2-16-11: An Energetic Conversation

February 16, 2011 at 8:01 am Leave a comment

Last Tuesday, we spoke about the possibility of building a series of wind turbines to generate electricity off the coast of Maryland. Jim Lanard, the President of the Offshore Wind Development Coalition, argued for it, and Norman Meadow, vice president of the Maryland Conservation Council, contended nuclear power is a better alternative to burning fossil fuel than offshore wind.

A listener, Wayne Curtis, wrote on our website:

“I couldn’t believe you went through this entire interview and allowed the guy plugging Nuclear power to talk about the environmental problems of wind, how Nuclear was so “clean” and you never brought up the fact that his “clean” solution generates tons of toxic waste that will be radioactive and deadly for tens of thousands of years, and for which we have no safe, secure storage solution! How can you let someone walk away from the facts like that?”

We sent the note to Norman Meadow, and he wrote in response:

” There is a very safe and secure storage method for used reactor fuel (it’s really NOT waste).  The professional society of radiation health officers recommends storing spent fuel in welded stainless steel casks kept in heavy concrete bunkers until the bulk of the radioactivity has decayed.  This material can then be reprocessed to usable reactor fuel with much less hazard to plant workers than recently removed fuel.  The radioactive stuff remaining would have about one one thousandth of the mass of the original fuel rods and be easy to store safely for very long periods.”

Mr. Meadow also supplied a link to this statement released by the Health Physics Society.

If you have any thoughts about wind power–or any other segment you’ve heard on Maryland Morning, please let us know.  You can leave a message for us to play on air at 410-881-3162.  You can also email us at mdmorning-at-wypr-dot-org.  Or leave us a comment below.

Entry filed under: Energy. Tags: , , .

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