Monday, Aug. 12, I was taking a break, cooling off from stacking firewood. As I sipped ice water and surfed channels on the TV, I came across a rerun (on C-Span) of a Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee hearing (originally held 6/27/19), regarding nuclear waste storage.

Having read an article previously in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle regarding a Wyoming legislative committee’s decision to form and ”… explore temporarily storing spent nuclear fuel rods in the state …,” I thought “why not?” After all, I believed Senator Barrasso to be a sitting member of the committee.

I can’t recount all that I heard on the rebroadcast; I would recommend that the Wyoming legislative committee (and others) review the broadcast as part of the process. The panel testifying before the committee appeared to be nuclear energy subject matter experts, all representing and highlighting issues of current nuclear material storage, including nuclear waste and specifically “spent fuel rods” – the material identified in the WTE article (7/17/19) for “temporary storage” in Wyoming.

While I did not have an opportunity to watch the entire hearing, some of my recollections of the testimony presented at the hearing, that I observed, are listed here:

  • On-site storage, at the many sites across the country, is not a driving factor in pursuing a permanent storage solution;
  • Any temporary (interim) storage site (current and/or future) “… are de facto permanent sites”;
  • The nuclear industry has a “… lack of wisdom to develop interim sites.”

Senator Barrasso did testify and comment on energy solutions going forward. He indicated that with the country’s desire to move to “alternate energy sources, including carbon capture” that nuclear energy has to be a part of the solution.

However, Senator Barrasso also indicated that communities are reluctant to pursue nuclear “… because there is not a permanent pathway to remove nuclear waste material.” And, a gentleman from the Yankee Atomic Energy Company testified that “Yucca [Mountain] may be outdated due to the fact the design is 20 years old. What we’ve been doing the last 20 years is not going to work.”

Good luck.

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