Monday, August 2, 2021

Play

Hundreds of thousands of Medi-Cal recipients are paying monthly premiums when they donít have to: Dr. Fauci predicts the pandemic will get worse.

Play

The Texas voting rights fight gets star power; lawmakers stage a sit-in as the eviction moratorium expires; and Senators work overtime on infrastructure.

Experts: Halt Comeback of Spent Nuclear Fuel Technology

Play

Monday, June 14, 2021   

BOISE, Idaho -- As the U.S. aims to push past fossil fuel dependency, nuclear power is part of the conversation, but non-proliferation watchdogs hope a method for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel to retrieve plutonium doesn't make a comeback.

Dr. Frank von Hippel, senior research physicist and professor of public and international affairs emeritus at Princeton University, said in reprocessing, spent reactor fuel is dissolved and plutonium or enriched uranium is separated out of the material.

"Originally, it was developed to separate plutonium for U.S. nuclear weapons," von Hippel explained. "Now, some countries use it to separate out plutonium as well for use in nuclear fuel."

Reprocessing was banned in the 1970s after India's first nuclear detonation was tied to U.S. reprocessing technology.

The nuclear industry wants the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to loosen rules. In a 2020 letter to the NRC, the American Nuclear Society said reprocessing would get the most out of nuclear fuel and reduce waste.

Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist for the group Beyond Nuclear, said there is high-level waste from the U.S. nuclear weapons program at the Idaho National Laboratory, although most of it is dried and stored.

He noted reprocessing operations from civilian companies do not have a good environmental track record in the U.S.

"We see high-level radioactive waste, irradiated nuclear fuel, as just that, it's a forever deadly waste that needs to be isolated from the environment," Kamps asserted. "Reprocessing does the opposite of that. It releases a part of it into the environment, inevitably."

The Idaho National Laboratory said it does reprocessing research on small quantities of spent nuclear fuel. It's part of research into the development of advanced reactor concepts.

Von Hippel believes there is renewed interest in the technology. In late May, he and other non-proliferation experts raised concerns in an open letter to Canada's prime minister about the country's financial support for a company that has proposed reprocessing spent nuclear fuel.

Von Hippel also hopes to convince the Biden administration that there is no need to revisit the technology.

"There's no good economic or environmental reason for civilian plutonium separation," Von Hippel argued. "So I, and many colleagues, say that no country should separate plutonium for nominally civilian purposes. It is a weapons-usable material."


get more stories like this via email
Some tenants' advocates would like Virginia's new budget proposal for American Rescue Plan funding to include money for low-income renters to hire lawyers for eviction cases. (Adobe stock)

Social Issues

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia's General Assembly Special Session begins today to budget more than $4 billion in federal COVID relief funds, and advocates …


Social Issues

ROSLINDALE, Mass. - A new report finds Massachusetts residents would rather repair electronic devices than send them to landfills, but manufacturers …

Social Issues

DENVER-During the COVID health emergency, the federal government made school meals available for free to all students, regardless of their financial …


The Blackfeet Reservation is one of seven tribal reservations in Montana. (Kushnirov Avraham/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

HELENA, Mont. - COVID-19 is underscoring the importance of ensuring that people's estates are in order, but estate planning can be be tricky for …

Social Issues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Pandemic fallout still has U.S. states clawing their way back to normalcy, and New Mexico believes its decision to provide more …

In a new poll, 64% of New Hampshire voters said they think capital gains should be taxed at the same rate as income from wages; 56% support increasing the corporate tax rate to 28%. (Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

CONCORD, N.H. - New polling finds many New Hampshire voters think it's important that wealthy individuals and corporations pay what's described as …

Social Issues

AMARILLO, Texas - The American Farm Bureau Federation hosts more than 100 college level chapters across 35 states, but this is the first time its …

Social Issues

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - As activists mark more than 100 days of protest since the April 21 death of Andrew Brown Junior - killed outside his Elizabeth …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright © 2021