Re: A Misplaced Focus
Justin’s post about the contaminated land in Tiverton provokes a comparison to the major complication of nuclear energy — the issue of long-term storage of spent nuclear materials — and the advisability of augmenting our generation of nuclear energy which would, naturally, increase the amount of highly toxic waste product to be dealt with.
After the initial cooling off period, high-level radioactive waste requires isolation of 10,000 years . It is safe to assume that geologic and volcanic activity — or the low probability thereof — were a consideration in the choosing of Yucca Mountain .
It’s not that ten thousand years is a long time, which of course it is. It’s that one thousand years is a long time. However stable the storage location seems now, we cannot leave signs that say, “Nuclear waste buried here. Stay away.” And if, heaven forbid, the water table shifts, people’s water supply, and then the people themselves, could get contaminated.
Yes, 20% of our energy presently is nuclear generated. To turn to it in earnest seems almost a guarantee that two, three, seven thousand years from now, there will be many more victims like the 250 in Tiverton, except that the price they will pay will not be economic.