[ RadSafe ] [ RadSafe Yucca Mtn.

Jerry Cohen jjc105 at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 21 21:20:50 CDT 2010

Certainly not in the US Congress, but hopefully there may be a few on radsafe. I 
suspect that you are one of them   Jerry

From: Steven Dapra <sjd at swcp.com>
To: radsafe at agni.phys.iit.edu
Sent: Tue, September 21, 2010 5:26:51 PM
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] [ RadSafe Yucca Mtn.

Sept. 21


        You ended your proposal by saying " , , , and for that reason ought to 
be acceptable to reasonable people."

        Where do you propose to find these "reasonable people"?  (Rhetorical 
question, of course --- heh, heh).

Steven Dapra

At 09:03 PM 9/20/2010, Jerry Cohen wrote:
> Since my views on the Yucca Mountain Project to the effect that the YMP is, and 
>always has been a dumb idea seem to have elicited some comments (mostly 
>negative), from Radsafers, perhaps I should elaborate. To provide some 
>perspective on the subject, allow me first to discuss the history of the 
>development of HLW policy in the USA to give some idea on how the situation 
>degenerated into its currently dismal state. Then, for what it is worth, I shall 
>give my ideas on how nuclear waste should be managed in this country.
> The problem began, I believe, in 1957 when the AEC decided it needed to 
>establish a policy for managing HLW. Accordingly, the AEC requested the NAS to 
>form an expert committee to make recommendations. Unfortunately, since this 
>committee consisted almost entirely of geologists and other earth scientists, it 
>was apparently predetermined that underground burial of the HLW was the only 
>reasonable method for disposing the waste. Initially, it was recommended that 
>HLW, appropriately solidified, be emplaced in abandoned salt mines, where it 
>could remain indefinitely since it was unlikely that water would infiltrate. 
>Several years and millions of dollars later, for various political and technical 
>reasons the idea was abandoned and the AEC, and successor organizations (ERDA, & 
>DOE) embarked on a series of unsuccessful, schemes to bury the waste somewhere 
>that would be technologically and politically acceptable. This approach also 
>turned out to be a fiasco because pretty much everywhere (including Nevada) was 
>in somebody's "backyard". During this period a few "voices in the wilderness" 
>,including myself, recommended that oceanic deposal, might be the best bet. 
>Foremost, among them was Charles Osterberg, a prominent oceanographer working 
>with the IAEA and, Director of their Marine Laboratory. The capacity of  the 
>ocean to dilute is so great that even if all the HLW were  to dissolve (an 
>absurd possibility) the radioactive concentration would still be insignificant 
>from a public health standpoint. If the HLW were vitrified or solidified into an 
>insoluble form, the health and safety consequences would be of no consequence. 
>Of course, the actual consequences are unimportant compared to the perceived 
>effects. This simple observation was apparent to just about everyone involved 
>with HLW policy. Accordingly , if the perception of hazard (real or imagined) is 
>the overriding consideration in gaining acceptability for any HLW management 
>policy, why have we wasted billions of dollars on technological research 
>including waste solidification methods and geologic studies? Does anyone really 
>believe that Senator Reid cares about the solubility of the waste form, the 
>migration rate of dissolved waste, or the calculated radiation dose that might 
>result from any "worst case" scenario. I seriously doubt it. He just doesn't 
>want it in his backyard!
>       OK, so what policy for HLW management should be applied, I suggest:
> 1. All nuclear fuel should be reprocessed and all fissile material recovered 
>for fuel fabrication or other useful purposes.
> 2. The raffinates including all unusable fission products should be solidified 
>by mixing it in concrete and emplaced and solidified in suitable drums
> 3. The waste containing drums should be transported to the deepest part of the 
>ocean, and dropped to descend (>10 km.) to the ocean floor.
> I realize that the actual application would be much more complex, but I think 
>you can get the idea from the suggested steps . I am sure you can think or lots 
>of reasons why this will not work, but I really believe that no matter how 
>distasteful this approach might be to the "Greenies" , it would absolutely 
>minimize resultant radiation exposure and for that reason ought to be acceptable 
>to reasonable people.
> Jerry Cohen

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