[ RadSafe ] Editorial: (Nuclear) Waste Matters

John Jacobus crispy_bird at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 2 15:51:31 CDT 2006

>From PhysicsWeb at

Waste matters
Editorial: June 2006

Plans for a waste repository are needed before new
nuclear power stations are built

Nuclear power is "back on the agenda with a vengeance"
said UK prime minister Tony Blair in a forthright
speech last month. His statements were surprising
given that he made them ahead of his own government's
review of energy, which is not due to be announced
until the end of this month. That review is expected
to recommend the construction of a new generation of
nuclear power stations in the UK; Blair's comments are
a strong indication that will indeed be the case.

The energy review comes hot on the heels of a report
by the government-appointed Committee on Radioactive
Waste Management, which was asked to examine what to
do with the country's current and future nuclear
waste. Unfortunately, after three years of
deliberation, the committee has concluded what should
have been blindingly obvious from the start - namely
that nuclear waste should be buried in a deep
underground repository (see pp8-9; print version
only). It does have sensible things to say about the
importance of consulting the public over nuclear
waste, but it falls short on technical

Having wasted much valuable time debating - and then
dismissing - exotic solutions such as firing the waste
into space, the committee has given no clear view on
what kind of repository should be built or even what
kind of geology would be most suitable for such a
site. These decisions still need to be made, which
will only delay construction of a repository still
further. Blair's apparent enthusiasm for nuclear power
is to be welcomed, but a clear long-term plan on what
to do with the waste needs to be in place before the
construction of any new stations begins.

"You get a lot more authority when the workforce doesn't think it's amateur hour on the top floor."
GEN. MICHAEL V. HAYDEN, President Bush's nominee for C.I.A. director.

-- John
John Jacobus, MS
Certified Health Physicist
e-mail:  crispy_bird at yahoo.com

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