U.S. considers Sweden's atomic waste tactics
Lauding Sweden's energy industry for enlisting public support, the AAAS advised that the U.S. adopt the same strategy for depositing depleted nuclear rods.
Lauding Sweden's energy industry for enlisting public support for the controversial warehousing of radioactive waste, the American Association for the Advancement of Science advised that the U.S. adopt the same strategy for depositing depleted nuclear rods from reactors during their meeting in San Diego in February.
Like the U.S., Sweden gets 50% of its electricity from nuclear plants. Under Swedish law, any municipality can veto a repository within its borders, and protests against long term burial sites halted several proposed sites.
The association noted that Sweden's nuclear power industry worked closely with local politicians and voters in order to succeed in selecting a location where toxic nuclear leftovers could be stored. In the U.S., spent nuclear fuel rods have remained for decades in temporary storage at power plants. After Congress debated where to bury them, they reversed the same decision on a repository under Yucca Mountain and the current administration cut funding for that location.
U.S. President Barrack Obama has called for "a new generation of safe, clean nuclear plants" and has budgeted $36 billion in loan guarantees for nuclear power. A former Yucca engineer at the AAAS meeting remarked that Sweden's handling of the problem of wastes from nuclear energy sharply contrasted to the process in the US where the public comment period to review 6,000 pages of federal documents had been only 60 days.