Interim Nuclear Waste Storage Issues And Consequences

Spent fuel pools across the USA have filled up. Once that happens, dry cask storage is the next solution. We have so much more nuclear waste in our pools compared to Fukushima, where nuclear waste caught on fire and contaminated the entire world.
Silos are made up of inner steel containers which hold the fuel rods, and that is surrounded by a thick concrete to shield the radiation. They are about ten feet around and twenty feet tall, containing about 20 tons of nuclear high level waste. 
At Davis Besse site, horizontal bunkers are used to store high level nuclear waste. 640,000 fuel rods were stored at Fukushima. 1700 tons of high level nuclear waste is a HUGE amount of radioactivity. At this point, no one knows how much of that burned up and went up into the atmosphere. Some experts believe that up to 50% of the total 1,700 tons of high level nuclear waste radioactivity went up into the air or into the Pacific Ocean at Fukushima either through melt downs, melt throughs, and/or fires and explosions. Much of this has been covered up, minimized and denied by the nuclear industry because this disaster is so much bigger than Chernobyl was, and it had global negative repercussions. 
Fukushima reactors 1,2 and 3 melted down and exploded. Unit 2 completely melted through the bottom. Multiple spent fuel pools caught on fire. The disaster continues on today. 
This same chain reaction disaster that happened at Fukushima can happen at any nuclear power plant in the USA. The longer and more nuclear waste builds up at US plants, the more dangerous it gets. The answer from the nuclear industry is that this high level nuclear waste should be moved around and put into ‘temporary’ storage sites, where high level nuclear waste from many nuclear plants would be concentrated into one ‘super’ storage site. 
This cheap or free way to dispose of nuclear waste, and put the financial and risk burden on taxpayers, would also allow many nuclear plants to keep operating, since their storage pools are full. Nuclear plants do not want to spend the money to ‘dry cask’ their nuclear waste. 

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Tell Sen. Feinstein: Prevent Mobile Chernobyl, Stop “Interim” Radwaste Storage


February 14, 2013
Dear Californians,
Senator Dianne Feinstein is a senior member of the Senate Energy Committee, which makes her an important player in Congress on many nuclear issues–especially the future of radioactive waste policy in the U.S. And as her constituents, your activism and actions will play an outsize role in the entire national fight for a scientifically and environmentally responsible radioactive waste policy and the building of a nuclear-free carbon-free energy future.
As you know, President Obama kept his campaign promise and ended the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nevada radioactive waste project (although some Republicans will try to bring it back this year….). In response to that, and the Energy Department’s recommendations based on its Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC), Senate Energy Committee Chair Sen. Wyden says he plans to release a new version of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act in the next couple of weeks.
Unfortunately, Sen. Feinstein has been working closely with Republicans Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Lamar Alexander (TN) and pushing Sen. Wyden for an approach that is far more oriented toward propping up the nuclear power industry than in developing responsible radioactive waste policy.
A key feature of the BRC recommendations, which has been supported by these three Senators, is a plan to centralize “interim” storage of highly radioactive spent fuel from nuclear reactors at one or more locations. This plan would start up “Mobile Chernobyl”–a shell game involving decades of shipping nuclear waste across the nation to one or more locations from which it will have to be moved again, for one purpose only: to encourage the generation of still more lethal radioactive waste.
And Sen. Feinstein’s current approach would break the existing link between “interim” storage and progress toward a permanent repository, meaning that “interim”–and environmentally unacceptable–sites could be established even if there is no movement toward a permanent solution. These centralized “interim” sites would inevitably become permanent despite not being able to meet safety standards.
We need to push back hard. Please weigh in with Senator Feinstein here—-before any legislation is introduced–and urge her to oppose centralized “interim” storage. Urge her to instead focus her efforts on building a scientific process that will provide the result we all need: permanent isolation of this waste from our environment.
Thanks for all you do,
Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service