What Op-Ed writer Scott L. Montgomery failed to mention is disposal of nuclear waste. This problem has vexed nuclear engineers for decades. I read all the articles in The Seattle Times about the Hanford Reach site and cleanup. After spending billions of taxpayer dollars, we are not even close to disposing of waste that is now seeping into our groundwater.
Why are we not done? Who knows? I know this: One approach is to have robots stir a slew of liquid and solid radioactive waste with a sandlike material, then heat it to form solid glass logs inside stainless-steel containers that can then be “safely” buried so that they radioactively decay over the next 10,000 years or so. It’s a simple and elegant idea. But one problem is that when the robot stirrers get tangled in debris, no human can go inside to untangle them. It is too radioactive.
Until a solution is discovered for this problem, and it is shown to work, no new nuclear plants should be allowed.
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