Commentary: Nuclear waste debate lacks reasoning

The Tri-City HeraldSeptember 9, 2009 

We'd like to see the Obama administration come up with a better plan for the nation's nuclear wastes.

We really would.

If science and a rational energy policy ever ruled the day, the federal government wouldn't be burying spent reactor fuel at Yucca Mountain in Nevada or anywhere else.

At least not until the useful isotopes were recycled and the leftover wastes turned into glass logs.

Throwing away an abundant energy source — one that releases no greenhouse gases — was never a good idea.

With today's growing concerns over global warming and America's dependence on foreign oil, the idea seems downright wacky.

Unfortunately, there's no reason to think the administration's decision to abandon the Yucca Mountain repository and rethink the nation's plans for handling spent fuel will lead to a better solution.

That's not a knock on Energy Secretary Steven Chu or the expert panel on nuclear wastes that he's supposed to appoint.

It's simply a recognition that politics and emotions have always trumped science when it comes to this issue.

Given the history, we're afraid that another run at this political hot potato is likely to impede the much-needed resurgence of nuclear power.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Tri-City Herald.

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