Sunday, November 27, 2022

Play

An investigative probe into how rules written for distressed rust belt property may benefit a select few; Small Business Saturday highlights local Economies; FL nonprofit helps offset the high cost of insulin.

Play

A Supreme Court case could have broad implications for the future of U.S. elections, results show voters rejected election deniers in many statewide races, and the concession phone call may be a thing of the past.

Play

A water war in Southwest Utah has ranchers and Native tribes concerned, federal solar subsidies could help communities transition to renewable energy, and Starbucks workers attempt to unionize.

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
During open enrollment for 2022 coverage, Georgia saw a record number of individuals, more than 700,000, sign up for health insurance. (Rawpixel.com/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Open enrollment for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is already underway, and ends on Jan. 15. More than 1.3 million Georgians do …


Social Issues

Holiday shoppers this week have no shortage of options with Small Business Saturday being observed on Nov. 26. Sandwiched between Black Friday and …

Health and Wellness

The American Heart Association has developed a series of videos to educate women about heart disease. The Red Chair Series is a four-episode series …


Chris Powers stands in front of the Land Bank lot that he tried to bid on in Southern Ohio. (Eye on Ohio)

Social Issues

By Lucia Walinchus for Eye on Ohio.Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan for Ohio News Connection Collaboration reporting for the Ohio Center for Invest…

Social Issues

While many Iowa families gather through this weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving in traditional ways with food and family, thousands of people take to …

The EPA claims that the EES Coke Battery plant has emitted thousands of tons of sulfur dioxide annually beyond its permitted limit of 2,100 tons. (Wikipedia)

Environment

Members of a Detroit-area community are intervening in an Environmental Protection Agency lawsuit against a DTE Energy subsidiary charged with dumping…

Health and Wellness

A bill headed to President Joe Biden's desk addresses a long-standing problem for domestic violence survivors, ending their ties to their abusers' …

Environment

Oregon is home to a plethora of rivers, but those waterways are not always accessible to every community. A new video series highlights how …

 

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