FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Endless Simmer

by RUSSELL D. HOFFMAN

In Washington DC, a recent Senate subcommittee hearing was held on nuclear waste.  It stretched on and on for several hours.  Only “experts” and Senators spoke.  It was chaired by Senator Tom Carper (D, DE), who not-too-subtly confessed to possessing not a whit of knowledge about the issues:  At every turn he would say things like, “I want to thank you for your report, which the experts tell me is very good.”

He did admit that his “tiny little state” is much too small to have the opportunity to bid for the privilege and PROFIT of having a federal jail facility built within its borders, let alone a nuclear waste dump.

But please come visit Rehoboth Bay when you get a chance!  It hasn’t been Fukushima’d yet by Hope Creek or Salem Units 1 or 2, chugging away, rusting away, vulnerable to earthquakes and liquefaction as they sit on their manmade islands in the middle of the Delaware River, along Delaware’s northeastern edge.  Essentially all of Delaware would be wiped out by an accident at these decrepit old power plants.

So of course, he wants a centralized storage facility, or several “decentralized” storage facilities scattered in “less densely populated” areas.  He didn’t name a state he prefers.

The trick to getting a nuclear waste dump built, apparently, is a simple three-fold process, which, they claim, has been successfully done in other countries, but which they can’t seem to pull it off here.  They’ll keep trying.  Here are the steps:

First, stop calling it a dump.  Nuclear waste was referred to by one “expert” as a “resource”.

Second, narrow down the area which can decide yea or nay on the project.  The area should be far smaller than a state or county, preferably it will be just a hole in the ground, the top of which is in somebody’s back yard.  That would be the ideal situation.

And third:  Pay the local community buckets full of money to get them to like the idea.  This is not known as bribery, it’s called “incentive-based site location.”  France added a twist the Senators liked:  Start by building an underground “research facility” which everyone knows will “eventually” (read:  Next generation, decades from now) be turned into a nuclear waste dump.  “We can make it attractive” announced one Senator confidently.

And sure, it sounds easy.  But so far Americans apparently haven’t been dumb enough to accept the strategy.  One Senator asked an “expert” if he thought the solution to get Yucca Mountain going was to pour more bribery money into Nevada (he called it “incentives”).  That would probably work, was the answer.

And therefore, it was considered the right thing do to.

In the entire session, there was not one word about what processes might be studied, that had never been tried before, that had some promise… because there really aren’t any such processes being studied, and everything’s been tried before… and failed.  Nuclear waste is an eternal problem.  Scientific American pegs it at “250,000 years”, so that’s close enough to eternity for me.

Russell D. Hoffman lives in Carlsbad, California. He is an educational software developer and bladder cancer survivor, as well as a collector of military and nuclear historical documents and books. He is the author and programmer of the award-winning Animated Periodic Table of the Elements. He can be reached at: rhoffman@animatedsoftware.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
Russell Mokhiber
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Roger Harris
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism
Steve Horn
Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers
Louis Proyect
Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers
Ralph Nader
Trump and His Betraying Makeover
Stephen Kimber
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Dan Bacher
WSPA: The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Nile Bowie
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ron Ridenour
Fidel’s Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
Missy Comley Beattie
By Invitation Only
Fred Gardner
Sword of Damocles: Pot Partisans Fear Trump’s DOJ
Renee Parsons
Obama and Propornot
Dean Baker
Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
Jack Rasmus
Taming Trump: From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Ron Jacobs
Selling Racism—A Lesson From Pretoria
Julian Vigo
The Hijos of Buenos Aires:  When Identity is Political
Matthew Vernon Whalan
Obama’s Legacy
Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano
By Way of Prologue: On How We Arrived at the Watchtower and What We Saw from There
Aidan O'Brien
Fidel and Spain: A Tale of Right and Wrong
Carol Dansereau
Stop Groveling! How to Thwart Trump and Save the World
Kim Nicolini
Moonlight, The Movie
Evan Jones
Behind GE’s Takeover of Alstom Energy
James A Haught
White Evangelicals are Fading, Powerful, Baffling
Barbara Moroncini
Protests and Their Others
Christopher Brauchli
Parallel Lives: Trump and Temer
Joseph Natoli
The Winds at Their Backs
Cesar Chelala
Poverty is Not Only an Ignored Word
David Swanson
75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies
Alex Jensen
The Great Deceleration
Nyla Ali Khan
When Faith is the Legacy of One’s Upbringing
Gilbert Mercier
Trump Win: Paradigm Shift or Status Quo?
Stephen Martin
From ‘Too Big to Fail’ to ‘Too Big to Lie’: the End Game of Corporatist Globalization.
Charles R. Larson
Review: Emma Jane Kirby’s “The Optician of Lampedusa”
David Yearsley
Haydn Seek With Hsu
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail