Andy's insights

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Sun, 30 May 2010

Ultimate Atomic Waste Storage is the Wrong Way

Why do we still talk about final disposal of atomic waste? Don’t we learn from the past that this is the wrong way?

It’s confortable to think that once it’s burried we don’t have to care about it anymore. But we have to worry! There are plenty examples.

First take a landfill in an old clay pit used around 1980 to keep chemical waste. It was considered save as final disposal of chemical waste at this time. But then it was discovered that the landfill was not save: It stinks and fishes around the landfill died.

Then one of the most complicated and expensive1 reclamation of contaminated sites in Switzerland began. Due the target to final dispose the waste is not labeled and not packed to be simply removed. Each barrel content has to be identified and carefully recovered.

An now consider an ultimate atomic waste storage deep down in a salt stock sucking up with groundwater. Do we really trust in officials declaring it as save?

For instance take Gorleben in Germany. There was no sufficient scientific review of the spot. Simply the place with the least resistance was taken. It seem like Gorleben is still the favorit final disposal .

I’ll don’t talk about phasing out nuclear energy, this is another story. If we keep the power plants running we have to deal with the atomic waste the right way. We cant bury and forgot it, but we have to store it in atomic waste stores. This is a big difference to a final atomic waste store. The difference is that you can take the waste out of it whenever you like. The store may be deep in the mountain, but with a door. If water is intruding the store, you simply move the waste to another store.

The problem with this approach is that it costs more money right now. The costs add up to the total costs of the atomic energy. If you just can bury an forget the waste, the costs is hidden. Will be payed by the commonality in 10, 100, or 10000 years later. Share holder value don’t last so long.

1A huge hall was build with the biggest self-supporting roof in Switzerland

posted at: 17:45 | path: /politics/energy | permanent link to this entry