Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Endless Simmer

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:
October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity
Nick Pemberton
The Colonial Pantsuit: What We Didn’t Want to Know About Africa
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Summer of No Return
Jeff Halper
Choices Made: From Zionist Settler Colonialism to Decolonization
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Incident: Trump’s Special Relationship With the Saudi Monarchy
Andrew Levine
Democrats: Boost, Knock, Enthuse
Barbara Kantz
The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island
Doug Johnson
Nate Silver and 538’s Measurable 3.5% Democratic Bias and the 2018 House Race
Gwen Carr
This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner
Robert Hunziker
Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!
Arshad Khan
Is There Hope on a World Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius?
David Rosen
Packing the Supreme Court in the 21stCentury
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Threats of Death and Destruction
Joel A. Harrison
The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail