Home > CO2-Free Energy (Example: Solar Electricity), Fande = Fact & Evidence > Solar Electricity and Nuclear Energy are both CO2-free, but…

Solar Electricity and Nuclear Energy are both CO2-free, but…

…Nuclear Energy produces radioactive waste.

* Solar Electricity is CO2-free without the radioactive part.

Sources:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jun/11/us-nuclear-industry-plans-new-reactors

EXCERPT:

“The [pro-nuclear] campaign faces two challenges: the huge cost of construction and the lack of permanent storage for nuclear waste.

The Obama administration has blocked a 22-year project to dump waste from reactors in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain….

Much of the push for nuclear power comes from the conservative south, which has more reactors than anywhere else in the US and which is less suited than other regions for wind or solar development.”

* Photograph related to article shows “a storage facility for highly radioactive waste at Sellafield nuclear plant.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/28/business/energy-environment/28nuclear.html

EXCERPTS:

“Levels of radioactive tritium have risen rapidly in recent weeks in the groundwater surrounding Vermont’s sole nuclear power plant, leading both longtime supporters and foes of the reactor to question whether it will be allowed to keep operating….

The plant began searching for tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, under a 2007 nuclear industry initiative. The industry began the effort because leaks had been found at reactors in Illinois and New York….

Levels found in the last few days exceed the federal standard for drinking water, although they were found in monitoring wells, not drinking water wells. The state has moved to weekly from monthly testing at the elementary school across the street from the plant, but has not detected anything unusual off the plant site….

Mr. Ball said that some legislators had told him that the discovery of the radioactive contamination “gave them pause” and that they wanted more information before voting [in 2012 to extend the nuclear plant’s operating license for the next 20 years]….

Tritium is usually incorporated into a water molecule, and such molecules behave chemically just as ordinary water does. But it gives off a beta particle that can cause damage inside the body. Like ordinary water molecules, those incorporating tritium pass through the body quickly.

In November, technicians measured tritium at Vermont Yankee at 700 picocuries per liter. But in January the plant notified the state that the level had risen to thousands of picocuries per liter. In one monitoring well, it recently exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for drinking water, which is 20,000 picocuries per liter.

Plant workers also found that water in a concrete trench that holds pipes in one building contained millions of picocuries of tritium per liter, as well as traces of other radioactive materials.

It was not immediately clear if water could find its way from that trench into the groundwater.

Under federal rules, the plant does not have to alert the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about the presence of tritium in the groundwater unless the level reaches 30,000 picocuries per liter. At that point it would have 30 days to tell the commission, and specify what it planned to do.

Robert Williams, a spokesman for Vermont Yankee, said the company was working hard to find a leak. “It’s a necessarily slow and methodical process,” he said. The plant is already in touch with federal and state regulators, he added.

Dozens of reactors around the country have had their 40-year licenses extended by 20 years without much debate. Under the Atomic Energy Act, such decisions are usually the sole purview of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

But Vermont struck a deal with Entergy when it bought the plant in 2002 that gave legislators a veto role. An official with the federal nuclear commission noted that if the state blocked a license renewal, Entergy could file a court challenge.

Vermont Yankee is the largest generator of power in Vermont. But New England’s power grid has a surplus of electricity because of the recession.

And Entergy is seeking permission to spin off Vermont Yankee and five of its other reactors into a new subsidiary, a move that the plant’s opponents view as an attempt to limit Entergy’s legal liability.”

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