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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 14, 2013 8:44 AM. The previous post in this blog was Alert! It's snowing.. The next post in this blog is That's definitely snow out there now. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Blah blah blah nuclear waste repository blah blah blah

How long has the federal government been blathering about building a deep underground dump for all the nation's nuclear waste -- 50 years? Well, they're still going at it. Now there's a new report, which says it will all be set up by 2048. And centralized temporary storage will be up and running by 2025.

Sure. Sure it will.

The biggest problem in establishing such a facility, of course, is finding a place that's both geologically suitable and politically feasible. The last go-'round of legislation on the subject stuck it to Nevada, but after blowing heaven knows how many bazillions testing and planning down there, the Obama administration finally killed that idea.

What's a bit alarming for folks in our region is that the Hanford nuclear bomb factory, on the Columbia River in south central Washington State, is always on the short list to get this dump if it is ever built. Hanford is totally "crapped up," as the nuclear people so bluntly put it -- it's one of the most radioactively contaminated sites in the world. And rather than try to package up all the nuclear garbage that is there and ship it elsewhere, the temptation is strong to leave what's there, there -- and ship in all manner of waste from elsewhere. It will be like a few hundred Fukushima spent fuel pools, only inaccessible, without cooling water, right next to the Columbia, and subject to the big earthquakes that we keep hearing are right around the corner.

And so, with the new report, a new round of struggles over the siting is apparently beginning. The process is always mildly funny and profoundly sad at the same time. Some of us old-timey Hanford bashers may have to get back up off the couch, and a whole new generation of Pacific Northwesterners will learn to mistrust, and loathe, the U.S. Department of Energy. They aren't good people.

Comments (9)

One day probably in the not too distant future the mighty Columbia River will be glowing!
However all the people currently and supposedly trying to solve this unsolvable potential disaster, are middle aged and as Norah Ephron once remarked about global warming, it is "not a middle aged issue".
Maybe the twenty somethings should be put in charge...they may have more reason to try.

I'm starting to think in terms of protecting DNA. Sure, radiation can kill but it's the damage to the DNA that's the long term problem. That's why genetically modified foods are so bad. Don't get me started on those.

I'd say it comes down to the behavior of a creature called a corporation - not all corporations but ones like nuclear utilities, weapons manufacturers, and Monsanto - versus the sanctity of DNA. They are playing God without any clue what they're really doing. The results are everywhere: Epidemics of cancer, diabetes, autism, obesity....

Wait, aren't corporations just groups of people? I think it's obvious that they act in ways that are separate from the interests of humanity. They have become their own life form and they could permanently damage the most valuable thing on the planet: DNA.

Invasion of the body snatchers?

By then it should be cost effective to just send it into space.

Stop it. Just, and justly, STOP it. NO Nukes. (The hippies were right ... again.)

Mothball, dismantle, gather up all the broken pieces and put them somewhere:
the best spot on Earth being at the bottom of the Marianas Trench.
USGovt must knuckle under to commands and orders from World Govt.
Because that's the heirarchy of things. Planet power trumps all nationalism powers.
We either beat our swords into plowshears, conscientiously and committedly, blah blah blah, or else our swords beat us into agrarian survival-scruff mutants. glub blub blub

By then it should be cost effective to just send it into space

You know...what would be the harm in that? As long as it doesn't come crashing back down to earth...why not just set up a rocket base at Hanford, start solidifying some of that nuked garbage, and throw it at the sun (which is itself a great big radiation emitter?)

Of course if a rocket fails we have a problem...but can it be any worse than what we already have?

Bill McDonald:

Here's a lovely story about corporate personhood. Someone took very clever action:

http://www.commondreams.org/further/2013/01/07-4

I hope everyone realizes that thanks largely to Harry Reid, the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Depository that cost the US government hundreds of millions to build, will never be used as a depository for nuclear waste. Which is really odd, since if you've ever been near this area (as I have), you would realize this is about as close to being in the middle of nowhere as you can likely get in the US.
And the excuse used by Reid, that the site is "too close to Las Vegas" is a sham because almost an identical distance away (100 miles), just off US Highway 95 is a privately run low level radiation disposal site owned and operated by US Ecology.

Portland Native:

One day probably in the not too distant future the mighty Columbia River will be glowing!

Me:

You need to read more intelligent stuff about radiation.

Portland Native:

Maybe the twenty somethings should be put in charge...they may have more reason to try.

Me:

I don't know why they would. They have a lot more reason to be concerned with (and to learn about) our long-term fiscal problems. But mostly they are clueless and prone to absorb only worthless sound-bites about this issue.


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