World's 250,000-Ton Nuclear Waste Stockpiles a 'Global Crisis'
The 100-page analysis is an overview of nuclear waste storage facilities in seven countries: France, the U.S., Belgium, Japan, Sweden, Finland and Britain. Several of these nations' waste facilities were "near saturation," the AFP noted from the report.
"There is now a global stockpile of around a quarter of a million tons of highly radioactive spent fuel in around 14 countries," the report states. "The majority of this spent fuel remains in cooling pools at reactor sites that lack defense-in-depth such as secondary containment and are vulnerable to loss of cooling, and in many cases lack independent back-up power."
Moreover, these nations also have to confront other related problems such as fire risk, venting of radioactive gases, environmental contamination, failure of containers, terrorist attacks and escalating costs, AFP pointed out from the study.
"More than 65 years after the start of the civil use of nuclear power, not a single country can claim that it has the solution to manage the most dangerous radioactive wastes," Shaun Burnie, a nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany and coordinator of the report, said in a statement to AFP.
Burying nuclear waste deep underground—a touted long-term storage option—"has shown major flaws which exclude it for now as a credible option," Burnie added.
Greenpeace has protested nuclear power for decades and is a proponent of renewable energy, which is "is better for the environment, the economy, and doesn't come with the risk of a nuclear meltdown," the group's U.S. website states.
"Every waste dump in the U.S. leaks radiation into the environment, and nuclear plants themselves are running out of ways to store highly radioactive waste on site," Greenpeace USA writes. "The site selected to store the U.S.'s radioactive waste—Yucca Mountain in Nevada—is both volcanically and seismically active."
Plans to build the long-delayed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste facility were halted in 2010 by then-President Barack Obama, but the Trump administration appears to have revived the proposal.
The new Greenpeace analysis comes right as a damning report from the Nevada Independent revealed that the U.S. secretly shipped weapons-grade plutonium from South Carolina to store in Nevada months ago despite vehement opposition from the state.
"Time and again, we have seen Trump administration officials treat Nevada as the dumping ground for the nation's nuclear waste," Democratic Rep. Dina Titus said in a press release about the shipment.
"If the Trump Administration thinks that making such a reckless decision under the shroud of secrecy will allow them to move forward with Yucca Mountain, they are mistaken," she added.
The move comes after regional authorities declared a state of emergency over the weekend after sightings of more than 50 bears in the town of Belushya Guba since December.
This year's letter from Bill and Melinda Gates focused on nine things that surprised them. For the Microsoft-cofounder, one thing he was surprised to learn was the massive amount of new buildings the planet should expect in the coming decades due to urban population growth.
"The number of buildings in the world is going to double by 2060. It's like we're going to build a new New York City every month for the next 40 years," he said.
By Shana Udvardy
After a dearth of action on climate change and a record year of extreme events in 2017, the inclusion of climate change policies within the annual legislation Congress considers to outline its defense spending priorities (the National Defense Authorization Act) for fiscal year 2018 was welcome progress. House and Senate leaders pushed to include language that mandated that the Department of Defense (DoD) incorporate climate change in their facility planning (see more on what this section of the bill does here and here) as well as issue a report on the impacts of climate change on military installations. Unfortunately, what DoD produced fell far short of what was mandated.
Trump is losing his rallying cry to save coal. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) voted on Thursday to retire two coal-fired power plants in the next few years despite a plea from the president to keep one of the plants open.
Earlier this week, the president posted an oddly specific tweet that urged the government-owned utility to save the 49-year-old Paradise 3 plant in Kentucky. It so happens that the facility burns coal supplied by Murray Energy Corporation, whose CEO is Robert Murray, is a major Trump donor.