Nuclear Regulator Says Waste Isn't An "Urgent" Problem

After listening to the early Senate debate on the climate bill, one thing became clear: In some way, shape, or form, nuclear power will be included in the final piece of legislation.

Nuclear is a clean burning source of energy that has Republicans very excited. But there’s one nagging problem with nuclear power, its waste.

Right now it’s held on nuclear facilities, though eventually it’s supposed to be moved elsewhere. When? Well, not anytime soon, according to this Bloomberg story:

Finding a permanent site for spent nuclear fuel in the U.S. isn’t “an urgent problem,” the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.

Gregory Jaczko, who took over as chairman of the agency in May, said in an interview that the material can continue to be stored safely for the time being at nuclear power plants.

“Certainly, in the short term it’s not an urgent problem,” Jaczko, 38, said in the interview yesterday at the agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. “It is an issue we need to be aware of and be diligent about, but it’s not a crisis by any means.”

While he’s right, the actual storage of the fuel isn’t problematic, he’s wrong that it’s not an urgent problem.

Over the past two decades, the government gathered billions of dollars from utilities for a national storage facility. That facility was supposed to be Yucca Mountain, which was eliminated earlier this year. The power companies have spent billions of their own dollars on storage facilities.

Utilities are suing the government for $11 billion. While the government twiddles its thumbs trying to come up with a solution, this problem only gets worse.

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