Senator calls for recycling nuclear fuel

nuclear reactor
Pete Domenici (R-NM) is calling for recycling of nuclear waste in the US. Many other countries already do this. If you’re going to have nuclear power, why not use as much of the fuel as possible? There are currently 31 application for new nukes in the US, which will no doubt create monumental opposition as well as support.

Nukes are not a long-term solution, but they do produce huge amounts of cheap no-carbon energy. Oddly, recycling the fuel then makes it become weapons grade, so secure storage is certainly problematic. Matthew Simmons, investment banker to the energy business, says nukes take so long to build and so much carbon is emitted in doing so, that they need to run for decades to become carbon-neutral again.

No easy answers here.

2 Responses to Senator calls for recycling nuclear fuel

  1. John Couzin Fri, Apr 11, 2008 at 6:45 am #

    I believe there is an easy answer, leave nuclear power alone. That way you don’t have the problems with the 100,000 years safe storage and you don’t have the big money eager to create weapons grade nuclear material from the waste, you don’t have radiation leaks and you don’t leave a legacy of insanity to the next and the next and the next generations. There are enough alternatives to start pushing them and still more innovative ideas being developed all the time, put the money, the effort into the alternatives and the number will grow as each new idea is developed and expanded. Think, solar, wind, wave, current, hydro, algae and others, and from each of these a thousand variations can be developed. It requires the political will to push with some effort and sincerity, however in this type society it also requires the big money to get behind these ideas and they will only do so when they see big money it it for them.

  2. RedCharlie Sun, Apr 13, 2008 at 12:16 am #

    Nuclear waste is the elephant in the room when it comes to nuke power. Everything else pales in comparison. A nuke plant has at most a 50 year lifespan, the high level waste will remain “worse than natural ore” for at least 10 to 100 times that long, and if you think natural ores are safe go test your basement for Radon.

    But there is one technology that would make me a fan of nuclear power. Converting radiation directly into electricity (reminds me of solar panels).

    If this stuff works, it would allow for completely solid-state, passive, and safe nuclear “batteries” that would produce power for as long as their contents are radioactive.