Friday, February 03, 2006

Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing

NRDC Says Reported Bush Nuclear Reprocessing Plan 'Unworkable'
1 February 2006

ENERGYWASHINGTON WEEK (WASHINGTON)-Nuclear expert and Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) nuclear program, Tom Cochran, slammed President Bush's plan to focus on nuclear reprocessing as a waste solution, saying it would squander an overwhelming amount of taxpayer dollars and ultimately encourage non-nuclear states to join the arms race. Administration sources believe Bush is planning to propose a DOE task force called the Global Nuclear Energy Initiative (GNEI), which would, among other things, heighten spent fuel reprocessing as a priority. Cochran insists the plan would result in exponentially increased costs for building new reprocessing plants, "lead to huge inventories of separated plutonium" and dramatically increase the risk of proliferation. And in addition to those concerns, Cochran said the U.S. would need "several 10s" of the new reactors just to "attack existing backlogs of waste." But proliferation risks aside, Cochran maintains that of the many reasons he sees for not going forth with such a proposal, the heart of the problem lies with the costs and timing that render the idea not feasible.

Source: "NRDC Says Reported Bush Nuclear Reprocessing Plan 'Unworkable'", Washington, in EnergyWashington Week 1 Feb 06 (accessed through LexisNexis Database). (Reliability: 8)

Comment: GNEI is the major component of the administration's reprocessing initiative. The administration views the plan as one that will allow emerging economies access to nuclear fuel without giving those countries the right to process the fuel.


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