Originally Posted by Slammy
more nuclear plants? are you kidding? You do realize how much toxic waste that creates that we have no idea what to do with? They are hollowing out mountains and putting the shit in there to forget about it, hardly an ideal solution. Nuclear power produces alot of power but i think the waste it creates isnt worth it. They need to figure out someway to properly dispose of that first!
Oh yeah, toxic waste, coal fired powered plants release more radioactive material, uranium, thorium, and mercury then all other nuclear plants operating in the world today.
The USA is far behind on the nuclear plant technology. France is the number one user of nuclear energy. France has 56 plants, which is nearly 1 for every million people. In France, the cost of nuclear-generated electricity fell by 7% from 1998 to 2001 and is now about EUR 3 cents/kWh,
They have the most up to date plants. Their next "Generation IV" plants, which started commissioning in 2006, will be able to better utilize uranium, further decrease the amount of waste produced. Their current technology uses recycling of the waste, unlike our processes.
This treatment extracts 99.9% of the plutonium and uranium for recycling, leaving 3% of the used fuel material as high-level wastes which are vitrified and stored there for later disposal.
It should be noted that such Generation IV reactors are not necessarily fuel by uranium but by thorium, a more abundant fertile material that decays into U233 after being exposed to neutrons. Such reactors use about 1/300 the amount of fuel to power them. The Liquid Fluoride Reactor is one such example of this.
France is generally cited as the most successful reprocessor, but it presently only recycles 28% (by mass) of the yearly fuel use, 7% within France and another 21% in Russia.
Unlike other countries, the US has stopped civilian reprocessing as one part of US non-proliferation policy, since reprocessed material such as plutonium can be used in nuclear weapons. Spent fuel is all currently treated as waste.