Saturday, June 11, 2011

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The news has been carrying stories of unprofessional conduct on the part of Obama appointed NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko. According to the Wall St Journal, Jaczko was appointed to kill off the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository. This was to make the Nevada greens happy and get them to vote Obama in 2008. Jaczko has been accused of various illegal and unethical actions by the NRC inspector general. The affair ought to be on TV this coming week as Congressional hearing get under way.
A couple of things one ought to know, that the MSM doesn't talk about.
First, the nuclear wastes, actually spend fuel rods from commercial power reactors, don't need a super expensive under mountain storage facility way out in the desert. Fuel rods removed from reactors are placed in pools of water (swimming pools essentially) on the reactor site. They are very happy there, and it's safe, and economical. They can stay there, just about forever.
Second, if we were to recycle the fuel rods, the problem would go away. The spent fuel rods are still 90% fissionable uranium. All that is necessary is to remove the 10% fission products and you have most of a new fuel rod, ready to go on producing more electricity. Most other nuclear countries recycle their fuel rods.
What we really have here is a political contest between the greenies who want to shut down nuclear power generation, and the NIMBY's who don't want Yucca Mountain to open up in their state.

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