Originally Posted by SpankyMcFlych
But we see time and time again industry that abandons it's liabilities in this way. From gas stations that operate for 50 years and then abandon the polluted plot of land to factories to mines to manufacturers. Corporations themselves are amoral entities that would burn the world to make a penny's profit and without an outside force to ensure compliance with the needs of the people and with future generations they have demonstrated they'll do that and more without hesitation or qualm.
Now they may be counting on future technology to get them out of the bind of endless nuclear waste storage but I'm not willing to do so. I think it would be equally likely that the future will bring a different technology providing power that would render nuclear (or coal or gas or wind or whatever) obsolete. So at this future date when nuclear may be obsolete and no longer profitable do you really expect the corporation who owns X nuclear plant and all the waste it has generated over the years to have the resources to deal with that waste for however long it needs to? Without the nuclear plant to provide profit to cover it?
I'd rather burn coal and deal with global warming then saddle my descendants for all time with ever increasing amounts of nuclear waste.
I'm not sure why you are so sure that there is going to be a technology that will render nuclear obsolete any time soon, I haven't seen any evidence of a breakthrough on the horizon. Look how many years we've been using coal to power things, and it's still in use today (albeit not nearly as much). There is always the hope for fusion power, but creating the device to hold and maintain the reaction is proving to be extremely difficult. The longest we've been able to maintain the fusion reaction is still under one second, we still have a long ways to go.
It seems to me that you don't fully understand how safe these materials are the way they are being stored. These containers are built to make sure no radiation leaks out as they travel down interstates to/from plants. You can even find pictures of storage sties, and you'll notice that the workers aren't wearing special protection, the containers are actually that good at their jobs.
From an economical viewpoint, these power companies want
a solution to this problem; they don't want to have to pay to store this stuff. Now that Obama has closed Yucca Mountain, there is more pressure than ever to do something about it. The good news is that these storage sites are largely self-sustaining... Pretty much just a hole in the ground.
Like I've said before, nuclear facilities are some of the most regulated facilities on the planet, or at least in the US. They are built to strict standards, they are run to strict standards, and they are decommissioned to strict standards. It's actually amazing when you think about how few problems nuclear sites have had, while oil spills, coal mines collapses, and natural gas line explosions are in the news relatively often. The people running these plants know what's at stake, and lets be honest, no one wants an incident like Fukushima, Three Mile, or Chernobyl.
Continuing to use fossil fuels just because the current best clean alternative is less than perfect is pretty hypocritical in my eyes. Hell, fossil fuels have tons of downsides, I don't really see how it can be considered the lesser evil. But on the other hand, look how far oil, coal, and gas has come in efficiency and cleanliness; this is no doubt in part to it's adoption as a main power source. As long as you keep nuclear on the back-burner, progress towards a solution will be much slower.
Every power source has a necessary evil tied to it. Realistically, nuclear power is the only efficient, clean, and renewable power source we have right now. The biggest thing that needs to happen is education, something the government has been terrible about. They need to brag about how well they've done, how good these containers are, and how few accidents there have been.
Don't mean to bore you guys with a wall of text over and over, apparently I feel pretty passionately about it. Plus, no one seems to talk about the benefits of nuclear power, that's apparently not a good news story... The only thing you hear about are the same few dangers and worst-case scenarios reiterated over and over. It's really quite disappointing... Such is life, I suppose.