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11 Comments

  1. Many issues need to be fixed with the current Yucca plan IF it goes forward. First, of course, is the ridiculous rad levels. The EPA standards need to be scrapped and realistic standards need to be used.

    But the most significant design criteria to change is allow the fuel to be retrievable. Not buried for 10,000+ years. That is the non-proliferation side having way too much sway on the game plan. The fuel is valuable now and will be even more valuable in the future. Don’t create artificial barriers for future generations.

    1. “Tuesday’s (Executive Order) initiates a review of the Clean Power Plan, rescinds the moratorium on coal mining on US federal lands and urges federal agencies to “identify all regulations, all rules, all policies … that serve as obstacles and impediments to American energy independence…”

      1. Wow.
        If taken literally, that would shake up a LOT of long-established regulations, rules and policies.
        For example, the Linear No Threshold assumption (as it is incorporated into regulations, rules and policies) certainly serves as an obstacle and impediment to American energy independence.

  2. “Before any large scale shipments can begin, there will be a need for a specialized rail line that can deliver large used fuel transportation casks to the repository; a decade ago the estimated cost for that system was greater than $3 billion.”

    How many miles long would this railroad be? 100 miles?

    I found a map of proposed routes:

    http://www.yuccamountain.org/map06.gif

    A hundred miles would give $30,000,000 / mile. Why would this railroad have to be engineered beyond any railroad that carries other hazardous waste, i.e. chemicals? I see tank cars on railroads all of the time carrying bad stuff. Wouldn’t this cargo actually be safer than most? It is heavy stuff that won’t blow away in the wind. I presume they will use similar casks to those designed years ago that withstand high impacts.

    Would they be using golden spikes?

    With low natural gas prices, unnecessary requirements should be stripped from nuclear.

    1. It’s a fair question, Eino. SNF fuel casks are designed for conventional rail transport, having been thoroughly tested and used without incident for that purpose for fifty years.

      Still, one must allow the possibility that a combined freight manifest of SNF casks sandwiched between multiple tanker cars of diesel interleaved with flats of fertilizer might derail and catch fire in a hypothetical tunnel, much like the 2001 Howard Street train tunnel fire in Baltimore. 😮

  3. The BTU content of a “spent” fuel assembly from a light water reactor is worth 4 times its weight in gold at current natural gas prices. Moving the fuel from all corners of the country and burying it is a huge waste of resources.

  4. There’s a very large educational piece on spent fuel canisters that would need to be taught to the masses on why safe transportation is essentially a non-issue. Too many people, including the politicians, are flat out ignorant on the science behind the robustness of these casks. My bigger issue with this whole thing is, why is it okay to not follow the law? In our line of business, if I deliberately choose to violate procedure, I can go to Federal prison. Procedures are the law in nuclear power operations. Why is it okay for our “leaders” in this country to violate the law?

  5. Much, much more could be done to support nuclear power in America by streamlining regulations and supporting advanced nuclear reactors than reopening Yucca mountain. Heck, Generation IV reactors can do Yucca mountain’s job for it. Nuclear batteries are being designed that feed directly off of nuclear radiation

    http://www.atlasenergysystems.org/technology.html

    I would like to see the Trump administration look into developing regulatory support for advanced nuclear reactors and hopefully rescind unnecessary regulations like the baseless Linear No Threshold.

  6. The long term solution for the spent fuel produced from commercial reactors in the US is to recycle its fertile and fissile uranium content and its fissile plutonium content.

    Demonstrating that this can be safely and continuously done– sustainably and economically– for even a tiny portion of the spent fuel that the US has accumulated over the decades would be a game changer for the industry, IMO.

    Marcel

  7. If it must be buried, use salt domes. The facility near Carlsbad, NM, will do.

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