Letter to the Editor

From waste to fuel

AtascaderoDecember 2, 2013 

Diablo Canyon

THE TRIBUNE

Assuming nuclear waste stored at power plants is a static situation forever is the heart of most antinuke supporters’ fears. The fact that nuclear power plants have operated without fatality or serious injury in the United States for 40 years has little effect.

They are right of course, radioactive waste is dangerous; that is what makes it potentially a great benefit. A modern liquid salt reactor could utilize all stored nuclear waste at Diablo, leaving less toxic waste behind. Instead of tons of waste with a 10,000-year half life, we would have pounds of waste with a 500-year half life; of that waste could be extracted many useful radioisotopes benefiting science, medicine and space exploration.

If such a facility (thorium reactor) were built at the Diablo site, stored waste would be used as fuel to generate carbon dioxide-free electricity, with no cooling water required — that’s a win-win-win (less waste, clean energy, no harm to the ocean).

The only hope for saving the planet is the production of enough carbon-dioxide-free energy to replace all fossil-fuel-burning power plants around the world. Environmentalists must realize: Wind, solar and conservation will never reduce CO2 in time to save the planet.

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