[ RadSafe ] CNN poll

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Tue Feb 23 17:23:12 CST 2010

>From an engineering point of view Yucca Mountain was fine: it was
entirely adequate to do what it was designed to do.  The arguments
citing ground water and fault lines and proximity to LV were all bogus.
However, all administrations back to at least Carter have bobbled the
ball on this, and let the political aspects completely overcome
practical aspects.  Friends in Nevada tell me that it is impossible to
even discuss the matter rationally, and that denouncing radioactive
material at YM is a prerequisite for having any chance at political
office, regardless of party.  

Even with that, I would be willing to see the issue pushed, were it not
clear to me that no spent fuel disposal site is necessary, and that
there are a vast number of sites adequate for the storage that is

I have confidence that someday there will be spent fuel reprocessing in
the United States.  I have less confidence that it will be any time
soon, but I am more hopeful than I was at this stage in the last
administration, or the one before that, or the one before that.  One of
the neat things about SNF is that it doesn't get stale and loose potency
by sitting around (at least not on a time frame that I care about).  On
the other hand, every decade or three that it sits in storage simplifies
handling and reprocessing.  

The bigger question is whether reprocessing will be done as part of
keeping our economy strong, or trying to lever it out of has-been

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On
Behalf Of garyi at trinityphysics.com
Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 2:22 PM
To: radsafelist Radsafe
Subject: RE: [ RadSafe ] CNN poll

I am ignorant of what made it a lost cause.  Can you provide background?
Also, I'ld be more 
inclined to share your hope if there had been even a hint of possibly
maybe someday 


On 23 Feb 2010 at 13:47, Brennan, Mike  (DOH) wrote:

Yucca Mountain was a lost cause; trying to force the issue would have
consumed time and effort and probably not gotten anywhere.  I hope that
part of the reason the President chose not to go down that path is that
someone pointed out that as a spent fuel disposal site, Yucca Mountain
was based on a false premise; that spent fuel should be disposed of.  

Spent fuel can be stored in cooling pools until it decays down to the
point where it can't damage itself, then it can be moved to dry cask
storage.  Under any reasonable scenario it can stay there until someone
wants to recycle it into more fuel (and no, I don't accept civilization
collapsing to the point where no one understands the signs, and the last
man and woman wrap themselves around a cask for warmth, all within the
next 50 years).  

"No nuclear waste" is not going to happen, but waste has never been the
technological sticking point with nuclear power.

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