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UK faces struggle to find site for £12bn nuclear waste

 
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Aurora



Joined: 24 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:28 am    Post subject: UK faces struggle to find site for £12bn nuclear waste Reply with quote

Quote:
The Telegraph - 04/03/10

Britain may not find a suitable place for a planned £12bn hole, where ministers want to bury radioactive waste from new nuclear power stations, the Government's own advisers have warned.

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JohnB



Joined: 22 May 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Downing Street? They was us to have nukes, so they can look after the waste!
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clv101
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Out of sight, out of mind. Drop it at the south pole and it can melt its way through the ice and be secured for hundreds of thousands of years. Or drop it into a deep bit of the pacific ocean. Remember a lot of spent nuclear fuel rods have already been dumped in shallow seas (ex Soviet) and we're still here.

Personally I think we are OTT regarding nuclear waste.

£12bn to manage UK waste? I thought the bill was a lot more, closer to £100bn for full decommission? What is the opportunity cost? If it was just dumbed in a deep ocean for £12 million, that leaves almost £12bn to spend on something else. My hunch is that the £12bn could be spent elsewhere and generate more 'good' than the prevented 'bad' associated with dumping the nuclear waste.
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Mark



Joined: 13 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clv101 wrote:
Personally I think we are OTT regarding nuclear waste.

£12bn to manage UK waste? I thought the bill was a lot more, closer to £100bn for full decommission? What is the opportunity cost? If it was just dumbed in a deep ocean for £12 million, that leaves almost £12bn to spend on something else. My hunch is that the £12bn could be spent elsewhere and generate more 'good' than the prevented 'bad' associated with dumping the nuclear waste.


You're joking, right ?
The legacy of contamination in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Iraq (DU), 3 Mile Island, Chernobyl etc., plus all the stockpiles around the world will last for 1000s of years.
If fully costed I'd imagine the bill just for the UK would come to several 100s of £bn.
Dumping it in the deep sea might be out of sight, but it will still have an impact on the eco-sytem there - much of which still remains a mystery to us.
If we're to have a nuclear industry it must be forced to pay the proper cost for disposal & decommissioning.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not joking, but I am being provocative to make the point.

I think our concern for pollutants is not proportional to their risk. For example I think understate the risk of CO2 and overstate the risk of nuclear waste. Dumping all the nuclear waste ever produced into the middle of the Pacific Ocean wouldn't be as damaging as releasing another trillion tonnes of CO2. The way we currently evaluate the risk, we would never dump the nuclear waste like that, but are quite likely to emit that much CO2.

It's similar to transport safety. We spend too much making rail safe and not enough on making roads safe. We are not objective in addressing the risk posed by different types of transport.

I think we 'gold plate' rail safety and achieve a higher safety standard than we need to. The problem is is opportunity cost. If we spent more time/resource on road safety and less on rail safety, overall transport safety would improve.

Same goes for nuclear. I think we treat nuclear waste like we treat rail safety - overkill, with high opportunity cost.

We should be more scientific, more objective. My hypothesis is that we are not objective in our consideration of nuclear waste, we are unjustifiably hypersensitivity to it leading to a miss-allocation of resources.
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PS_RalphW



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At first glance I can see the south pole idea is quite appealing.

Some of the deep ice in the Antarctic interior is probably millions of years old. If we could locate a deep valley in the interior of the continent it is very unlikely that waste deposited there would spread far for millions of years.

Unless, of course, the ice cap melts ....
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clv101
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RalphW wrote:
Unless, of course, the ice cap melts ....


In which case the nuclear waste would be the least of our worries!

I just suggest there are cheaper ways to deal with nuclear waste which reduce the risk to below that of the next most pressing problem. At which point we should switch resources to that more pressing problem.

To return the transport, trains still crash and kill people. Safety is not perfect. However I think we have already overspent on train safety. I fear we are on track to overspend on nuclear safety. ...it all comes down to opportunity cost.

If we are willing to spent £100 bn to decommission the nuclear reactors, I'd suggest we spend £10bn on that, and the £90bn on reducing carbon. £90bn would go a long way to reducing CO2!
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