Friday, March 13, 2009

Much Ado About Nothing?

Our old friend William Tucker is back in the news today with an oped in the Wall Street Journal that makes the case that controversy surrounding spent nuclear fuel rods and the Yucca Mountain nuclear graveyard is much ado about nothing.

Tucker is, of course, unabashed and unapologetic, in his advocacy for nuclear power. His piece in the Journal is essentially a response to Energy Secretary Steven Chu's testimony before Congress last week, in which the Secretary essentially pulled the plug on Yucca Mountain.

Tucker argues that spent nuclear rods can be fully reprocessed with the bulk of the uranium (U-238) going back into the ground where it is naturally occuring anyway, and the remaining fissionable material (U-235 and plutonium) being recycled into nuclear fuel or used for medical purposes in increasingly common nuclear medicine.

He argues that the entire spent fuel controversy was borne out of a fear of terrorists obtaining bomb-making material that goes back to the days of Presidents Ford and Carter.

I'm certain there are more than a few points in here that people can argue around the water cooler.