Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Pay More, Risk More, Get Little

| May 21, 2015

In this oped for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Hui Zhang contributes a third article to an international roundtable on reprocessing:

"In Round Three, Baldev Raj and P.R. Vasudeva Rao claim to have identified "several technical inaccuracies" in my Round Two essay. I consider their claims misleading.

For example, I wrote that "high-level waste, long-lived intermediate waste, and low-level waste [from plutonium reprocessing and recycling] … must eventually be buried, so reprocessing does not eliminate the need for repositories." Raj and Rao respond that "only high-level waste requires burial in deep geological repositories. Intermediate waste can be buried in shallower repositories." But long-lived intermediate-level waste produced through plutonium reprocessing and recycling indeed must be buried in a deep repository (while shallow burial is adequate for short-lived radioactive waste). My key point, however, was that reprocessing does not eliminate the need for repositories. Raj and Rao essentially ignore this idea..."

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For Academic Citation: Zhang, Hui.“Pay More, Risk More, Get Little.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 21, 2015.