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View Diary: Underground Landfill Fire Burning 1,200 Feet from 8,700 Tons of Nuclear Waste (98 comments)

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  •  but but but nucular energy is SAFE!! (12+ / 0-)

    There must be a simple explanation for how an unquenchable underground garbage fire next to a nuclear waste dump cannot possibly be dangerous and certainly should not in any way reflect negatively on the nuclear power industry, which is the safest thing ever. Nobody could have foreseen this eventuality, after all. I'm guessing that a crack team of NRC inspectors will be along at any minute to sort this out and ensure that the public will always be protected from corrupt officials, corporate greed, malfeasance, and sociopathic disregard of the commons, and anything else that might impact profits.

    History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

    by quill on Fri May 10, 2013 at 08:07:36 PM PDT

    •  But, but, but (6+ / 0-)

      we can't guarantee the safety of Yucca mountain for 10 million years, so instead we should have waste stored haphazardly all around the country, especially next to burning landfills.

      It's a catch 22. We have have waste right now that we have to deal with safely, but if we can find a way to deal with the existing waste we have safely, then, horrors!, we can deal with new waste safely too.

      So, instead of advocating for safe handling of the waste we already have, instead every story resulting from the obstruction of dealing with the waste safely becomes a reinforcing mechanism that waste can't be dealt with safely.

      Tell me. What do you suggest we do with the waste we already have ? Bury our heads in the sand?

      •  as they say, (13+ / 0-)

        The first thing to do when you've dug yourself into a hole, is to stop digging. I'd be happy if we stopped generating more waste right now and don't start again until the current waste is all safely contained for the next 1000 years (or whatever is the safe decay time of the waste).  My beef with nuclear power is that it generates waste that is highly toxic, expensive to contain,  and lasts a long time such that 1) nobody wants it near them so it becomes a political hot potato problem (Yucca Mt being a prime example), and 2) it creates a long term perverse incentive, for government and corporations, to cut corners and not treat it properly. Whenever I hear people talk about how safe nuclear is they always seem to ignore the waste issue.

        I don't live too far from Hanford. Despite various containment efforts over many years, there is STILL nasty corrosive waste leaking into the environment, and it is a perfect example of the problem: we humans are great at acting for short term gains that create difficult expensive long term problems, which nobody wants to deal with or even admit exist (let the grandkids deal with it!).

        History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

        by quill on Fri May 10, 2013 at 09:23:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Modern reactor designs (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mmacdDE

          Are so much safer and produce so much less waste than the antiquated reactors that are currently running that it's not even funny. I'd be extremely happy if we could shut down all the coal and old nuke plants for some better designs.

          Some can even use existing nuclear waste to varying degrees.

        •  Again (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Neuroptimalian

          Hanford is from the weapons program, and it's a huge problem. But it is not related to the waste from modern nuclear power generation.

          And if 1000 years was truly the safety metric, this conversation wouldn't even be necessary. There are lots of sites that could be qualified for 1000 years. But this isn't good enough for anti-nuclear activists who would apparently rather have the waste stored far less safely.

          Why? I truly believe because they realize that once a site/mechanism for storing waste safely is realized, they will lose their strongest argument for shutting down nuclear power altogether.

          Also, we can't stop 'digging that hole' unless we replace they lost power generation. Right now, this means more fossil fuels, more damage to our health and environment, and even more CO2 released.

          That's a much deeper hole you are suggesting.

      •  Ozy, sorry, I'm one of those who fought hard to (0+ / 0-)

        prevent nuclear waste being stored in my backyard.  

        You are correct, we need a solution.  Would you suggest Mars, or the Sun?

        •  I would suggest (0+ / 0-)

          1000 year interim storage to give us humans enough time to develop safe methods for 'burning' the high level waste using fast neutrons from breeders or fusion reactors.

          Trying to boost high level waste out of the earth's gravity well is both energetically unfavorable (a net energy loser) as well as being risky due to the chance of a bad launch spreading waste across the landscape.

          Any other ideas? I do give you credit for looking for some solution.

      •  We can't get it to Yucca Mountain (0+ / 0-)

        Even if it were guaranteed to be safe there (which it's not), we can't transport it there.  You can't just put high-level waste on a tractor trailer or a train and expect it to make a long journey safely, especially not 90,000 tons of it.

        The meek shall inherit the Earth that the stupid destroyed.

        by CharlieHipHop on Sat May 11, 2013 at 03:55:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What does this have to do with nuclear power? (12+ / 0-)

      I'm a very harsh critic of anyone who mismanages nuclear materials but no evidence has been provided that this situation has anything to do with nuclear power.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Fri May 10, 2013 at 08:21:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nuclear power creates more nuclear waste (8+ / 0-)

        I see the connection right away since the problem with nuclear power is its nuclear waste. And that problem does not appear to be solved.

        To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Fri May 10, 2013 at 10:05:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Children drown in unsafe swimming pools (4+ / 0-)

          Therefore ban hydroelectric power.

          Which is pretty much the logic here.

          •  And ban cars because they kill almost.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sandino

            .....as many people as guns?

            Which is pretty much your logic.

            "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

            by Bush Bites on Fri May 10, 2013 at 11:23:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Ban life because it results in death.. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Neuroptimalian

            Which is pretty much what you are saying. Thanks for the beautiful logic"ish" thingy you do there.

            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

            by OregonOak on Sat May 11, 2013 at 05:40:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Strange replies that have nothing to do with (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eric K, nuclear winter solstice

              the problem of nuclear waste. Not one intelligent thought behind the idiotic knee-jerk replies.

              To thine ownself be true

              by Agathena on Sat May 11, 2013 at 08:53:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Whenever we try.. (3+ / 0-)

                to come up with solutions, we are bogged down in the minutia of self-proclaimed and paid experts who fog the issue to a stalemate. The obvious fact is: nuclear waste needs to be safely stored for millions of years SOMEWHERE. Let us start there, and work toward a solution before "temporary storage within reactor complexes" destroys us. The situation is that dire.

                Stainless steel is pretty good, glass poured within stainless steel  containers is even better and above ground is fine if you build the concrete sturdy enough and thick enough and you can inspect inside the buildings. Then it just becomes a task of rebuilding the concrete bunkers every few thousand years or so. There is no good place, but there are better and worse places for stability and low population.

                I personally cannot think of a better jobs program for the present to save the future.

                Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                by OregonOak on Sat May 11, 2013 at 09:05:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Some good ideas (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  CharlieHipHop

                  Storage has to be away from earthquake zones and is there such a place?

                  Shouldn't there be a moratorium on new plants until there is a real solution to the problem of nuclear waste?

                  How much stuff can we put in the earth? The useless carbon capture scheme is putting tons of CO2 in the earth and the fracking industry is injecting tons of toxic waste water deep in the earth, how much more can "the earth" take?

                  To thine ownself be true

                  by Agathena on Sat May 11, 2013 at 01:01:37 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Here's the problem: (0+ / 0-)

                  Nothing build by humans has ever lasted longer than a few thousand years.  The Sphinx is maybe 40,000 years old according to some, but it's not in its original condition.  

                  Now we need to engineer something that will last a thousand times longer, and we need to hope that the planet doesn't change much for the next million years (no meteors, no major earthquakes or continental shifts, etc.).

                  Storing this stuff is not a viable option; no social or engineered solutions will last long enough, and the stuff will eventually disperse into the biosphere and kill everything (how I wish that were hyperbole!).  We need to figure out a way to neutralize it.

                  The meek shall inherit the Earth that the stupid destroyed.

                  by CharlieHipHop on Sat May 11, 2013 at 04:01:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Northwatch, no equivlence in your retort..clean (0+ / 0-)

            drinking water is necessary for survival.  Swimming pools, not so much....

    •  And I should add (13+ / 0-)

      that if one reads the article closely, they will notice that this is waste from the nuclear weapons program, which is a far different beast than waste from nuclear power.

      Furthermore, the burning landfill is having a negative impact right now, so why not focus on fixing that problem?

      •  noted /nt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi, Ozy

        History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

        by quill on Fri May 10, 2013 at 09:24:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Which appears to be a "Microsoft answer"-- (0+ / 0-)

        i.e., technically correct but practically of no value.

        Apparently the plant that produced the waste was producing unenriched uranium metal for the CP-1 research pile that was built in Chicago & achieved the first self-sustaining man-made nuclear chain reaction on 2 Dec 1942.

        CP-1 may have been funded by the government as part of the effort to produce an atom bomb, but in fact it was a scientific "proof of concept" experiment to demonstrate that a chain reaction was possible.

        So if this is the case, calling the residue from this uranium production "nuclear weapons waste" is a stretch even Plastic-Man would have problems making.

        BALTIMORE RAVENS--SUPER BOWL XLVII CHAMPIONS! WOOO-HOOO!

        by Uncle Cosmo on Sat May 11, 2013 at 10:27:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not really, the whole point of those (0+ / 0-)

          experiments were to develop weapons, not a commercial source of power.

          IOW, this is totally "nuclear weapons waster"

        •  You are missing the point. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TomP

          This particular waste pile has zero to do with modern nuclear power production, therefore it has no particular bearing on the merits or detriments of continued, modern nuclear power generation.

          There are plenty of things to be careful and concerned about about when it comes to nuclear power generation, but clutching pearls over unrelated issues just turns one into a chicken little.

          It would be equivalent to demanding the cessation of all solar power production because of a latent chemical leak into ground water from silicon refinement experiments in the 50's.

    •  The chemical hazards could easily be worse (2+ / 0-)

      Radioactive materials are just another kind of poison, remarkable chiefly for being so easy to detect.

      Meanwhile the landfill is already releasing known carcinogens above safety limits.

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Fri May 10, 2013 at 09:17:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes, but (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi, Joieau, foucaultspendulum

        The gist of the diary is that there is a danger that the fire could reach the waste dump, meaning that the community could be blessed with both toxic carcinogens AND burning toxic nuclear waste.

        Obviously they should try to put out the fire, but that is easier said than done - underground trash fires cam be hard (and expensive) to put out, hence the concern.

        History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

        by quill on Fri May 10, 2013 at 09:32:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How much trash are they (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quill

          sitting on? And why would anybody build a city on top of a dump? Who would live there? This all sounds very ugly. Missouri is notable for its 'creative' ways of dealing with toxic waste, isn't it?

          Guess they learned their lesson from Times Beach - don't tell people to move, it costs the gub'ment too much.

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