Monday, April 04, 2011

At last--the reason spent fuel rods continue to pile up--in the U.S. and not in other places

Why spent  fuel rods continue to pile up.

After World War II, Congress created the Atomic Energy Commission to oversee military and civilian use of nuclear phenomena. That action held that only the feds could make plutonium.
Under A.E.C. control, utilities built nuclear power plants and jointly built a fuel rod reprocessing plant. In 1978 the reprocessing plant was ready to start, but President Jimmy Carter, saw that it would produce a small quantity of plutonium.
Therefore, Congress prohibited civilian reprocessing of fuel rods and bumped the cost of nuclear power. Utilities can take 3 percent of the power from fresh fuel rods before reprocessing is needed.
The “spent” rods are stored until the day that Congress permits reprocessing. Meanwhile other countries reprocess their fuel over and over again.

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