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Old 06-10-2019, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Iowa
118 posts, read 23,071 times
Reputation: 147

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A couple of interesting headlines from the past week. Just curious about local thoughts on nuclear waste in Idaho. Are you satisfied with the cleanup efforts? How about the contribution to the east Idaho economy?

https://www.localnews8.com/news/idah...run/1083593425
https://www.localnews8.com/news/desp...ing/1084124585
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:37 AM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
21,481 posts, read 14,387,730 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riffle View Post
A couple of interesting headlines from the past week. Just curious about local thoughts on nuclear waste in Idaho. Are you satisfied with the cleanup efforts? How about the contribution to the east Idaho economy?

https://www.localnews8.com/news/idah...run/1083593425
https://www.localnews8.com/news/desp...ing/1084124585
I'm satisfied. I have some acquaintances who worked in the cleanup, so I had a bit of on-going information.

The economic contribution of the cleanup was enormous. The INL developed many new and radically different ways of cleaning and containing nuclear waste as the cleanup progressed, and those methods spawned a bunch of private businesses that specialize in cleanup, storage, and transport of nuclear waste.

Idaho Falls has become the go-to city for a lot of things that pertain to nuclear power. The testing lab has been her so long that the nuclear expertise in our private sector is probably multi-generational.

It must be one of the reasons why Ariva, the leading French nuke company, chose I.F. as their new place to set up camp in the U.S.
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Iowa
118 posts, read 23,071 times
Reputation: 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by banjomike View Post
I'm satisfied. I have some acquaintances who worked in the cleanup, so I had a bit of on-going information.

The economic contribution of the cleanup was enormous. The INL developed many new and radically different ways of cleaning and containing nuclear waste as the cleanup progressed, and those methods spawned a bunch of private businesses that specialize in cleanup, storage, and transport of nuclear waste.

Idaho Falls has become the go-to city for a lot of things that pertain to nuclear power. The testing lab has been her so long that the nuclear expertise in our private sector is probably multi-generational.

It must be one of the reasons why Ariva, the leading French nuke company, chose I.F. as their new place to set up camp in the U.S.
Is there a reason you used the past tense? Like is the waste mostly cleaned up, from your perspective?

It's a tough time for the nuclear power generation sector in the US, but maybe that will turn around someday (like if natural gas prices rise).
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Old 06-12-2019, 04:14 AM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
21,481 posts, read 14,387,730 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riffle View Post
Is there a reason you used the past tense? Like is the waste mostly cleaned up, from your perspective?

It's a tough time for the nuclear power generation sector in the US, but maybe that will turn around someday (like if natural gas prices rise).
Yes. The cleanup project is almost completed.

Yup, nuclear power isn't getting the attention it once did, but I expect it will turn around pretty soon. There are a big bunch of old power plants that have ended their time and are due to shut down soon.

The reactor designs have vastly improved since the 1970s, when our last power plants were built. They're much smaller and more efficient, and are in widespread use all over Europe and other parts of the world, and nuclear combines very well with wind and solar.

Hopefully, the U.S. will see the value in them that the Europeans already realize and begin building some new nuke replacements as the old plants shut down.
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:23 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
1,727 posts, read 1,261,921 times
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:28 AM
 
365 posts, read 239,798 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riffle View Post
Is there a reason you used the past tense? Like is the waste mostly cleaned up, from your perspective?

It's a tough time for the nuclear power generation sector in the US, but maybe that will turn around someday (like if natural gas prices rise).
Nuscale is currently developing small modular reactors, of which the first power plant will be at INL. Of course at this point it's just speculation, they think these will be able to generate power cheaper than natural gas. However natural gas will likely get cheaper as well as supply is expanding
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:43 PM
 
Location: Iowa
118 posts, read 23,071 times
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So, is the $300-400M budget for DOE Environmental Management in Idaho expected to dry up soon with the cleanup work nearing completion? That would have to be a blow to the Eastern Idaho economy.

That would be cool technology, if it came to fruition. Best of luck to them!
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
21,481 posts, read 14,387,730 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riffle View Post
So, is the $300-400M budget for DOE Environmental Management in Idaho expected to dry up soon with the cleanup work nearing completion? That would have to be a blow to the Eastern Idaho economy.

That would be cool technology, if it came to fruition. Best of luck to them!
The budget would not necessarily evaporate, as the INL is also deeply involved in some non-nuclear programs that require development and testing.

The waste disposal is an old program that was begun when the lab's mission was still focused mainly on nuclear power. All of the more recent programs that have become parts of the INL's mission are newer, some much newer, and many have connections to some of our greatest national concerns of the present.

Some of them may have much higher priority now, and there's always some funding sacrifice in every budget. Once a year's allotment is made, the money tends to go toward the greatest priorities of the moment. Generally, once the money is allocated, it's spent in the areas of greatest need.

The most important thing about all this is the INL's testing abilities. The INL is the only national laboratory where deep testing was a big part of its initial mission from the very first.

The INL has always gone looking for weaknesses of design and causes for failures, so it's testing capabilities and expertise lend themselves to a lot of non-nuclear application. The INL, for example, was the first lab to create and test the then-radical car batteries that are now in use in every electric car made. That program began in the late 80s, and ended long before the first electric cars went into production.

All of the other old labs of similar age to the INL were much more centered around production and other aspects of the nuke industry. Once the warheads and other items were no longer needed to be produced, the labs had no further mission.

Even when nuclear was the INL's primary mission, there was always a lot of other things, from computer programming to common hardware store items that needed to be tested from the first for safety, reliability, and other factors.

The INL was the only lab that designed and constructed test reactors that were designed to replicate failures that were discovered in the larger labs and in the commercial sector. These test reactors were all built to a much smaller scale than all the others, as the size didn't matter if everything was scaled correctly, and the small reactors were much easier and cheaper to re-configure for new tests.

Many of the tests were forward thinking, while others were for discovery of a present or past failure. This made the INL the most versatile lab in testing in the nation. And, at present, the only one the United States has.

All this doesn't mean their budget could dry up, though. That depends on Congress, and the lab has taken many budget hits in the past. Congress is congress, and there are always other federal programs that are fighting to stay funded.

One thing in the INL's favor, however is our representatives in Congress. They are strong and knowledgeable proponents for the INL, and have often convinced the Congressional budget committees of the INL's importance. 3 of the 4 of them are all seniors and have seats on the pertinent committees as well with one serving as a Chairman.

Last edited by banjomike; 06-12-2019 at 08:35 PM..
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Iowa
118 posts, read 23,071 times
Reputation: 147
Right, but the Office of Environmental Management cleanup budget for Idaho alone is hundreds of millions of dollars at present. That doesn't include INL's other research missions.
https://www.energy.gov/em/mission/cleanup-sites
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:54 PM
 
Location: Washington State desert
5,552 posts, read 3,704,312 times
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Trump has threatened to cut budgets for clean up at INL and Hanford in Washington. Just for your voter referral.
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