Is our spent fuel secure?

  • Article by: MATTHEW L. WALD , New York Times
  • Updated: July 14, 2011 - 9:11 PM

The disaster in the wake of Japan's March earthquake and tsunami has lawmakers wondering if we're storing spent nuclear fuel in a safe manner. But moving the waste from pools to casks carries its own risks.

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ruphinaJul. 14, 11 8:28 PM

So get over the irrational fears and reprocess the spent fuel instead of storing it. Bill G.

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mutt10RJul. 14, 11 8:39 PM

Nuclear energy is not safe, period. No matter what we endeavor, the weakest link is always poor human judgement. The costs of mistakes are just too high with this technology.

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rolflindyJul. 14, 11 8:47 PM

After about 300 years, not a hundred thousand years, most of the fission products in the spent fuel in the casks has decayed to about 1% of its original volume. The transfer of spent fuel from the fuels to casks is occurring without difficulty at our nuclear plants; the costs are readily born by the profitable low cost plants. The casks can remain for many decades before there is much radiation leakage. They should go to Yucca Mountain. The barrier in the pools is the water itself. When power was lost the rising temperature caused the water to evaporate, exposing the fuel. There was no separate barrier destroyed by flying debris as the writer seems to think. This is a well intentioned writer who apparently has little education or experience in the nuclear industry.

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rolflindyJul. 14, 11 8:52 PM

Nuclear energy is safe. There have been no fatal accidents in our nuclear plants for decades. And even at Fukushima, no injury or death from nuclear radiation. Perhaps 25,000 or more dead from the quake and Tsunami.

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wildfoxJul. 14, 11 9:20 PM

Simple answer is NO the storage of nuc waste in casks was meant to be temporary. In Minnesota there have been incidents of cask leakage. Guess where they store them? Answer in river water! Bottoms up! NO NUKES!!!!!

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rlatschJul. 22, 11 6:27 AM

If you accept the flawed logic of mutt1OR, traveling by automobile should have been eliminated long ago. The point is that everything we do has risk and the goal should be to effectively manage that risk. When compared to many other technologies and industries, the nuclear industry has done an excellent job.

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