Nuclear Waste (Or Lack Thereof)

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Nuclear Waste (Or Lack Thereof)

Post by Pat »

Two matters concerning nuclear waste (or lack thereof) arose at our meeting on Feb 17 that should be memorialized in case we pass this way again.

Spent Uranium Fuel Rods In Cooling Pools In Aviation Corridors

In John Karls’ e-mail to Solutions, posted by Solutions in this section of the Bulletin Board under the subject of “Naomi Klein Unwittingly Carrying Water For Fossil Fuels,” John mentioned that (1) because the U.S. is the only civilized country that FAILS to re-process spent uranium fuel rods, and simultaneously (2) because the U.S. FAILED to store the spent uranium fuel rods at Yucca Mountain in Nevada because Federal Courts ruled that the U.S. Government had ONLY proved that doing so was safe (for example, from earthquake) for a mere 10,000 years (!!!) -- the U.S. government has been storing the spent fuel rods in cooling pools at each of the various nuclear-power plants where they were generated!!!

John noted that virtually all of these nuclear-power plants “are in or near major aviation corridors”!!!

So why is this significant???

The old Soviet Union, unlike the rest of the world (including France which generates so much electricity from nuclear power that, according to, France EXPORTS more than 10% of its electricity), did NOT enclose any of its civilian nuclear-power plants in containment chambers.

The significance of containment chambers???

[In addition to the fact that the Chernobyl disaster would never have happened if the old Soviet Union had joined the rest of the civilized world in enclosing its civilian nuclear-power plants in containment chambers.]

First, the U.S. has always required American nuclear-power plants to be enclosed in containment chambers THAT ARE CAPABLE OF WITHSTANDING A DIRECT HIT BY AN AIRLINER.

Which is ironic because right next to each nuclear-power plant are the cooling pools in which the spent uranium fuel rods are languishing for eternity and which cooling pools, as John has noted, are essentially equivalent to home swimming pools.

[Which, in turn, was the reason for our 4/13/2011 Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaign for the U.S. to re-process and guard the spent uranium fuel rods like the rest of the civilized world does.]

Second, as we have studied many times in the past, thorium reactors do NOT need containment chambers because they are INCAPABLE OF EXPLODING. Which, as John noted, is why President Nixon turned the nation away from thorium because “he thought it would be cheaper to have civilian nuclear-power plants ‘piggy back’ on the uranium/plutonium weapons program!!!”

[In 1973, President Nixon actually fired Dr. Alvin Weinberg, the Director of the U.S. National Nuclear Research Laboratory at Oak Ridge, because of Dr. Weinberg’s support for thorium reactors!!!]

The Attempted Myth That LFTR’s Have Fuel Rods!!!

One of our meeting participants attempted to perpetrate the myth that thorium reactors do not solve the spent fuel rod problem by falsely claiming that LFTR’s use fuel rods!!!

“LFTR” stands for Liquid-Fluoride Thorium Reactor”!!!

The many times we have studied LFTR’s, we have studied how the thorium is supplied to the reactor in the form of a liquid-fluoride mixture.

Which is why, incidentally, there is no “down time” such as uranium-powered reactors require in order to replace their spent fuel rods.

And one reason why liquid-fluoride thorium reactors have such an incredibly-high “burn up” rate.

This incredibly-high “burn up” rate was central to our consideration of the nuclear-fusion boondoggle for our 4/9/2014 meeting.

Because the ONLY advantage claimed by the nuclear-fusion proponents over conventional URANIUM power plants (quoting our discussion outline for the 4/9/2014 meeting) “is that hydrogen is more plentiful than uranium (while ignoring thorium supplies)”!!!

We calculated (Q&A-11 for the 4/9/2014 meeting) that the world’s known thorium supplies are capable of supplying ALL OF THE WORLD’S ENERGY (NOT JUST ELECTRICITY BUT ALSO REPLACING SUCH THINGS AS GASOLINE AND JET FUEL, AKA KEROSINE) -- for 1,378 years!!!

[Which is why the nuclear-fusion boondoggle is so obviously laughable = despite all of its horrendous disadvantages, its only justification is comparing hydrogen to the availability of uranium WHILE STUDIOUSLY IGNORING THE ABUNDANT SUPPLIES OF THORIUM!!!]

But why is the thorium “burn up” rate relevant to this calculation???

Because the Weinberg Foundation Report (posted in the Reference-Materials section for our 4/9/2014 meeting) states that only 1% of the total energy in conventional uranium fuel rods can be used before the rods degrade and must be replaced, whereas 99% of the available energy of thorium can be accessed.

[Our calculation was 80 years of “proven” reserves of uranium for current (electricity only) usage multiplied by 3 (the minimum abundance factor of “proven” thorium reserves vs. “proven” uranium reserves) multiplied by 99 (usable thorium energy content vs. usable uranium energy content) multiplied by 5.8% (the percentage of total worldwide energy including transportation fuels, that comes from nuclear plants) = 1,378 years.]

NB: Most of the information in our formula came from and from the World Nuclear Association (

However as noted above, the thorium “burn up” rate came from the Weinberg Foundation.

NB: The Weinberg Foundation is named after Dr. Alvin Weinberg, the Director of the U.S. National Nuclear Research Laboratory at Oak Ridge, whom President Nixon fired in 1973 because President Nixon wanted civilian nuclear-power to “piggy back” on the nuclear-weapons program and Dr. Weinberg was an implacable supporter of thorium for civilian nuclear power.

So how does this relate to “The Attempted Myth That LFTR’s Have Fuel Rods!!!”

One of the participants at our 2/17/2016 meeting had the gall to claim that LFTR’s have fuel rods and, therefore, the nuclear-waste problem has NOT IN THE LEAST been solved!!!

She was corrected immediately. But it is regrettable that anyone would make a false claim at any of our meetings, whether from ignorance or malice. After all, as an organization we pride ourselves in meticulous research and the intellectual integrity of our positions.

Footnote On Our 2/17/2016 Meeting

We did not proceed so far as polling the attendees on John Karls’ perpetual question if we have reached the issue of the international implications of combatting greenhouse-gas emissions, because the discussion did not get that far =

“Is anyone willing to invade, for example, China to prevent it from continuing to bring on line a new monster-size coal-fired electric-generation plant EVERY WEEK???”

So by default, our record has been preserved that over the more than 10 years of our existence, not one of our attendees has ever indicated a willingness to invade China for that purpose.

NB: U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, who headed our delegation to the recently-concluded United Nations Climate Summit in Paris, reported on all of the Sunday-morning talking-heads shows following his return that the Paris “Agreement” is NOT binding -- AND HE EXPLAINED THAT THE REASON WHY IT IS NOT BINDING IS THAT THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NO SO-CALLED “AGREEMENT” IF ANY OF THE PARTICIPANT COUNTRIES HAD THOUGHT THAT ANYBODY WOULD TAKE IT SERIOUSLY!!!

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