The LVRJ reports that the Department of Energy’s plans for a nuclear spent-fuel repository at Yucca Mountain inched forward Monday when the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced it will conduct studies and have safety hearings on the plans. The NRC’s decision to accept a Yucca Mountain application onto its licensing docket is the latest step forward for the project and occurs over the objections of many of Nevada’s elected leaders.
This is a favorite topic of mine. I’m not necessarily “For Yucca” (the jury is still out) but I am for more public discussion while we decide if it is best for Nevada. Here’s a little background and what I know about the Pros for Yucca:
The great state of Nevada currently has a variety of problems: a large budget shortfall, high energy costs, water shortages, a floundering public education system, a lack of quality higher education opportunities, and road construction needs, to name a few. Money is not the sole answer to all, but it is sorely needed.
As recently reported in the Lousville Courier-Journal, uranium is selling for around $73 a pound. Given that We-Have-The-Technology to extract it from all the “worthless” nuclear waste, the recoverable uranium from/at Yucca Mountain would be worth about $7.6 billion. (Budget problems: solved.)
If Yucca Mountain became the site for our nation’s nuclear reprocessing center as well as the storage site for all the “waste,” Nevadans could/would benefit in the form of a lot of highly skilled high-paying jobs as well as lots of cheap electricity from the Nuclear Power Plant (which Nevadans should insist be part of the Yucca deal). (Job and Energy problems: solved.)
Some of the surplus money could be used to build a water pipeline from the Pacific to Yucca Mountain, where the power from the Nuclear Power Plant could be used to desalinate the ocean water in our world-class Desalination Center. This should be part of the long-term plan. And again, We-Have-The-Technology, given the ability to generate enough heat - which a nuclear reactor could easily do. (Water shortage problems: solved.)
Then, as a result of the Repository and with the Reprocessing and uranium extraction center, the Power Plant, and the Desalinization facility, we’d have every reason to establish a world-class Yucca Mountain Nuclear Technology University. And would have plenty of dollars left over for Nevada’s K thru 12 education budget. (Education issues: solved.)
Finally, the facilites at Yucca would likely lead to the necessity for a four-lane super highway connecting Yucca Mountain with Las Vegas and Reno (wouldn’t THAT be nice) plus enough extra money to build enough roads to solve all our other gridlock problems. (Road construction problems: solved.)
Countries like France produce 78% of their electrical energy from nuclear reactors and the EU as a whole gets 30% of its electricity from nuclear reactors…so why does the U.S. get only about 20% of its electricty from nuclear reactors?
Answer: stubborn, unreasoned obstructionism by people like Harry Reid, John Ensign, Shelley Berkley and others in Washington DC who oppose nuclear power (as well as the amazing facilities we could have at Yucca Mountain) despite the facts and possible benefits.