American Elephants

The Science Is Settled, The Politics Are Something Else. by The Elephant's Child

Today the Obama administration — the Department of Energy (DOE), filed to withdraw the application for the geologic repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada that was supposed to begin collecting used fuel in 1998.

The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 set January 31, 1998, as the deadline for the federal government to begin disposing of  used fuel.  More than a decade since the deadline, the government has not settled on a policy for how to do it.

According to the Heritage Foundation,  President Obama in an Executive Memorandum on March 9, 2009:

Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration on a wide range of issues, including improvement of public health, protection of the environment, increased efficiency in the use of energy and other resources, mitigation of the threat of climate change, and protection of national security.

The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions. Political officials should not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings and conclusions.

Perhaps you have noticed that the public cannot trust the science and scientific process that informs public policy decisions.

Yucca Mountain is the most studied site in the world, for the Nation’s permanent geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. It has been subjected to vigorous debate.  It is the safest site, geologically stable, suitable for 1,000 years.  It is necessary for the safe disposal of more than 55.000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste that is currently stored at over 100 sites in 39 states. The Yucca Mountain site could safely hold 120,000 tons of waste.

The issues involved around opening Yucca Mountain are purely political. The science is quite settled. It is important to pay attention to the science, except when it is inconvenient for, say, the Majority Leader of the Senate.


4 Comments so far
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Restoring science to it’s rightful place…
-Barack Obama

I suspect that was code for action “cap and trade”
carbon taxes and other things for the
global warming faithful. $7.00 a gallon

They see $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

The future is electric cars and Nuclear power.


Comment by Ron spins

I don’t think we’ll get much more nuclear power anytime soon. Obama is not going to annoy the greens. They help fund the Democrats. There is, as yet, no future in electric cars. It would take a huge breakthrough on batteries, and counting on a future invention is iffy. As is, they’re useful for going to the grocery store, if you can afford an extra car just for that. I’m not sure how often the batteries need to be replaced, but they run somewhere around $20,000.

Oh, Lindsey Graham, Lindsey Graham. There is NO need to put a big tax on oil and gas. We have plentiful supplies if we’d just stop playing false games with carbon panic. Carbon is a necessary building block of life — we need more of it, not less. We are at a fairly low point in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and could use way more beneficially.


Comment by The Elephant's Child
Gas taxes / prices have to rise because that’s
where the money is.
Some people will pay any amount per gallon
to drive their dinosaurs.

The near future is electric cars.


Comment by Ron spins

I don’t follow you, Ron. Enter Tesla Motors in the search function just above Bob Hope on the sidebar. The much vaunted Tesla Roadster didn’t come anywhere near to living up to their claims. With Obama giving big amounts of stimulus funds to Tesla for outrageously priced cars, they have to show “results.” In other words, I don’t buy their claims.

Why do gas taxes have to rise? I don’t get it. We have vast supplies of oil, and we are awash in natural gas for the next 100 years. We only lack the will to drill. Our current electric grid would not support a large number of electric cars. Where are all the convenient plug-in stations only about 7 miles apart? It’s a nice fantasy.

The entire hype about “foreign oil” is nonsense. Our primary suppliers are Canada and Mexico. We get only a declining percentage from the Saudis.

There is no environmental reason to avoid either oil or natural gas. Carbon is a building block of life, and we are actually short of CO2 in the atmosphere. We need more, not less, to fertilize the plants that will help to feed the world.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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