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What Should Be Done About Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage?

The New York Times carried an article this week about the use of metal storage casks to store spent nuclear fuel rods.

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The story focused on the 57,000 lb storage casks being held on-site at the LaSalle nuclear power plant near Marseilles, IL.
The station is built on a 3,055-acre site with a 2,058-acre man-made cooling lake, which is also a popular fishery managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Units 1 and 2 began commercial operation in January 1984 and October 1984, respectively. Both of LaSalle’s units are boiling water reactors designed by General Electric.  LaSalle’s Unit 1 is capable of generating 1,138 net megawatts (MW), while Unit 2 is capable of generating 1,150 net MW. Together the units can produce enough energy to power more than 2.3 million average American homes.


More about this issue below the squiggle  ⤵

Spent Fuel Storage in Pools

Most of us have heard much about the storage pools for spent fuel rods. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the resulting calamity at Fukushima have put those pools in the news. Pool storage at LaSalle and the other nuclear facilities across the country and around the world is becoming a bigger problem. The picture below is from LaSalle. It looks kind of pretty blue and calm. How could it be a problem? They are running out of room.

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According to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, these storage pools are safe with concrete and steel construction, deep water which serves as a coolant and shielding. As of the end of 2009, there were 62,683 metric tons of commercial spent fuel accumulated in the United States.

Of that total, 48,818 metric tons – or about 78 percent – were in pools, while 13,856 metric tons – or about 22 percent – were stored in dry casks. The total increases by 2000 to 2400 tons annually.

I visited a pool storage facility in the '70s. At that time, the hope was for the continued development of spent nuclear fuel reprocessing which would allow the fuel pellets in the rods to be made into new enriched pellets for continued use. This was to mitigate the pool storage problem of them eventually filling up to capacity. From the Union of Concerned Scientists...
In the late 1970’s, the United States decided on nuclear non-proliferation grounds not to reprocess spent fuel from U.S. power reactors, but instead to directly dispose of it in a deep underground geologic repository where it would remain isolated from the environment for at least tens of thousands of years.

While some supporters of a U.S. reprocessing program believe it would help solve the nuclear waste problem, reprocessing would not reduce the need for storage and disposal of radioactive waste. Worse, reprocessing would make it easier for terrorists to acquire nuclear weapons materials, and for nations to develop nuclear weapons programs.

Nuclear Fuel Storage Casks

As pools fill with the cooling spent fuel rods, the older ones can be transferred to dry cask storage. This has been done as early as after 3 years in the pool. Regulations ask for 5 years of pool storage. The normal amount of time is 10 years.

The NRC believes spent fuel pools and dry casks both provide adequate protection of the public health and safety and the environment. Therefore there is no pressing safety or security reason to mandate earlier transfer of fuel from pool to cask.

Many members of congress are calling for the transfer to metal casks to be speeded up, according to Congressman Ed Markey of Mass. They are thought to be capable of withstanding an earthquake or a plane crash, they have no moving parts and they require no electricity. Cooling is provided by air flow through the cask.
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How Long Are They Certified

According to the Spent Fuel Storage FAQ site, NRC regulations do not specify a maximum time for storing spent fuel in pool or cask.

The agency’s “waste confidence decision” expresses the Commission’s confidence that the fuel can be stored safely in either pool or cask for at least 60 years beyond the licensed life of any reactor without significant environmental effects. At current licensing terms (40 years of initial reactor operation plus 20 of extended operation), that would amount to at least 120 years of safe storage.
However, it is important to note that this does not mean NRC “allows” or “permits” storage for that period. Dry casks are licensed or certified for 20 years, with possible renewals of up to 40 years. This shorter licensing term means the casks are reviewed and inspected, and the NRC ensures the licensee has an adequate aging management program to maintain the facility.

Workers who transfer the rods to the casks and them move the casks to the storage pad receive about a quarter of their annual exposure of radiation. Workers avoid raising the casks directly over the fuel in the pools in case it fell. They also stop work with thunderstorms to avoid power outage problems.

Once the casks are set in place outdoors on the concrete pad, maintenance is simple. They are checked twice a day to see that the air vents are not blocked. Cask manufacturers forecast a healthy future for their product.

“I joke my children will be doing my job,” said Joy Russell, a corporate development director at the manufacturer Holtec International.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Originally posted to SciTech on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 09:08 AM PDT.

Also republished by Nuclear Free DK and Community Spotlight.

Poll

Which policy should the U.S. follow?

48%46 votes
17%17 votes
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| 95 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  The used fuel is there (16+ / 0-)

    Great diary - factual and informative.

    One thing to keep in mind in the discussion:  the fuel has already been used and the electricity so generated consumed.  Whatever one thinks of the use of nuclear power in the future, the spent fuel that exists today must be dealt with - there is no escaping that.

    sPh

    •  Very true...thanks. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PeterHug, palantir

      I'd rather not know, than have answers that are wrong - R.Feynman

      by jim in IA on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 09:40:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, it might escape the attention (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P

      of our descendants if it sits around long enough.

      Moderation in most things.

      by billmosby on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 01:29:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Another thing to think about: (6+ / 0-)

      The cost of dealing with and storing this spent fuel is part of the cost of the electricity that was generated using the fuel.

      That "cheap, clean energy" already used 20 to 40 years ago becomes more expensive retroactively as time passes.

      "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?"--Eleanor Roosevelt

      by KJC MD on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 02:00:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Paid for, in some sense (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eigenlambda

        > The cost of dealing with and storing this spent
        > fuel is part of the cost of the electricity that was
        > generated using the fuel.

        Agreed, but it is a controversial issue.  US nuclear electric utilities were promised that the federal government would provide the ultimate disposal means for used fuel, and have been paying into a fund for that purpose since 1982.  At this point the federal gov't has basically said, sorry, can't keep that promise (too much opposition), leaving the utilities without the money but with the fuel.

        sPh

    •  Not Just the Spent Fuel Either (0+ / 0-)

      The problem with these spent nuclear fuel cemeteries is that they contain much more than just spent U235 used to produce the heat for electricity.  They also contain the transmuted bi-products of the U238 which makes up most of the uranium in the fuel rods.  In other words, they contain quite a bit of plutonium generated during the chain reaction process to power the system.  I fail to understand how re-processing the spent fuel could be more dangerous re terrorists getting their hands on fissile material than just allowing it to sit around at commercialsites with no real defense against hostile action.  Further, they're relying on the maintaining of records in commercial operations, whose employees can be suborned through a variety of mechanisms.  Moving one of those casks might be chore, but for the right organization it could be done.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 04:10:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  naw, the plutonium is useful (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bryfry, sphealey

        U-238 is bred into plutonium, at some mixture of 239 to 240.  Considering how long those rods are in the reactor, there's going to be too much 240 for it to be any useful to make weapons out of.  However, the plutonium can be mixed into MOX fuel and burned.

        The problem isn't plutonium, it's other actinides that don't get burned in a thermal neutron reactor and fission byproducts.  Which is why people want to build thorium fast reactors: that will burn up all the actinides.  Which extracts more energy and leaves less waste.

        Spent nuclear fuel would be incredibly, incredibly difficult to weaponize.  Separating the U-235 from the U-238 is already difficult enough- Iran still hasn't been able to do it, and that's with a mass difference 3 times as big.  Even if they get the plutonium purified enough, they'd still need to design a complicated implosion bomb to prevent preignition due to plutonium's tendency to spontaneously fission.  Basically, spent fuel is worthless for weapons purposes, it would be easier to just use uranium.

        U-233 bred from thorium has even more issues that weapons-grade plutonium, and that's why thorium was ignored back when the government was driving the civilian nuclear industry with an eye towards what could be used for weapons also.  Incidentally, if the Air Force hadn't had all those requirements for the Space Shuttle, it would have been a lot cheaper and would probably still be in service.

        Global warming is the inconvenient truth, nuclear power is the inconvenient alternative.

        by eigenlambda on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 04:59:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  India (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim P

          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          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.

          Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

          by Just Bob on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 06:08:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why You Can't Build a Bomb from Spent Fuel (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Just Bob

            http://depletedcranium.com/...

            You're referring to Shakti III, a boosted fission device that was fed reactor-grade plutonium.  From what I hear, this is incredibly difficult technically.

            Global warming is the inconvenient truth, nuclear power is the inconvenient alternative.

            by eigenlambda on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 06:29:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Inrteresting read, but (0+ / 0-)

              Smiling Buddha was in 1974:
              http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              The Shakti series of tests were in 1998:
              http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

              by Just Bob on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 06:50:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Shakti III ate reactor-grade plutonium (0+ / 0-)

                Smiling Buddha was presumably fed plutonium created the usual way for weapons.  Shakti I was apparently a standard thermonuclear design, Shakti II was apparently an experiment in miniaturization, Shakti III was an experiment with using reactor-grade plutonium, I'm not sure what Shakti IV was, and Shakti V was an experiment with U-233 bred from thorium.

                Of course, everyone knows that thorium can possibly be used for weapons.  Nobody does it because if you're going to breed fissile materials, weapons-grade plutonium doesn't spontaneously fission as much and is thus easier to make weapons with, and U-232 has a hard gamma emitter close by in its decay chain, which makes U-233 dangerous for people and electronics.

                A weapon with reactor-grade plutonium needs a source of fast neutrons.  If you have a really good source of fast neutrons, afaik you might as well use natural uranium.

                Global warming is the inconvenient truth, nuclear power is the inconvenient alternative.

                by eigenlambda on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 08:23:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  "must be dealt with" translates "must be paid for" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Just Bob

      I guess the rate payers do that, and it doesn't come out of the Operator's profit.


      Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

      by Jim P on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 06:37:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PeterHug, palantir, jim in IA, Just Bob

    informative

    Scientific Materialism debunked here

    by wilderness voice on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 09:38:56 AM PDT

  •  What should be done with dangerous fossil fuel.... (20+ / 0-)

    ...waste crypts?

    Oh, I know, breathe them.

    How is it that the only so called "waste" that people actually give a rat's ass about are actually those that do the least amount of damage?

    Take a look at your photograph again and recognize that each of those canisters represents the energy to power millions of homes.

    They're held in single canisters.

    They contain some of the most valuable materials in the world.

    Now try to imagine the equivalent of that waste that nobody cares about, coal waste.

    The compact nature of used nuclear fuel is one of the many environment strengths of nuclear enegy, despite the illiterate babbling of the freaks at the New York Times who hate the science of Fermi, Seaborg, Wigner and many other people who were vastly smarter than that bumbling collection of scientific illiterates and innumerates.

    •  Excellent comments. You have a sense of scale... (6+ / 0-)

      by that comparison. I like that.

      I'd rather not know, than have answers that are wrong - R.Feynman

      by jim in IA on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 09:42:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fossil fuel waste crypt, also known as... (6+ / 0-)

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 12:43:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  One of the points of the diary IMHO, is that we (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P

      are running out of room for these extremely hazardous materials that as of now, don't have any further use other than toxic radiation yard ornaments. Coal pollution is bad enough, but this does not have any solutions yet. So don't tell me about all these strengths. They are negated by the facts of waste product and efficiency loss. And oh yeah, radiation hazards. Respectful sarcasm intended.

      •  And another thing. Japan just trashed their entire (0+ / 0-)

        country because they lied about their safety measures and worse yet, didn't do nearly enough to plan/research and implement viable, workable, realistic contingency plans.
        Now look at the US's track record. Shudder.  You call this process a strength?

        •  the earthquake/tsunami trashed Japan (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bryfry

          deaths due to earthquake/tsunami: 15538, 7000 still missing
          deaths due to Fukushima catastrophe: 0

          Global warming is the inconvenient truth, nuclear power is the inconvenient alternative.

          by eigenlambda on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 05:02:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Tell that to the survivors when they die of cancer (0+ / 0-)

            after losing all those loved ones.

            •  And how many people die of cancer due to (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bryfry, technomage

              fossil fuels?

              The US coal industry has released orders of magnitude more radiation into the environment than the nuclear industry.

              Coal has plenty of radioactive trace elements.  When you burn coal it they go straight out the smoke stack and into the atmosphere and environment.  

              •  I'm not arguing for coal, just that radiation (0+ / 0-)

                waste is worse than coal. We have a fighting chance of recovering from coal problems. We will never be free of the nuclear wastes.

                •  Pound per pound definitely (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  eigenlambda

                  But megajoule per megajoule, no, especially when you factor in the ability to segregate that waste.

                  We also won't ever be free of the coal waste - radioactives from coal waste are spread out all over the environment anc can never be cleaned up.  Radioactives from nuclear wast are in sealed casks.

                  •  "Sealed caskets" don't last forever and emit (0+ / 0-)

                    radiation as well. What about how, how much and where to store them? Talking about a ticking time bomb.  What about the natural catastrophes that affect our "fail safes"?

                    •  It takes one hell of a catastrophe to destroy (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      bryfry

                      one of those casks.

                      An earthquake?  They just bounce a bit.

                      A flood?  They are too heavy to move - they will just sit there under water.

                      A tsunami?  They're not on the coast.  If the Canary Islands go and we get a tsunami that goes 500 miles inland some radioactive waste will be the least of our worries.

                      A volcano?  A blast like Mount St. Helens could definitely rupture the casks, but they're not in places where volcanoes are likely.

                      About the only natural disaster that could rupture them that I can think of is a meteor strike.

                    •  And let's add that if we get a proper underground (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      bryfry

                      repository like the one that Harry Reid is trying to kill in Nevada it will take damn near an extinction level event to breach the containment.

                      •  I shouldn't have used "natural". Stupidity of man (0+ / 0-)

                        would be more accurate. We are our own worst enemies. We should never had started down this nuclear path to begin with. In short, we don't know what to do about it and we are not smart enough to deal with it.  All you have to do is look at all the problems these nuclear plants have, including the military.

                        Why would you trust that those casks would even be made well and handled correctly in the first place?

                        And if you want to put a more human face to it, look at Tepco using contract labor workers as throwaways so that they didn't have to do the dangerous dirty work themselves.

                        •  Perhaps you're not smart enough to handle (0+ / 0-)

                          nuclear waste, but the rest of us seem to be.

                          I also don't see your problem with Tepco.  The Japanese government (like all civilized governments) has standards for annual  and lifetime radiation exposure.  

                          Tepco has cleanup tasks that will expose people to that maximum level in days or weeks.

                          It makes sense to hire people from outside the nuclear industry (often unskilled laborers) and train them for those one time tasks rather than taking a skilled worker who can handle many different kinds of task and forcing him out of the industry for a day or forever.

                          What is the problem?

            •  That's an interesting question (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bryfry

              has anyone received enough radiation from the Fukushima mess to get cancer from it?

              I don't know.  Certainly, lot's of people have been scared out of their wits about it, people in California were posting all over the Internet about how they weren't given access to potassium iodide that they were told by a lazy, sensationalist media that they needed to protect themselves.  Considering all the nonsense that's been getting reported, I really have no idea what the largest dose anyone has received is, and whether anyone is likely to get cancer.

              TMI wasn't as big a disaster, but ultimately no one was injured by it.  Let's hope the death toll at Fukushima stays at the guy who died from the tsunami.

              Global warming is the inconvenient truth, nuclear power is the inconvenient alternative.

              by eigenlambda on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 08:43:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  If we expect to keep using nuclear power... (7+ / 0-)

    ...we should be reprocessing the fuel.

    And the diarist didn't appear to mention that by State of Illinois law, that is illegal, currently. The spent fuel cannot be moved without intervention from the State Legislature, let alone be reporcessed.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 10:01:42 AM PDT

    •  Yes, this issue has some huge roadblocks... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, palantir, KenBee, ebohlman

      to any solution. I can't see us going any direction but along the current path. And that doesn't have a good ending. In today's political climate, I wouldn't be surprised to see efforts to eliminate nuclear power as one of our energy sources. Why? It's invisible, very powerful, odorless, colorless,.....  Coal and oil are familiar. They can get your hands dirty. They stink.

      I am being sarcastic. But, hey, I've seen stranger arguments before on other issues.

      Thanks for stopping.

      I'd rather not know, than have answers that are wrong - R.Feynman

      by jim in IA on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 10:33:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Per the 'scale' issue... (7+ / 0-)

    while dangerous from a toxic POV...those 70,000 tons could fit in ONE warehouse. That is the 'volume' we are talking about.

    It should be reprocessed to reduce it's toxicity and overall volume.

    Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

    by davidwalters on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 10:35:25 AM PDT

    •  I have always felt we missed the opportunity... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eigenlambda

      by not starting the reprocessing from the start. What a waste and monumental problem we face now.

      Thanks for the comments... jim

      I'd rather not know, than have answers that are wrong - R.Feynman

      by jim in IA on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 11:31:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We didn't miss that opportunity (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jim in IA

        Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

        by Just Bob on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 01:02:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's an interesting story. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Just Bob

          I have not heard of that place. Thanks...Jim

          I'd rather not know, than have answers that are wrong - R.Feynman

          by jim in IA on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 02:23:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  stunning, amazing... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Just Bob

          and supports the notion that maybe nuclear energy isn't the problem - it's us. how could anyone sign off on any of that? it must be partly because people aren't & didn't just start dropping dead. partly because death is inevitable - without any contribution from nuclear waste. and i haven't seen a diary on how easy it is to prove that radioactivity caused "this particular" cancer, so maybe it's not so easy.

          it seems we have a generally negligent attitude toward all the waste we make: burn it, bury it, haul it somewhere else, let it rot. or relocate. lots of folks finding that the most viable option these days.

          too bad spent fuel doesn't just rot into something nice.

  •  What do the French do with their waste? n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 12:44:06 PM PDT

    •  Link (0+ / 0-)

      Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

      by Just Bob on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 01:07:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The French (6+ / 0-)

      "reprocess" (i.e., recycle) their fuel to recover the useful parts. They recover the plutonium (Pu) and the uranium (RepU). The remaining part, a small proportion of the spent fuel, consists primarily of fission products (those "half atoms" that result when uranium or plutonium nuclei split in two). It is encased in glass for safe keeping and currently is all stored beneath the floor of one room at the recycling center in Normandy.

      The Pu that is salvaged in this process is blended with uranium and is used as new fuel to generate electricity in French reactors. The RepU can also be converted to new fuel, but it must be enriched first. (RepU has a higer percentage of U-235, the fissile isotope, than natural uranium, however.)

      An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
      -- H. L. Mencken

      by bryfry on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 01:14:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Reprocessing requires a fleet of fast breeders (0+ / 0-)

        That seems to be a problem. The MOX program hasn't worked well in France. Reprocessing MOX fuel is another problem. French utilities favor the once through cycle for economic reasons.

        One aspect of fast breeders that doesn't get much attention is control-ability. In a conventional reactor a local hot spot is self limiting to some degree. The increased heat leads to dimensional changes that reduce the fission cross section. At a minimum that produces a plateau that gives the operator time to react.

        That isn't true in a fast breeder. It happens too quickly. It's been said that we avoided much greater damage to the Fermi 1 reactor by a matter of seconds when the operator scrammed the reactor.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/...

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

        by Just Bob on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 01:57:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, Bob (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eigenlambda

          No fast breeders are required.

          All of the plutonium and uranium that has been recovered from their spent fuel has been used in their existing fleet of Pressurized Water Reactors.

          An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
          -- H. L. Mencken

          by bryfry on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 02:52:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not true (0+ / 0-)

            Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

            by Just Bob on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 03:01:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Bob, you're a dumbass (1+ / 3-)
              Recommended by:
              sphealey
              Hidden by:
              Jim P, joe from Lowell, indycam

              So France has reprocessing, but doesn't have a "fleet of fast breeders." How do you explain that, Einstein?

              You do know that they use the plutonium that they recover, don't you? Even the article that you cite says so.

              An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
              -- H. L. Mencken

              by bryfry on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 04:06:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  HR for ad hominem and failure to read the link n/t (0+ / 0-)

                Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

                by Just Bob on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 06:10:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  HR abuse (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sphealey

                  Read my link. From the rules:

                  there is one particular reason troll ratings should never be used: to express disagreement with a poster's opinion. ...

                  Do not troll rate someone you are actively having a fight with. If you are in a heated argument with someone, you should not be judging whether or not what they say is trollworthy. Leave it to others to decide what behavior is or isn't over the line

                  And you still haven't addressed the points that I raised.

                  An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                  -- H. L. Mencken

                  by bryfry on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 06:18:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There is no heat here (0+ / 0-)

                    Ad hominem on your part doesn't immunize you.

                    My posts have been factual with links from reliable sources.

                    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

                    by Just Bob on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 06:26:42 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Bullshit (0+ / 0-)

                      In addition to using a HR in a conversation in which you are a primary participant (one of only two), you violated the more important rule:

                      troll ratings should never be used .. to express disagreement with a poster's opinion.

                      Your posts have not been factual, and they have failed to substantiate your original claim. For example, you have not explained why France and the UK both have reprocessing without having any fast reactors. It was explained to you here, but you refuse to pay attention.

                      Your stupid link doesn't even support what you claim.

                      As usual, Bob, you're out in left field. You don't understand what you're talking about. You're just being a dick about it this time by dropping an inappropriate HR.

                      An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                      -- H. L. Mencken

                      by bryfry on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 07:25:57 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Uprated (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Meteor Blades

                  Ad hominem charge is correct and should be apologized for, but it is not good policy to HR a comment replying to the rater's parent post.

                  sPh

                  •  The gentleman in question makes it a habit (0+ / 0-)

                    to introduce the heat and then claim it's a heated discussion. I don't give many HRs, but I do believe such behavior should be moderated.

                    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

                    by Just Bob on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 06:34:18 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I answered a legitimate question (0+ / 0-)

                      in good faith.

                      It was you who interfered with misinformation. I tried to be civil with my first explanation. You, however, chose to respond in a very lazy way by reposting your original link. Can't you form a single argument on your own?

                      Pathetic. After that, I figured the gloves come off. You won't respect my reply, then I shouldn't respect yours. It's no good crying about it now.

                      An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                      -- H. L. Mencken

                      by bryfry on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 07:34:57 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  And I've used the same link again with quotes (0+ / 0-)

                        Please respond to the facts and avoid the insults. Bits flowing over a wire really don't intimidate me.

                        Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

                        by Just Bob on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 07:40:22 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  From bryfry's link (0+ / 0-)
                    Any and all insults are HRable. Although users are never required to uprate any comment, it is considered a violation of site policy to uprate a comment with an insult in it.

                    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

                    by Just Bob on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 06:54:43 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  and this from MB (0+ / 0-)

                    http://www.dailykos.com/...

                    To repeat what I have often said, the key is that insults of all types are HRable. It doesn't mean that they HAVE to be HRed. Totally voluntary. Somebody who insults someone else and gets HRed for it shouldn't expect any relief form me. But users are warned when they UPRATE insults - because this encourages insulters to repeat their behavior.

                    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

                    by Just Bob on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 07:05:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  I'll save you some time (0+ / 0-)

                From page 4 of the link:

                Despite its record of technical success, La Hague’s business lost much of its shine during the past decade. By the mid-1990s, France’s European partners were rethinking the wisdom of their investment in La Hague and, one by one, stopped shipping their spent fuel. From its 1997 to 1998 peak of 1700 metric tons per year, La Hague’s throughput sharply decreased by 2003 to an average of 1100 metric tons per year. In part, France’s partners were responding to grassroots concerns about the security of spent fuel and plutonium shipments [see sidebar, ”The Terrorist Threat”]. But the ultimate cause for the slump traces back to the demise of the next-generation reactors designed to consume La Hague’s plutonium, the so-called fast breeders.
                [...]
                The reason for expanding La Hague in the 1980s was to produce a first load of plutonium fuel for what was to be a fleet of breeder reactors. Energy analysts, alarmed by the oil-supply manipulations of the 1970s, had predicted a rush into nuclear power that would exhaust uranium reserves in a matter of decades. ”We were projecting that by 2010 nothing but fast [breeder] reactors would be built,” recalls one such analyst, Evelyne Bertel, an expert in nuclear fuel cycles at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency, in Paris.
                [...]
                Starting in the mid-1980s, the Superphénix suffered a series of sodium leaks. Meanwhile the nuclear industry peaked and uranium prices crashed, eliminating the imperative to switch to plutonium fuel. The reactor went through several shutdowns and restarts before the French government finally pulled the plug for good in 1998. By then the reactor had run just 174 days at its full 1250-MW design capacity. A French government investigation in 2000 estimated that the project had cost about 9 billion (US $11.8 billion).

                Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

                by Just Bob on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 06:22:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  here (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  bryfry, billmosby

                  Fromhere:

                  At the end of 2008 Areva and EdF announced a renewed agreement to reprocess and recycle EdF's used fuel to 2040, thereby securing the future of both La Hague and Melox plants.  The agreement supports Areva's aim to have La Hague reprocessing operating at 1500 t/yr by 2015, instead of two thirds of that in 2008.  It also means that EdF increases the amount of its used fuel sent for reprocessing to 1050 t/yr from 2010, and Melox produces 120 t/yr MOX fuel for EdF then, up from 100 tonnes in 2009.  It also means that EdF will recycle used MOX fuel.

                  The point here is that 100% of the recycled fuel is for existing LWRs, regardless of the shift away from breeders.

                  More....

                  France's back-end strategy and industrial developments are to evolve progressively in line with future needs and technological developments. The existing plants at La Hague (commissioned around 1990) have been designed to operate for at least forty years, so with operational and technical improvements taking place on a continuous basis they are expected to be operating until around 2040. This will be when Generation IV plants (reactors and advanced treatment facilities) should come on line. In this respect, three main R&D areas for the next decade include:

                      The COEX process based on co-extraction and co-precipitation of uranium and plutonium together as well as a pure uranium stream (eliminating any separation of plutonium on its own). This is designed for Generation III recycling plants and is close to near-term industrial deployment.
                      Selective separation of long-lived radionuclides (with a focus on Am and Cm separation) from short-lived fission products based on the optimization of DIAMEX-SANEX processes for their recycling in Generation IV fast neutron reactors with uranium as blanket fuel. This option can also be implemented with a combination of COEX and DIAMEX-SANEX processes.
                      Group extraction of actinides (GANEX process) as a long term R&D goal for a homogeneous recycling of actinides (ie U-Pu plus minor actinides together) in Generation IV fast neutron reactors as driver fuel.

                  All three processes are to be assessed as they develop, and one or more will be selected for industrial-scale development with the construction of pilot plants. In the longer term the goal is to have integral recycling of uranium, plutonium and minor actinides. In practical terms, a technology - hopefully GANEX or similar - will need to be validated for industrial deployment of Gen IV fast reactors about 2040, at which stage the present La Hague plant will be due for replacement.

                  So basically they are forging ahead with reprocessing and not listening to what are basically politically motivated nay-sayers.

                  More importantly, it gets rid of a lot of the waste...anti-nuclear perspectives are all "NO" with no constructive ideas of their own on who to deal with the spent fuel.

                  As you can see...the French are planning WAY ahead to deal with it. And, as bryfry noted: there is very little of it anyway.

                  Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

                  by davidwalters on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 08:25:41 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Uncalled for language set off a needless war. hr. (0+ / 0-)

                Art is the handmaid of human good.

                by joe from Lowell on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 08:19:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Just Bob, you should not be HRing... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bryfry, indycam, allergywoman

                ...bryfry, and likewise, he should not be HRing you.

                Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

                by Meteor Blades on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 10:19:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  A clarification (0+ / 0-)

            Feasibility has three legs:

            Scientific feasibility
            Technical feasibility
            Economic feasibility

            It on that last leg that recycling and fast breeders fail. As long as there are less expensive alternatives, there's little motivation.

            Thus:

            From its 1997 to 1998 peak of 1700 metric tons per year, La Hague’s throughput sharply decreased by 2003 to an average of 1100 metric tons per year. In part, France’s partners were responding to grassroots concerns about the security of spent fuel and plutonium shipments [see sidebar, ”The Terrorist Threat”]. But the ultimate cause for the slump traces back to the demise of the next-generation reactors designed to consume La Hague’s plutonium, the so-called fast breeders.
            [...]
            With breeder reactors out of the picture for the foreseeable future, France tried to find a new role for La Hague’s plutonium. The solution was to re-engineer Areva’s fuel assembly plant at Marcoule, originally designed to make fuel bundles for the Superphénix, to instead produce plutonium-enriched fuel elements for conventional reactors. By blending plutonium and depleted uranium, in a ratio of 8 percent to 92 percent, the plant created so-called mixed-oxide, or MOX, fuel, which can be substituted for enriched uranium fuel after just minor modifications to a conventional reactor. Today MOX fuel provides close to 10 percent of France’s nuclear power generation and is also used in Belgium, Germany, Japan, and Switzerland.

            The downside is that spent MOX fuel is even tougher to transport, store, and reprocess than regular used fuel. Spent MOX fuel contains four to five times as much plutonium, increasing the risk of unexpected nuclear chain reactions, called accidental criticalities, within reprocessing plants. Spent MOX is also three times as hot as spent uranium fuel, thanks to an accumulation of transuranic isotopes such as americium and curium, making it less fit for underground storage.

            Therefore, according to a 2000 consensus report on reprocessing prepared for France’s prime minister, spent MOX must cool for 150 years before it can go into an underground waste repository such as Yucca Mountain [see sidebar: ”The Prickly Economics of Reprocessing”]. Meanwhile, spent MOX fuel is piling up quickly in La Hague’s cooling ponds: the 543-metric-ton accumulation grows by 100 metric tons every year.

            The article should be required reading for all who wish to engage in such discussions. Here's the link again:
            http://spectrum.ieee.org/...

            Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

            by Just Bob on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 07:17:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Just Bob
              At the end of 2008 Areva and EdF announced a renewed agreement to reprocess and recycle EdF's used fuel to 2040, thereby securing the future of both La Hague and Melox plants.  The agreement supports Areva's aim to have La Hague reprocessing operating at 1500 t/yr by 2015, instead of two thirds of that in 2008.  It also means that EdF increases the amount of its used fuel sent for reprocessing to 1050 t/yr from 2010, and Melox produces 120 t/yr MOX fuel for EdF then, up from 100 tonnes in 2009.  It also means that EdF will recycle used MOX fuel.

              In other words they can reprocess the MOX fuel. Now...is that a GOOD thing or not?

              Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

              by davidwalters on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 08:27:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  "...is that a GOOD thing or not?" (0+ / 0-)

                If they have spent MOX fuel on hand, the alternative to recycling is allowing it to cool for 150 years before it can be placed in a depository.

                Please see my post down thread:

                http://www.dailykos.com/...

                Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

                by Just Bob on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 08:40:20 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  But why...if they spent MOX let them (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  bryfry

                  reprocess as they are planning to do now, thus reducing the toxicity and volume, making yet more fuel and less waste.

                  Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

                  by davidwalters on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 09:07:42 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Those are needed to burn all the actinides (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bryfry, billmosby

          if you just want to sort the fuel into uranium, plutonium, dangerous fission byproducts, and non-dangerous fission byproducts, all you need is some chemistry.  Fast breeders are for burning up actinides, and maybe also for deactivating certain dangerous byproducts.

          Global warming is the inconvenient truth, nuclear power is the inconvenient alternative.

          by eigenlambda on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 05:09:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And reasonably sized fast breeders (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bryfry

            are very controllable; they can be controlled just by taking more or less heat out of them as required. EBR-II was used to demonstrate that a couple of times.

            I'm not advocating that any more be built, I should add; just contributing a little bit that I know about one of them.

            Moderation in most things.

            by billmosby on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 10:02:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  send it to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billmosby

      An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. -Benjamin Franklin

      by martinjedlicka on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 03:52:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I saw the rest of that stuff, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bryfry

        if I have interpreted linked article's description of it correctly. Or at least I have seen freshly enriched fuel (in the form of uranium hexafluoride) being loaded into multi-ton containers for eventual shipment to France, I believe. Mainly in Novouralsk, but I have seen the transfer equipment in Seversk and also in Zelenogorsk. I used to work on the HEU Transparency program, from which the U. S. has gotten about half of its nuclear fuel for the past 15 years. And no, there was no agreement to send the spent fuel back there, sorry.

        The DU shouldn't be sitting around in the open, that's true. But it's far from the most nasty stuff around there- Seversk had a number of RBMK Pu production reactors operating when I was there (2004, 2005). They are still there but have been shut down. The U.S. helped finance the coal burning powerplants that replaced them; the production reactors also supplied power and heat to Seversk, if not also to Tomsk, of which Seversk is a suburb.

        Moderation in most things.

        by billmosby on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 04:04:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Marseilles.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ebohlman, jim in IA

    is in LaSalle county Illinois, county seat: Ottawa.
    Ottawa was the site of at least one of the factories where they painted the radium dials of those glow-in-the-dark watches.

    You'd think they'd want that stuff out of there.

    With all the talk about renewables and co-generation, I would have thought they would be trying to get some electricity from those pools, as well as the cannisters.

    Lot of waste heat there.

    •  Industrial zone (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billmosby

      > Marseilles...
      > is in LaSalle county Illinois, county seat: Ottawa.
      > Ottawa was the site of at least one of the factories
      > where they painted the radium dials of those glow-in-
      > the-dark watches.

      The entire area along the Illinois River from Joliet to Peru (Illinois) is filled with refineries, chemical plants, and similar industrial businesses.  This isn't new or even unusual to people living in that zone.

      sPh

      Fun fact:  Marseilles Illinois is pronounced Mar-Sales, not per the French word.

    •  I remember that from a long time ago. (0+ / 0-)

      I'd rather not know, than have answers that are wrong - R.Feynman

      by jim in IA on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 02:25:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I say launch the waste directly into the sun. (0+ / 0-)

    And yes, it CAN be packed up safely enough to survive a catastrophic launch accident or accidental re-entry. Consider the 1986 Challenger launch disaster. Despite the massive explosion merely feet away from them, many, if not all, of the crew survived the blast, and, sadly, perished only when the Crew Cabin impacted the water. My point is that solid metal nuclear waste can surely be packed up even more securely than fragile human bodies, so much so that simple, reliable, single-use rockets can be employed to rid our planet of this dangerous scourge forever.

    There are two political aisles: Center-Left and Center-Right. It's impossible to cross them both. Republicans know this and govern accordingly; Democrats don't.

    by Jimdotz on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 07:09:45 PM PDT

  •  Excellent and informative! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Mr. Boehner, where are the jobs?

    by Tx LIberal on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 07:43:51 PM PDT

  •  The Illogic of Reprocessing (0+ / 0-)

    Managing Spent Fuel in the United States:
    The Illogic of Reprocessing

    http://www.fissilematerials.org/...

    VI. Conclusions
    The U.S. Government’s current interest in a federally-funded reprocessing program appears to be driven in significant part by an interest in finding a location to which it could ship the older spent fuel accumulating on power reactor sites. Shipments were to have begun to the Yucca Mountain geological repository in 1998 but the licensing of that repository has been delayed repeatedly and is now projected for 2017 at the earliest. If the federal government began to ship spent fuel to a reprocessing site, that would help it limit lawsuits by U.S. nuclear utilities that are seeking federal government reimbursement for their costs for prolonged on-site storage of spent fuel. The reprocessing option would be 4-8 times more costly, however, than on-site dry-cask storage for up to 50 years.

    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 08:27:44 PM PDT

    •  That is true...nothing, at all, problematic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bryfry

      about dry cask storage but it's such a waste. "4 to 8 times more costly...". Really? Compared to what? We talking, at most, about a 1 cent increase per KWhr, if that, to pay for reprocessing, create more fuel (which helps pay for the costs), and lowers overall toxicity.

      Just Bob, you are in a conundrum: you have this small amount of 63,000 tons of spent fuel created over the last 50 years.  We can dry cask it ALL in one place and leave it. Or we can keep it AT the same plants they are now. Or we can reprocess what exists and create more fuel.

      These are 3 solutions proposed by pro-nuclear advocates. The conundrum is this: what do YOU want to do with it? What is the generalized recommendations the anti-nuclear community proposes?

      You will find very little along these lines because the anti-nuclear community would rather have it around to point to, with no program, no solutions and better then to argue about "what to do with all this 'waste'". That's a political reality. ANY solution anyone comes up with is going to be a 'check' in the pro-nuclear column. So, essentially the question is always poised as a rhetorical question, one fraught with hyperbole.

      The answer then for the anti-nuclear community is "fight any solution". Period. Full stop.

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 09:13:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The conundrum is ours, not only mine (0+ / 0-)

        I've posted good, solid, and thoughtful links in this thread and rather than responding to the links I've seen nothing but personal attacks.

        I think it's time for that to end.

        Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

        by Just Bob on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 10:35:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I haven't personally attack you at all...not one (0+ / 0-)

          iota. Respond to me then, please.

          Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

          by davidwalters on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 03:12:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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