Nuclear power is getting a second start in the U.S. with president Obama’s recent thumbs up for 2 nuke plants in Georgia. The president will roll out the first nuclear plant loan guarantee next week. From what I read, the article stated Southern Company/Georgia Power is building the 2 new plants right on the Plant Vogtle site in Georgia.
Stephen Smith, head of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy says that everyone is concerned with what to do with the nuclear waste, that there is currently no national repository for it. Smith also said that nuclear power plants are extremely expensive to build and the same amount of money, (in the billions), could be used for conservation programs, to build greener buildings, wind production, and to take advantage of the biomass opportunities in GA. The head of Georgia Power is all for renewable energy, especially the biomass market, and responded on CNN that he agreed with Stephen Smith.
My greatest concern is about the radioactive waste too. Waste has always been the biggest drawback to nuke plants. But like I said about the Fermi project, the property is already purchased and radioactive waste is already present, likewise for Plant Vogtle. Georgia Power is simply using the same site for newer facilities. Besides, in the past few decades since any reactors were built in the U.S., science has been working frantically to come up with ways to either disable radioactive material and/or shorten the time for radioactive material to dissipate from millions of years to only hundreds of years.
Here are links to some viable possibilities for limiting radioactive waste produced by nuke plants. There is so much coming out of India these days, I can’t begin to tell you. I’m not surprised that a team of German and Indian scientists have come up with a polymer that absorbs cobalt, so it reduces the amount of radioactive waste produced during routine operation of nuclear reactors. When I read about this I thought of the gel like beads that absorb excess water for release later. This process won’t disable radioactive waste but it will decrease the amount we have to dispose of.
There is also a process that may increase the deactivation time for radioactive waste from millions of years to 300-500 years. While this still seems like a lot of time, it’s a start and sounds like something we really need to get moving on if we’re going to start building nukes again.
Here is a government website that lists all the methods to deal with radioactive waste. We may as well get informed, because nuclear is happening.