January 5th, 2011
This week brought news that Texas will likely be opening its nuclear waste dump in Andrews, near the New Mexico border, to radioactive waste from states across the nation.
Meanwhile, China announced that it has developed new technology to reprocess used fuel from nuclear power plants, potentially greatly extending the amount of power that existing nuclear plants can generate, according to an AP news report. The story noted that the U.S. stopped reprocessing nuclear fuel in the 1970s because of fears that freed plutonium would add to nuclear weapons proliferation. (That was a legitimate concern, but no end run around the problem was ever developed in the interest of keeping our nuclear power processes up to date.)
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July 13th, 2010
Dealing with nuclear waste may be even more of a challenge than previously believed. According to a former Energy Department official, the amount of plutonium buried at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State is nearly three times what the federal government previously acknowledged.
Robert Alvarez reanalyzed studies conducted by the Energy Department over the last 15 years for Hanford, the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, and the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C., among others. Plutonium waste is much more prevalent around nuclear weapons sites nationwide than the Energy Department’s official accounting indicates, he concludes, but the problem is most severe at Hanford, a 560-square-mile tract in south-central Washington that was taken over by the federal government as part of the Manhattan Project.
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