Another post that was sitting in the draft box:
First, short-term storage is all that is needed. And second, it is necessary to change the way the NRC assists with innovation and self-education.
Long term storage should not be on the table for anything other than decommissioned materials that cannot be reused and the minute quantities of waste that cannot be made useful after reprocessing.
Technology is available to deal with reprocessing within the lifetime of useable recyclable waste. Of all 4th generation reactors the Molten Salt Reactor family is a technology most likely to occur in the near future. Objections to the LFTR variant of the TMSR and the Liquid Chloride Fast Reactor and the DMSR all have modern solutions achievable within 10 years.
Lastly, engineers and academics need to play a larger role in the consultation process for allowing new nuclear reactor designs. Business models are secondary when the human race is at stake.
Understanding the need for storage needs to be put in the right context. Some important questions that are not even in their radar are:
1) What if there was a way to make the same amount of energy with only a fraction of fuel that is currently used?
2) What if the fuel used was mostly all burned up in the process to create electricity?
3) What if society could benefit from an already tested and proven technology which would allow some of the excess heat from creating nuclear power to enable desalinating sea water into fresh water.
4) What if the public’s safety was immediately less risky by a factor of a few thousand times. After all how do we measure risk? Are we taking about a large earth quake that only strike once in a thousand years.
5) What if a melt down is impossible in a new reactor design?
I could recommend just one reactor that can do all of the above. The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor.
One sign of a failing government is when there is too much bureaucracy. Satirical plays like Kafka’s Metamorphosis and the film Brazil by Terry Gilliam use extremes to show how people gradually adjust or cope with the entanglement of rules and rule makers imposed on their lives. Somehow people who are not qualified become placed in charge. What has been taking place for thirty or forty years is a wider and wider employment of people filling jobs that really accomplish very little. When a system is set in place to protect the public from possible radiation there is a neurosis that pervades the public because of their general ignorance about the dangers at stake.