Donald Trump

Trump Administration Is Right: Open the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository

Some 70,000 metric tons to nuclear waste is still sitting at nuclear power plants

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YuccaMounationNRC
NRC

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry visited the mothballed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository site in Nevada on Monday. Earlier this month, Texas Attorney General by Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals asserting that federal government violated the law in failing to complete the licensing process for permanent storage of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. President Donald Trump's proposed budget allocates $120 million to restart the licensing process for the facility.

In 1982 Congress committed to finding a permanent site to handle the nuclear waste produced by America's nuclear power plants. In 1987, Congress designated Yucca Mountain as that site and something like $15 billion has been spent on readying it since it was selected. In 2002, the final environmental impact statement concluded that nuclear waste could be safely stored there for at least 10,000 years. The final supplemental environmental impact statement in 2008 came to the same conclusion. When it comes to highly politicized topics, nothing is ever really final final about decisions made by federal bureaucracies. So in 2010, President Barack Obama directed the DOE to close the facility as a favor to Nevada's Sen. Harry Reid.

Despite the Obama administration's attempt to kill the project, in 2013 the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington ordered the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to resume its review of the license application for Yucca Mountain. The court observed that the agency "is simply defying a law enacted by Congress, and the Commission is doing so without any legal basis." In May 2016, the NRC finally issued its assessment that noted:

This supplement evaluates the potential radiological and nonradiological impacts—over a one million year period—on the aquifer environment, soils, ecology, and public health, as well as the potential for disproportionate impacts on minority or low-income populations. In addition, this supplement assesses the potential for cumulative impacts associated with other past, present, or reasonably foreseeable future actions. The NRC staff finds that each of the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on the resources evaluated in this supplement would be SMALL.

The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 requires nuclear power plant operators to pay a tenth of a cent per kilowatt-hour to the government in return for the DOE taking responsibility for spent nuclear fuel. As of 2014 when the Obama administration stopped collecting the fees, the power plants had paid $31 billion to the government to take care of their waste. Some 70,000 metric tons of nuclear waste is still sitting at their plants.

It's well past time to start the process of opening up Yucca Mountain.

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  1. Harry Reid hardest hit

    1. Yeah, screw him. Isn’t ironic that this has been blocked for all these years by the “Party of Science.”

    2. …by an exercise machine

    3. But how can you expect he federal government to fulfill its legal obligations, that’s just crazy talk

  2. Obvious solution is to put the Raider’s new football stadium on top of the facility, since that will apparently get Nevada to support it’s construction.

    1. You hoping the radioactivity will cause genetic mutations that will impart some actual athletic ability to the Raider players?

      1. It’s about goddamn time we had Mutant League Football in real life.

  3. Mmmm, fried yucca…..aaargghhhlll

  4. $120 million to restart the licensing process

    The idea that any licensing process even costs $120,000,000 is ridiculous. $120 mil to restart the process is obscene.

    Government sucks.

    1. what the fuck is the government paying 120 mil for…..they great the fucking license no?

      I would love to see the cronyism in that 120 mil

  5. So basically all of the money collected for stirage since 1982 has funded about 2 years of subsidies for wind and solar. Awesome.


  6. This supplement evaluates the potential radiological and nonradiological impacts?over a one million year period?on the aquifer environment, soils, ecology, and public health, as well as the potential for disproportionate impacts on minority or low-income populations. In addition, this supplement assesses the potential for cumulative impacts associated with other past, present, or reasonably foreseeable future actions. The NRC staff finds that each of the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on the resources evaluated in this supplement would be SMALL.

    Wow, this is about as close to a bitch slap as you’ll ever read in an impact study.

    It turns out if you dig a big hole out in the middle of absolute nowhere and reinforce with a few billion dollars you can be relatively sure that it’ll be fine unless, for some reason, the Earth decides to explode.

    The Saudi’s have built entire islands out of concrete for less money than what we’ve blown on a glorified radioactive hole in the ground. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not necessarily a bad thing when considering radioactive waste, but there is absolutely no reason to close the facility since that waste then sits around not in a hole in the ground out in the middle of nowhere. I think we can agree that is ‘less safe’ than the more-expensive-than-NASA hole.

    1. Also keep in mind that I’m not debating if this should or should not exist; it already does. So at this point the question becomes ‘why aren’t we using our several billion dollar hole that’s already technically paid for’.

  7. Move the Yucca Depository to your backyard. Nuclear bombs are not wanted and nuclear power plants are not needed. The people of Nevada don’t want to be the dumping ground for unneeded nuclear waste from the rest of the country.

    Those who would dump their waste into Yucca Mtn should consider dumping it in their backyard instead. If Trump likes this idea, move the waste dump to under the White House, or better yet, put it in Trump Tower in New York City. See how he likes that idea.

    1. Obviously an intern performing troll duties.

    2. I lived less than 10 miles away from a nuclear power plant for many years, never bothered me one bit.

      1. I once lived about 50 ft above a nuclear power plant, when I was in the Navy. I still have only one head, two arms, and two legs.

        As soon as anyone deigns to ship any waste to Yucca Mountains, the lawyers against it will keep it in litigation until the last radioactive atom in the waste has decayed away. Probably even until every proton in every atom has decayed away. (look it up)

    3. Yo Bill, sucks to be you, BTW, the NRC would like to talk with you about your offer of your backyard as a waste storage facility…got a great deal in lead undies

  8. It would be fitting to bury Mr. Reid at Yucca after he passes on so that he might glow in virtual eternity.

    1. Let’s just name it the “Harry Reid Memorial Nuclear Waste Disposal” with a statue of a spent rod being inserted where the sun don’t shine…

  9. For fuck’s sake it’s not waste! 99% of the uranium is still usable. Recycle that shit. Better yet burn it as is in a molten salt reactor.

  10. Can I propose an out-of-the-box idea on disposing of nuclear waste, not just for the US but for the world. There is always political trouble in finding an appropriate location for disposing and storing nuclear waste, even though the risks are generally enormously overstated.

    The western two thirds of Australia would rank as one of the most geologically stable areas in the world where we would have timelines of hundreds of millions of years for safe storage of long life wastes.

    my recommendation a world nuclear waste repository be located in South Australia, a mendicant state in Australia going broke and destroying its few industries. (Run by the equivalent of the US Democrats, but I expect the political complexion to change at their next election.) It would be a new industry for them and even a dedicated port and railway could be established to a repository in the middle of nowhere.

    Australia also has the advantage of having developed the technology of Synroc where radioactive elements are combined rock and stored like the original radioactive elements were in granite.

    Political wins for the US, Australia and the rest of the world not wanting to store such waste.

    all the world’s radioactive waste could be stored in a few square miles and in such an isolated area the security would be simple.

    Consider this a simple proposed solution for political problems of governments from the general fear of the word ‘radioactive’.

  11. Great read. One thing the French diddone well since the 70s was switch to nuclear power for electricity. And unlike us, they did it right. They have one side and waste disposal guarded by the French army. Not us, although we try to fix it. As usual Democrat screwed it up. From the article:

    “…(Obama) Aministration’s attempt to kill the project, in 2013 the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington ordered the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to resume its review of the license application for Yucca Mountain. The court observed that the agency “is simply defying a law enacted by Congress, and the Commission is doing so without any legal basis.” In May 2016, the NRC finally issued its assessment that noted:…”

    An agency of the B Hussein Obama regime flouting the law. Pershing the thought!

    Well, I now have one reason to see Harry Reid steal oxygen. We have to name the site the Harry Reid Toxic Waste Facility. Then he can die. Hell, we’ll bury his ass there. Appropriate.

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