Nuclear waste is still not safe


Having reviewed the entire article in the light of the comments made I agree that there were some things that I wrote which I had not researched thoroughly and I did write for maximum impact rather than for maximum consideration of the full story. The shades of grey never make headlines.

That being said, I stand by the vast majority of the statements that I made, and invite you to make up your own mind after considering the resources provided to below. I have not used resources from anti-nuclear groups that could be accused of fudging the figures, or only emphasising one side of the story.

I have used resources from the nuclear industry itself, government agencies and reliable, independent newspapers. Links to these resources are available below.

“Millions of tonnes of nuclear waste sit in council dumps.”

This statement has been described as alarmist. I agree that it is alarming but as it is true and alarming, I fail to see that it is alarmist.


Here are the facts


There are 121 locations across the US storing nuclear waste – Scientific American

There are millions of gallons of nuclear waste at one facility in Hamford –

The US is stockpiling over 1 million tonnes of high level depleted uranium

Britain is storing over 100,000 tonnes of high level waste but has now way of telling exactly how much because there is no central record

Most nuclear waste is currently stored in interim depots awaiting long term storage solutions – World Nuclear Association

75 of them are administered by State or County governments. These tend to hold the low level waste, but many of them have been found to be leaking.

If that is not enough, google “nuclear waste leak” and you get more of the picture.


Yucca mountain and safe storage


“The [US] government reached the conclusion [when considering Yucca Mountain] that it is impossible to store the waste safely”


This statement has been described as alarmist on the basis that the government found it possible to store the waste safely, but prohibitively expensive.


While it is true that the US government is still wrangling internally over whether to build Yucca mountain or not, there is no doubt that the scientists advising the government have reached the conclusion that the dump cannot be made safe in the long term. /articles/archive/1195-this-is-not-a-place-of-honor

Bunker busting bombs and babies

This is the area where I accept that I did skimp on my research and may have been led into making some wild claims. For example I claimed that the depleted uranium is used to make shell casings, when it is in fact made into a rod inside the shell. I also used the term explode instead of the more accurate term vaporise. I did not ever claim that depleted uranium is the basis of a nuclear bomb or an atomic explosion, however.


The criticism that concerns me most, however, referred to defects in the research used to describe the connection between the use of depleted uranium in bunker busted bombs and birth defects in Iraq. My further research into those claims have been unable to unearth a clear proof for some of those claims. I will certainly pay more attention to the details of that research in the future.

Politicians, passion and accuracy

It is a requirement of political speech writing to simplify and clarify complex arguments to communicate effectively. This is also a requirement of newspaper writing, all ethical marketing and scientific documentation.


The tendency in politics is to go for the emotional hot-buttons and I stand corrected for having got hot under the collar about this topic.


I thank those who made their comments, especially James Courtney, who took the time to detail his criticisms and explain his concerns.





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