Posted by: sternenfeeinflorida | 10 November 2010

Something to think about…

As you may or may not have heard, after a 92 hour journey (the longest to date), the latest shipments of Castor containers arrived in Gorleben. The nuclear waste in those containers had been reprocessed in La Hague, France, before being shipped to the temporary storage in Gorleben.
Protests against nuclear energy are not new to me, after all, I grew up with the protests against building a nuclear power plant in Brokdorf (which by the way has been off the grid longer than it had been on).
While the protesters along the route of the Castor transport have my full support, I was wondering what the United States are doing with their nuclear waste. After all, if you have nuclear power plants, you will have nuclear waste.
A brief moment of research shows that the United States don’t have a final storage place for its nuclear waste either. The Yucca Mountain depository has turned out to be a money pit but by no means an acceptable storage place. Aside from its location, which is good and really, really bad at the same time, depending on how you look at it, the depository wouldn’t be able to hold all nuclear waste even if it were to be completed!
This means that the nuclear waste is stored where it was created, even if the power plant has gone off the grid a long time ago and everyone who buys electricity pays for the costs involved.
When talking about nuclear waste, it may make sense to realize that the time frame it has to be stored is thousands of years. Corrosion and dissolution are serious concerns that have to be addressed when trying to find a final storage place.
Now, one could argue that neither you nor me will encounter the nuclear apocalypse and that planet earth will not exist at that point anymore anyway, but what if it does and what if it doesn’t take thousands of years for the containers to corrode and contaminate our environment?
I find it amazing that the nuclear energy industry is allowed (and supported!!) by the government to build nuclear power plants without having to present any plan on what to do with the waste! How this could have slipped by is beyond me.

But apparently, the American people aren’t too concerned what happens with the waste from their nuclear power plants.
I guess since they never had to encounter the effects of Chernobyl, they see no reason to worry.
I was 9 years old when the explosion in Chernobyl occurred and the effects are still lingering. Boar meat and wild chanterelles should still not be consumed because of their radioactive contamination.
My wish for the future would be to abandon nuclear energy as soon as possible, to stop creating even more waste that I doubt anyone would like to have in their backyard. Be less wasteful with the energy you are currently using and request from your government more money for research and development of alternate, renewable energy sources!

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Responses

  1. I have been philosophically in favour of the utilisation of nuclear energy for the generation of electricity for a long time. It was only after reading your blog that I have come to realise that there is a major problem regarding the storage of nuclear waste. But I think the need for this nation to wean itself off of fossil fuels will propel scientists to find even more reliable & efficient methods to store this very dangerous nuclear waste. Your article did make me think Sunje.


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