A New Mexico Solution to Yucca’s Mountain of Failure?


Many on the right support the storage of spent nuclear fuel beneath Yucca Mountain, simply because “greens” and loathsome legislative careerist Harry Reid hysterically oppose the proposal.

But anyone who’s looked at the U.S. Department of Energy’s management of the project — not to mention Yucca’s status as a perpetual political football in Washington — recognizes that a one-size-fits all, bureaucrat-administered “answer” to the nuclear industry’s problem of radioactive leftovers is profoundly unwise.

More than $15 billion in ratepayer revenue has been spent on Yucca, but not one fuel rod has made its way to Nevada. (The Department of Energy was supposed to start filling the repository in 1998.)

The good news is that there’s a growing awareness that other options should be pursued. (Some of us figured that out long ago.) There’s plenty of money left in the Nuclear Waste Fund, and every penny should be spent on alternatives to Yucca.

One possibility is Holtec International’s proposal to built a interim facility between Carlsbad and Hobbs. Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R-Carlsbad) has drafted a memorial in support of the plan.

As one element of a broader effort to privatize high-level nuclear waste, Holtec’s safe, secure storage could help drive a stake through the heart of the Yucca boondoggle. Best of all, it would be real, sustainable economic development for New Mexico — based not on another infusion of federal cash, but a market-oriented response to epic-level D.C. incompetence.

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3 Replies to “A New Mexico Solution to Yucca’s Mountain of Failure?”

  1. President Carter cancelled the most intelligent option which was being built at Oak Ridge, a nuclear fuel rod reprocessing facility that was fully robotic and had over $1bn spent on it when it was cancelled because his daughter Amy thought that it would be bad if terrorists got their hands on some of the plutonium or other bomb grade materials that would have been recovered at the facility. When an infant makes policy for this country, we have a real serious issue with leadership and rational approach. The amount of money being spent by the DoE to keep fuel rods in the nuclear reactors where they originate from is absurd when there are so many viable options.

    1. Carter made the right choice. Nixon is the one who made a good choice of Fast Reactor funding and a bad choice of defunding the MSRE project at ORNL. Both projects should have been funded. I prefer MSR, but a fast reactor will get the job done too (see INL).

  2. I have read where GE is developing a reactor called PRISM that could burn up the waste while developing power. A win-win over renewable alternatives.

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