Nuclear Waste Dec 2003/Feb 2000/Sept 2012
On September 21st, J T White stated (Views of the North) that I refused to discuss nuclear waste. That is not true, letters that have been published in The Journal may be found on www.greenfocus.co.uk .
There are several means of dealing with nuclear waste, the best one is to recycle it by a MOX process. France recycles nuclear waste and President Bush bought obsolete nuclear weapons from Russia for use in civil reactors.
A method of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel using CEMSO (catalyst enhanced molten salt oxidation) is given in www.chemistry.world.org
Current government proposals are to turn the waste into a glassy material that will be stable for thousands of years.
The minor technical problem of nuclear waste has been exaggerated by political greens as part of a campaign to deny the economic benefit of nuclear power to the western world.
James Lovelock, who was recently made a Companion of Honour for his work on the environment, has pointed out that there is no reason why nuclear waste should not be disposed of in the deep subducting regions of the ocean where tectonic forces draw all deposits down into the magma.
President Bush intends to deposit his nuclear waste in the wilds of Nevada. Nevada’s Greens cried "NIMBY" with little effect because residents of the neighbouring state of Utah asked Bush to have the depository in one of their deserts. The Utah residents realised that the depository would bring considerable employment whilst there is absolutely no danger whatsoever to humans or the environment.
In the UK, information on technical solutions to the problem of nuclear waste are obtainable from UK NIREX, Harwell, Oxon, OX11 0RH or at www.nirex.co.uk
Australian sheep farmers with thousands of acres would readily accept rent for a couple of acres, particularly when one realises that a properly designed nuclear waste depository could provide heat and electricity more cheaply and safely than a wind generator.
In 2005 the Australian prime minister confirmed that Australia would accept nuclear waste from countries overseas.
There is no need to lose sleep over the small amount of nuclear residues. The total volume of long term waste produced since 1954 is a mere 10 meter cube. On the other hand, anyone living in Cornwall should be worried about the millions of tons of rock in Cornwall (and also in other places like Aberdeen and South West Ireland) that cause fatalities from the Radon that seeps from these rocks as a result of the decomposition of the uranium that was created by God aeons ago. The National Radiological Service lists the areas where these risks are greatest and for ways of mitigating the effects.
Mr White is correct on one point – we need to follow advice given many years ago by Pope John Paul: "Avoid consumerism and look after the poor". We must reduce our demands on the planet’s resources. However our energy needs for thousands of years can be met by the sensible use of uranium and thorium together with solar power and hydrogen.