by Marjorie Mazel Hecht
February 13, 2009
from 21stCenturyScienceTech Website
There’s no such thing as nuclear waste!
This nasty term was invented just to
stop the development of civilian nuclear power.
1. See “The
Beauty of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle,” 21st Century Science &
Technology, Winter 2005-2006
The U.S. Department of Energy stated in 2007:
Uranium is mined, milled, converted into uranium hexafluoride, and then enriched.
Because most uranium (99.276%) is U-238, the uranium fuel must go through a process of enrichment,
to increase the ratio of fissionable U-235 to the non-fissionable U-238 from about 0.7% to 3 to 4%.
The enriched uranium
is then fabricated into fuel rods for use in light water reactors.
and after it cools, it is stored in dry casks, awaiting “burial.” What a waste!
The amount of usable fuel in that hypothetical football field, however, is vast.
Burying 70,000 metric tons of spent
nuclear fuel would waste 66,000 metric tons of uranium-238, which
could be used to make new fuel, and an additional 1,200
metric tons of fissile uranium-235 and plutonium-239, the energetic
part of the fuel mixture. Looking at it another way, the spent fuel
produced by a single 1,000-megawatt nuclear plant over its 40-year
lifetime is equal to the energy in 5 billion gallons of oil, or 37
million tons of coal. Would you throw that away?
Dr. Michael Fox, a physical chemist and nuclear engineer, has estimated that there are about 80 tons each of cesium-137 and strontium-90 that could be separated out for use in medical applications, such as targeted radioisotope therapies, or sterilization of equipment.
Why not reprocess it and burn it up?
Using isotope separation techniques, and fast-neutron bombardment for transmutation (technologies that the United States has refused to develop), we could separate out other valuable radioisotopes, like americium, which is widely used in smoke detectors, or plutonium-238, which is used to power heart pacemakers, as well as small reactors in space.
Krypton-85, tritium, and
promethium-147 are used in self-powered lights in remote
applications; strontium-90 is used to provide electric power
for remote weather stations, and in remote surveillance stations,
navigational aids, and defense communications systems.
Britain’s Prince Philip and the Netherlands’ Prince Bernhard (a former Nazi) organized a royal green movement to preserve raw materials and wildlife for their own pleasure and to remove what they considered to be an excess number of ordinary human beings.
Prince Bernhard established the “1001 Club” in 1971, an exclusive grouping with a $10,000 initiation fee used to bankroll the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the World Wildlife Fund, which Philip had founded in 1961 (along with Huxley).
Prince Philip himself led the World
Wildlife Foundation until 1996.
He told People magazine in 1981:
2. For details on Huxley, Prince
Philip, and Prince Bernhard, see EIR’s Special Report, “The True
Story Behind the Fall of the House of Windsor,” September 1997.
Club of Rome, founded in 1968,
campaigned for population control to preserve Earth’s limited
resources, eliminating any mention of the fact that advanced
technologies could create new resources.
Biologist Ehrlich, whose predictions of disaster have all bombed over the past 40 years, mentored many of the scientists prominent in environmental causes, including the nation’s new science advisor Dr. John Holdren, who co-authored one of Ehrlich’s books.
Another influential anti-population book
was the 1972
Limits to Growth, written by a
group of MIT Malthusians, who made dire pronouncements about the
future, unless population were cut back. Never mentioned was the
idea that advanced technologies could solve these problems and
shatter any limits.
The real issue is population control.
What do His Royal Highness and the now-deceased “Dr. Strangelove” have in common?
They both want to
reduce the human population and stop civilian nuclear power.
Wohlstetter, a Chicago University
mathematician/logician and RAND consultant, became the nation’s top
nuclear strategist and advisor to five Presidents. He specialized in
ghoulish scenarios of nuclear war, measured in death counts. He also
mentored many of today’s leading neocons, including Richard Perle,
Paul Wolfowitz, and Zalmay Khalilzad. 4
He argued not only that developing countries shouldn’t have them, but that the United States should not continue to go nuclear, because of another nasty term that he promoted: “proliferation.”
Although Wohlstetter admitted that
nuclear would produce power cheaply, he insisted that cheap
energy was not key for growth of an economy!
It was not President Carter who took this step, as is commonly thought, but Wohlstetter and the neocons, including Dick Cheney. As chief of staff for President Ford, Cheney presided over a Presidential advisory committee that advised an end to the U.S. reprocessing program for the reasons that Wohlstetter had articulated.
Ford came out with his anti-reprocessing policy in 1976, during the election campaign. Jimmy Carter, who had an identical policy on reprocessing, won that election.
Wohlstetter, then a consultant to the
Department of Defense, wrote one of the key reports supporting
Carter’s ban on reprocessing. 5
Human beings are measured in terms of how much solid waste they produce each year. In the United States, the “Environmental Almanac” solemnly warns, each American creates three-quarters of a ton of solid waste yearly!
The enriched uranium fuel is converted into uranium dioxide and fabricated into uniform pellets.
The pellets are loaded into long tubes made out of a zirconium alloy,
and the rods are
loaded into the core of a nuclear reactor.
The obvious solution is to stop looking
at the wrong end of the human being. Instead, focus on the head, and
how the human mind can invent new solutions to problems!
But then comes the argument:
The United States successfully reprocessed spent nuclear fuel in the past, in a secure fashion. We can do it again.
They produce an accountant’s balance sheet of costs and benefits to show that it’s cheaper not to reprocess. Left out of this accountant’s argument, however, is reality.
We are not going to get out of civilization’s most catastrophic financial collapse unless we massively invest now in the infrastructure projects, including nuclear power plants, that will guarantee adequate power for future generations. Not doing that will kill people. The cost/benefit accountant’s mentality is a death trap. The leading anti-nukes like that death trap, because they want to eliminate 4 billion people or more.
The question is, how many of the
unsuspecting environmentalists who have fallen for the nuclear
“waste” argument will wake up, and use their heads?