Shut Down Yucca Mountain
Nuclear power industry produces thousands of tons of horrible affluent: nuclear waste— radioactive sludge left over from operation of nuclear reactors that lasts for hundreds of thousands of years, some of it for a million years. What to do with it? So far it is kept in cooling ponds at site until permanent disposal site can be found and built. More than half a century later since reactors have been operational, no suitable repository has been found. This is in fact the case around the world; no country has a satisfactory location to dump this highly toxic stuff. In the U.S. Yucca Mountain, 90 miles from heavily populated city of Las Vegas, Nevada was picked for permanent disposal. In spite of some very serious doubts and unanswered questions, Bush Administration continued to push ahead with construction of Yucca Mountain facility at a cost of billion dollars spent so far; ultimate cost pegged at 90 billion. This amount no doubt will increase with time. Yucca Mountain is not a suitable choice for permanent repository, nor, in my view, is anywhere else in the country. Reason for this is that no one can say with any degree of certainty that the vast amounts of highly toxic, highly radioactive sludge can be safely stored for thousands of years without leaking out from the subterranean vaults, polluting underground water supplies, or into the atmosphere.
It is very good news that President Obama has decided to re-evaluate Yucca mountain. With luck, sane minds will prevail, and Yucca Mountain facility will be shut down. What shall we do to satisfy our ever-increasing need for energy? Answer: Serious Conservation programs should be instituted, and alternative sources developed. For starters: install solar panels on every roof in sunny areas of the country. Promote crash programs of research to develop cost-effective alternative sources.
AND, Can we try to consume less???