a new paradigm for high level radioactive waste disposal

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a new paradigm for high level radioactive waste disposal

THE LOW-LEVEL WASTE DISPOSAL SYSTEMIS ALSO BROKENThough low level waste disposal is not the primary focusof the Commission, its solution is also important. Manyof the concepts that are important in high-level wastedisposal are also important in low-level waste disposal.The BRC Charter also authorizes study of “materialsderived nuclear activities”.a. No new Compact waste disposal sites have yetreceived waste since the authorizing legislation waspassed in 1980.b. For waste producers in many states, there is no placeto dispose of Class B and Class C wastes. This is, insome instances, more critical than the high-level wasteproblem because many producers have extremely limitedstorage space for their wastes.July 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission3


From Crowley Presentation to BRC , May 25, 2010July 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission4


Strictlytechnicalsolutionwill notwork.From Crowley Presentation to BRC , May 25, 2010July 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission5


OTHER HIGHLIGHTS AND UPDATE 0F “RETHINKING”• Quantitative predictions to 10,000 years “pushes the boundaries ofour understanding”.• Choice is between geological disposal and on surface storage.• Remediation is a better option than retrieval as the best site andimmobilization techniques have already been chosen.• Disposal in sub-seabed sediments should be considered.• Much has been learned about siting and designing deep geologicalsites though the general principles in “Rethinking” are still valid.• Much has been learned about gaining and regaining trust though thegeneral principles in “Rethinking” are still valid.• Limiting proliferation has become more important as the terroristshave become more sophisticated, opportunities have increased and theterrorists are more martyr inclined.• Reducing human exposure to radiation has become more important asthe average dose in the U.S. has almost doubled to 6.2 mSv/y.July 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission6


BOUNDARY CONDITIONSREGAIN TRUST-ELIMINATE FALSEHOODS1,000,000 YEAR WARRANTYHURRY IN AND BUY IT TODAY!I ALSO HAVE BRIDGES FOR SALEJuly 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerYUCCA MOUNTAINDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission7


AVOID EXTREMES of PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLEGENTLEMEN, PLEASE FIND OUT HOW TO MAINTAIN LIFE ON EARTHWHEN THE SUN GOES EXTINCT IN ABOUT 5 BILLION YEARSBalance intergenerational and intra-generational needsTake into account distributional effectsJuly 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission8


BOUNDARY CONDITIONSREALISTIC PROMISES (A)OBJECTIVE-SUSTAINABILITY BUT WITH VALUECOMPLEXITY ("presence of of multiple, competing values andinterests.”)Rawls- “just savings should be adopted.”Weiss “a fundamental principle of intergenerational equity"Brundtland-“Sustainable development that meets theneeds of the present without compromising the ability offuture generations to meet their own needs .”(Our CommonFuture, 4 August, 1987), p. 14)“But the problem of nuclear waste disposal remains unsolved. Nuclearwaste technology has reached an advanced level of sophisticetion.50/This technology has not however been fully tested or utilized andproblems remain about disposal.”July 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission9


BOUNDARY CONDITIONSREALISTIC PROMISES (B)Therefore, it is not necessary to „solve‟ the nuclear waste„problem‟ but we cannot leave future generations withgreater burdens, environmental and economic, than weface today.Consequently, we should plan, design and build systemsbased upon how far we can plan for the future withsome confidence, say 100 years.I would like to ask the Subcommittee the rhetoricalquestion-did you, after you reached the age of consent,do as your parents wished? Why, then, should we expectfuture generations do as we wish without us having anyunderstanding of the conditions they will face at thattime?July 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission10


BOUNDARY CONDITIONS- REALISTIC PROMISES-CA number of options meet this 100 year objective:• The surface storage option, now in pools and dry casks, isinadvertently being tested as some of these wastes havebeen stored on the surface for over 60 years.• We should also look at a centralized surface storagefacility, deep geological disposal and a tunnel under theocean to a sub-seabed site (already in existence inSweden), among others.• At the end of the 100 year period, the disposal optionsshould be examined under the conditions prevailing atthat time.• Before any decision is made, the option should beexamined theoretically, modeled and tested at a pilot scale.July 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission11


DISPOSAL IN SUB-SEABED SEDIMENTS IDisposal of high level waste (spent fuel) in deep oceansub-seabed sediments was successfully explored in the1970s and 1980s.Recovery of some of the 4.5 billion tons of uranium in theocean, already demonstrated at a pilot scale at 2-3 timesthe spot price for uranium, would eliminate the need forreprocessing to conserve uranium resources. This wouldreduce the opportunities for nuclear proliferation. Ifexternalities were taken into account, e.g. mining siteremediation, costs might even be lower than marketcosts.The London (Dumping) Protocol of 1996 was modifiedin 2006 to allow sequestration of CO2 in sub-seabedgeological formations (oceanic acidification). Why notfor spent fuel?July 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission12


DISPOSAL IN SUB-SEABED SEDIMENTS IIOpposition by island nations to disposal into the seas may bereduced as they are among the first to be affected by globalwarming. Note that all of the radioactive material that would havebeen put into Yucca Mountain is more than an order of magnitudeless than what is naturally in the ocean and if delayed for 300 yearswould be 3 orders of magnitude less.BECQUERELS (CURIES) DO NOT EQUAL SIEVERTS(REMS)MOBILITY AND BIOAVAILABILTY MUST BE CONSIDEREDRADIOACTIVITY IN THE OCEAN BECQUERELSNatural1.50E+22Directly Dumped8.50E+16Fallout 1.5 E+18Reprocessing Plant EffluentYucca Mountain when full 70,000 MTHM1.00E+178.00E+20Yucca Mountain after 300 years 1.8 E+19July 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission13


DISPOSAL IN SUB-SEABED SEDIMENTS II“The results of this radiological assessment show thatthe disposal of high level waste in sub-seabedsediments could be radiologically a very safe option.”Feasibility of Disposal of High-Level Radioactive Waste Into the Seabed, V. 2Radiological Assessment, 1988, NEAInput data are 3,000 GW(e) years (100,000MTHMburnup) Main dose is from molluscs consumption andexternal exposure from beach sediments. (similar for both)“Individual doses are at all times less than 10E-6mSv/y”.Disposal Into the Sub-seabed, Performance Assessment of Geological IsolationSystems for Radioactive Waste, 1988, CECJuly 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission14


REDUCE RADIATION DOSAGES I3.1 mSv/y2.3 mSv/y radon and thoron0.13 mSv/y0.02 mSv/yNuclear Power3.0 mSv/yNCRP 160 Ionizing Radiation Exposure of the Population of the United StatesJuly 7, 2010Disposal Subcommittee of the15Frank L. ParkerBlue Ribbon Commission


REDUCE RADIATION DOSAGES II• “This Report neither quantifies the associated healthrisks nor specifies the radiation protection actions thatshould be taken in light of these latest data becausethese subjects are beyond the scope of this Report.”(NCRP 160 Executive Summary)• Regulations limit the dose to 0.04, 0.10, 0.15, 0.25 and1.0 mSv/y. These regulations entail large costs andfears while we do nothing to reduce radon and medicaldosages that are much larger and could be lowered atmuch lower costs. In the limiting case, medical andbackground doses are over 100 times the permissibledose for drinking water .July 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission16


REGAIN TRUST-PERSPECTIVE I• Nuclear war effects overwhelm all otherconsiderations. Non-proliferation efforts shoulddominate.• Value complexity must be taken into account.Multi-attribute solution required. However,technical solution must be of high quality andbelievable.• Chernobyl 20 years later-“At the communitylevel, poverty and lack of socio-economicopportunity are the biggest danger for theChernobyl affected areas.” (UN Chernobyl Forum 2009)• Effects of low-level radiation, if they exist, are solow as to be non-detectable.July 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission17


REGAIN TRUST-PERSPECTIVE IIHARMONIZE LAWS AND REGULATIONSa. Some Greater Than Class C more radioactive thansome High level waste (determined by origin)b. Transuranic (TRU) waste buried before 1970 treateddifferently than TRU buried after 1970c. NRC and EPA regulations for the same materialdifferCongress has refused to intervenea. Congress should require the harmonization. Forexample, mandate a committee of 1 representative fromeach of the affected agencies and an independentchairman. At the end of 6 months without an agreement,the Chairman would make the decision. Observe allprocedural requirements.July 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission18


ANOTHER POSSIBLE WAY OFPROCEEDING?Final Sentence of Fortum andBernstein’s Muddling Through,1998, Counterpoint Publisher“Let‟s Hope It Works”• NO MATHEMATICALLY OPTIMALSOLUTIONS ARE POSSIBLE. SOWE MUST STRIVE FORSOCIETALLY ACCEPTABLESOLUTIONS• This book is one of many suggestingthat formal optimization methods willnot work for these complexproblems that will continue over longtime periods.• Such an approach has beenadvocated for over 200 years.– “Muddling through”– “garbage can solution”July 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission19


WILL THERE BE OPPOSITION? OFCOURSE! IT WILL NOT BE EASY!As Niccolo Machiavelli wrote about 500 years ago“The reformer has enemies in all those who profit by theold order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those whowould profit by the new order.”If not us, then whom? If not now, When?THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES FOR SUCCESSBUT WITHOUT A NEW APPROACH,FAILURE IS ALMOST ASSURED.July 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission20


BACKUP SLIDESJuly 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission21


VALUE COMPLEXITYAlexander L. George, Stanford University definedvalue complexity as the "presence of of multiple,competing values and interests."Most strategic problems cannot be resolved throughobjective analysis, management, a simple phone call,outsourcing, cost-benefit tables or mathematical"solutionsThey tend to be resolved throughsubjectivity, human instinct, relationships,interdependence, leadership, personal intervention,and deliberative value judgments and tradeoffs.July 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission22


B.S. Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyPh.D. Harvard UniversityNational Academy of Engineering election citation“For world leadership in the development of the basic informationrequired for the safe disposal of high-level radioactive wastes.”Wendell D. Weart Award-Lifetime Achievement Award in WasteManagement citation“Professor Parker has profoundly shaped the present concepts ofnuclear waste management and repository development during thecourse of his long and distinguished career.”July 7, 2010Frank L. ParkerDisposal Subcommittee of theBlue Ribbon Commission23

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