinitely suspend the commercial reprocessing and recycling of plutonium in the U.S. On April 7, 1977 , President Jimmy Carter banned the reprocessing of commercial reactor spent nuclear fuel. The key issue driving this policy was the serious threat of nuclear weapons proliferation by diversion of plutonium from the civilian fuel cycle, and to encourage other nations to follow the USA lead."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_reprocessing
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #31
34. That is false.
Reprocessing does not reduce the volume of waste by 97%. It simply moves that volume of waste from one category of toxicity to a slightly lower category of toxicity. The full volume must still be stored.

... reprocessing does not reduce the need for storage and disposal of radioactive waste, and a geologic repository would still be required. Plutonium constitutes only about one percent of the spent fuel from U.S. reactors. After reprocessing, the remaining material will be in several different waste forms, and the total volume of nuclear waste will have been increased by a factor of twenty or more, including low-level waste and plutonium-contaminated waste. The largest component of the remaining material is uranium, which is also a waste product because it is contaminated and undesirable for reuse in reactors. Even if the uranium is classified as low-level waste, new low-level nuclear waste facilities would have to be built to dispose of it. And to make a significant reduction in the amount of high-level nuclear waste that would require disposal, the used fuel would need to be reprocessed and reused many times with an extremely high degree of efficiencyan extremely difficult endeavor that would likely take centuries to accomplish.



http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_risk/...
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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:59 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. I wondered about that
I can't say I'm upset about this. Yucca Mountain may not be ideal, but Hanford is leaking radioactive waste into the Columbia and and has been killing the downwinders for 50 years.
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FBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #1
20. Why?
If the law does indeed require the DOE to file the application and the commission to consider it, wouldn't you expect a Democrat to rule the same way?

Now... I'm not sure that the Congress has the constitutional authority to write the law in that fashion, but that could only be decided by the courts.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #1
25. Statement by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV): "working with President Obama and Secretary Chu"
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 11:50 AM by bananas
http://reid.senate.gov/newsroom/pr_062910_yuccalicense....

Reid Statement On NRC Licensing Board Decision On Yucca Mountain Application

June 29, 2010

Washington, DC Nevada Senator Harry Reid today made the following statement on the decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commissions Construction Authorization Board to deny the license application for a nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain:

While I am disappointed in the board's decision, the full commission will likely take another look at the motion to withdraw the license application and make the final decision on behalf of the NRC in the coming months. Nevadans can rest assured that as the majority leader of the Senate, I will continue working with President Obama and Secretary Chu to ensure Nevada never becomes the nation's nuclear dumping ground, Reid said. It makes no sense to ship 77,000 tons of the most toxic substance known to man across the country to bury it 90 miles away from the world's premier tourist destination. Our country has some of the best scientific minds in the world and I am confident they can come up with a safer solution to deal with the nation's nuclear waste. I will continue to ensure that this dangerous project never comes back to life. The safety and security of Nevadans is my top priority.

###


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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #1
26. Congresswoman Shelley Berkley: YUCCA FIGHT WILL NOT STOP!
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 11:52 AM by bananas
http://berkley.house.gov/2010/06/berkley-yucca-fight-wi...


BERKLEY: YUCCA FIGHT WILL NOT STOP!
Proposed Nevada Dump Still a Massive Security Threat, $100 Billion Budget-Buster, Scientific Failure

(June 29, 2010 -- Washington, D.C.) Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today vowed to continue her fight to stop efforts to turn Nevada into a nuclear waste dump following a ruling that the Secretary of Energy cannot withdrawal a license for Yucca Mountain submitted under the Bush Administration.

"Nevadans have been told before that it's time to end the fight against Yucca Mountain and we aren't going to surrender now just because of this one ruling," Berkley said. "While those seeking to turn Nevada into a nuclear waste dump are celebrating this decision, I continue working to slash funding for Yucca Mountain and to highlight the danger from shipments of radioactive garbage that will cross the U.S. under this dangerous proposal. This ruling is by no means the final word when it comes to building this $100 billion boondoggle in the Nevada desert and we still have more than a few weapons in our arsenal to battle this threat to the future of Nevada and its families."

Berkley has highlighted a list of issues (below), including scientific shortcomings and transportation dangers, that the backers of Yucca Mountain fail to discuss. The Congresswoman is also working to block efforts underway to revive Yucca Mountain through renewed massive spending.

ISSUES YUCCA MOUNTAIN SUPPORTERS STILL DON'T WANT TO DISCUSS

1) Decades of Transportation Dangers: On a daily basis for decades, lethal high-level nuclear waste would be shipped through residential communities in more than 40 states and hundreds of Congressional Districts, close to schools, hospitals, neighborhoods and houses of worship. Each of these shipments represents the distinct possibility for a catastrophic accident or incident of terrorist sabotage. One incident involving deadly nuclear waste could unleash radioactive contamination the likes of which our nation has never faced before. The sheer number of fiery crashes on America's highways and reoccurring accidents involving rail shipments demand we not ignore this very real threat to thousands of communities along waste transportation routes.

2) $100 Billion Budget Busting Price Tag: The Department of Energy has forecast Yucca Mountain's total cost will reach $100 billion. A decade ago, DOE estimated it would cost only $28 billion. The fact remains that no one knows the true final price tag for what would be one of the most expensive projects ever undertaken by the federal government. While billions have already gone into failed efforts to open Yucca, the dump's current final price tag is nearly ten times MORE than what's already been spent. Our nation cannot afford more reckless spending on a $100 billion bloated-budget project which is more than 20 years behind schedule and that threatens the safety of Americans.

3) Yucca Dump is Geologically Unsafe: Yucca Mountain is on a fault line subject to major earthquakes. This scenario could easily result in the release of massive amounts of radioactivity. Only two years ago it was revealed that planners for the dump actually had to make substantial changes because the fault line was located even closer than previously thought. The release of this amount of radioactivity would threaten the water supplies and the environment of the population centers of the entire Southwest.

4) Nuclear Operators Say No Need: Nuclear plants are already utilizing dry-cask storage and operators say there has been no effect on power production as a result of waste remaining at nuclear plants.

5) On-site Storage Offers True 100 Year Solution Today: On-site storage is available as a means to safeguard waste while a true solution is developed. Experts and regulators agree that by using hardened dry-cask storage containers, waste can be secured for the next 100 years. This avoids the transportation dangers and eliminates the need to spend $100 billion on Yucca Mountain, at a time when our nation is still recovering from an economic crisis.

6) A False Solution: Even ifYucca Mountain were built, waste would still remain in communities for decades awaiting transport to Nevada. More importantly, as long as a nuclear plant is producing energy, nuclear waste will still remain at reactor sites in communities across the country. So unless a reactor is 100% shut down, radioactive waste will continue to build up at any nuclear plant. And no magic wand can be used to suddenly transport waste all at once to the proposed dump. It is critical to understand that even if Yucca is completed, the Department of Energy has stated waste shipments could take a half-century before cities and towns would see existing waste stockpiles removed.

7) Yucca Based on Flawed Science: The law requires that Yucca Mountain's geology alone would protect Americans from the high-level nuclear waste to be stored there. But as scientists discovered that Yucca Mountain could not meet the standards set forth by Congress, nuclear waste project managers began unilaterally changing the rules in order to overcome flaws in the site. For example, once it had been determined that water would penetrate Yucca Mountain, plans were altered to include the use of robots to install high-tech umbrellas. A clear lack of technology also continues to plague plans for Yucca Mountain, including the fact that no canister exists that is capable of containing high-level radioactive waste given the rapid corrosion that studies have shown will occur once inside the dump. As casks corrode, radioactivity will be released, tainting essential water supplies.

8) Yucca Means Higher Energy Costs for Consumers: Families in nuclear states pay higher energy bills as a result of the monthly tax added to cover the cost of Yucca Mountain. Continued spending on Yucca Mountain will only raise energy costs for consumers as they are forced to cover the skyrocketing cost of the proposed dump.

9) Storage On-Site Safe for New Nuclear Plants, Safe at Existing Locations: Under the law, no new reactor waste can come to Nevada. New nuclear plants will be required to keep their high-level waste on-site for decades under current contracts. The nuclear industry and its allies support this method of securing waste at new nuclear plants and it can be used to safely do the same at existing facilities.

10) Ending Yucca Won't Force Nuclear Waste on other States: Proponents of Yucca Mountain falsely claim that eliminating Yucca Mountain will force nuclear waste to be moved. Nothing in the law requires that South Carolina, Washington or other states be forced to take additional nuclear waste.


# # #
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FBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #26
28. These are all arguments against using Yucca as the repository
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 11:51 AM by FBaggins
None of them bear on whether or not the change in policy requires a change in the law.

If the law requires something, an executive agency doesn't have the option of ignoring it because they no longer agree with what the law requires. The administration has the option of taking this to court (on the theory that the original requirements of the law are an unconstitutional shift of executive authority to the legislative branch), OR Congress can change the law.

Why is this difficult?
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV-1) on the Screw Nevada Bill (2007)
http://www.zimbio.com/Congresswoman+Shelley+Berkley/art...

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV-1) on the Screw Nevada Bill:

"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to condemn in the strongest possible terms President Bush's latest attempt to resurrect the fatally flawed Yucca Mountain Project in my home State of Nevada...If the President has his way, Nevada will become the world's nuclear garbage dump...Billions of dollars have already been wasted on this hole in the middle of the Nevada desert, and the truth remains that Yucca Mountain is no closer to opening today than it was 20 years ago when Nevada was unfairly singled out as the only State to be considered as a location to bury nuclear waste. That is known affectionately in the State of Nevada as the Screw Nevada Bill."--March 8, 2007.

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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:49 AM
Response to Reply #1
27. Congresswoman Dina Titus: "pull the plug on this disastrous project"
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 11:52 AM by bananas
http://titus.house.gov/go/news_room/press_releases/titu...

Titus Statement NRC Decision on Yucca Mountain

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Washington, D.C. Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevadas Third District released the following statement on the Nuclear Regulatory Commissions decision to deny the Department of Energys motion to withdraw its Yucca Mountain application.

While todays decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is disappointing, it will not deter us from fighting to put an end to Yucca Mountain once and for all. I am committed to ensuring that Nevada never becomes the nations nuclear waste dumping ground, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Nevada delegation to pull the plug on this disastrous project that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

# # #
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-02-10 06:21 AM
Response to Reply #27
35. Reminds me of whiny Constellation supporters.
No logic or rationality at all.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:58 PM
Response to Original message
3. Good news.
Methinks the closing was an Obama political maneuver from the beginning, one in which Harry Reid could have very well played a part.

Electric utility customers have paid into a fund worth $20-30B to make this happen, and utilities would likely be liable if it doesn't.
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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 11:01 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Why you cynical SOB
That was my first thought when i saw that it was an administration agency that quashed it.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. If it was, it was a skillful one
Obama's political acumen would make me an optimistic SOB :D

"The Alliance for Nevadas Economic Prosperity is a group of Nevadans that wants the state to urge Congress for a change to the plans at Yucca to make it an Energy Park, which could host a research facility, an interim and long-term repository, and, possibly, a reprocessing plant that will generate clean energy by reprocessing the spent fuel."

http://nevadanewsandviews.com/2010/03/25/more-oppositio...
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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 11:37 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. That sounds like a pretty good idea
A little sugar makes the medicine go down. Plus it really seems like a shame to lose the billions already spent on YM and get nothing for it. WE're going to have nukes. We need a designed facility to store the waste.
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AtheistCrusader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 02:17 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Most importantly we need to be able to bring that waste back out as easily as it went in.
Yesterdecade's waste is next decade's fuel.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 05:41 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. I don't think breeders are going to come online in the next decade, though.
Beginning of the 2030s maybe.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 02:22 AM
Response to Original message
10. I said: wow.
Nice.
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