Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

indo-us nuclear deal

super hot topic underway right now. the government's survival is at stake.
is causing serious political re-alignments.
here is what happened yesterday in parliament.

so what is the nuclear deal all about? business line has a '10 misconceptions' pitch by an ex-nuclear bureaucrat.

obviously it is a complicated matter, safely couched in such complicated legalese, that the common laypersons would struggle to come up with a valid opinion on the situation.
my stand has been governed by completely an other factor - disposal of spent fuel.
as per the dept of energy - government of USA from their website...
Waste Disposal. A current concern in the nuclear power field is the safe disposal and isolation of either spent fuel from reactors or, if the reprocessing option is used, wastes from reprocessing plants. These materials must be isolated from the biosphere until the radioactivity contained in them has diminished to a safe level. Under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended, the Department of Energy has responsibility for the development of the waste disposal system for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Current plans call for the ultimate disposal of the wastes in solid form in licensed deep, stable geologic structures.
there is more from wikipedia.
storing such vast quantities of potentially hazardous radioactive material in an underground system of concrete bunkers and suchlike is deeply unconvincing.
i don't claim any expertise other than 'deep suspicion' over the scientists who are swear on such methods.

check out this facility that is being made in the US - the waste isolation pilot plant.
this line strikes me as being close to impossible.
...Because drilling or excavation in the area will be hazardous long after the area is being actively used, there are plans to construct markers to deter inadvertent human intrusion for the next ten thousand years.
we could be setting ourselves up for serious annihilation - faana.

4 comments:

kbpm said...

i share your suspicions on this matter. maybe its a growing cynicism but i just cannot believe any of these guys any more.

csm said...

rediff article says here that the deal is worth USD 100 Bn worth of potential business. with such money at stake, it must be a driver for the govt/business to push for it.
http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/jul/15guest.htm

i dont think it is a cynicism, but a growing realisation how money and power drives decisions.

Ludwig said...

The guest on yesterday's NPR On Point programme was a UC-Berkeley physics professor who teaches a wildly popular undergraduate course called "Physics for the President" (something like that).

Someone asked him about the whole Yucca Mountain (Nevada) nuclear waste storage facility and it's implications/harmfulness and he had a rather surprising answer.

He said that nuclear waste storage is actually not as worrisome a problem as people make it out to be. Basically he blamed media + activist hype for the perception of nuclear waste storage being a problem.

90+% of the stuff is non-radioactive and the stuff that is radioactive is actually less radioactive than the stuff when it's in ore form in the earth (i.e. before we dug it out).

Anyway, I was in the middle of making a prawn curry, so didn't follow the whole thing too closely, but thought it was an unexpected POV.

He also thinks Gore cherry picks global warming data, and says go with what the IPCC (which is more equivocal) says, rather than Gore and co. Didn't believe in technology solutions to climate change, but rather in policy changes, frugal use etc.

csm said...

ok - here it is.
http://muller.lbl.gov/TRessays/26-Witch-of-Yucca-Mountain.htm
am sure that in such cases, even science graduates will struggle with the technical stuff enough to let us be convinced either way...pity the poor activists (who by that statements i am labelling as non-science graduates...potentially provoking protracted parleys).

the last flamboyant scientist i trusted was feynman.