Greenpeace has issued a press release claiming that the nuclear waste disposal site at Gorleben is a “powder keg” full of natural gas that could be ignited by nuclear waste storage containers whose surfaces could reach as high as 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The UPI has picked up the press release and published a story titled Greenpeace warns of gas at nuke waste site.
For the record, the auto ignition temperature of natural gas is about 842 degrees Fahrenheit. I did not know that fact, but was able to find it in less 30 seconds using my favorite search engine. Actually doing the search took less time than that, but I had to click and scan the second link on the list.
Perhaps that is why Greenpeace has publicized this silly reason to be concerned about storing nuclear waste in carefully designed containers deep in a salt dome that happens to have a few pockets of methane in it. They did not take the time for even minimal fact checking. Maybe that “challenging” search obstacle is why the UPI faithfully reported the concern without question. Something tells me that the methane in that formation is not very prevalent; otherwise it would not have been chosen for waste storage.
It is amazing how organizations that continually fight against nuclear energy apparently assume that the people who favor it must be stupid. Though nuclear advocates have often done a less than stellar job of communicating, the industry has attracted some of the brightest, most careful people on the planet. They (we) know better than to ignore a risk of natural gas explosions. There is NO chance that a container whose surface might reach a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit will cause the ignition of a gas with an auto ignition temperature of 842 degrees Fahrenheit.