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Joined: 7/9/2008
Msg: 207
Reprocessing and ADM Rickover, 2 solutions to nuclear powerPage 11 of 11    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
Nuclear power is only a viable option for this country if we do 2 things to ensure safety and minimize waste. The basics of the plan are allowing reprocessing and copying the US Navy's methodology as established by ADM Hyman G. Rickover.

1: We need to repeal Gerald Ford's 1976 ban on the reprocessing of nuclear fuel. I understand why the ban was put in place as there were major concerns in the 1970s about nuclear proliferation and reprocessing obviously produced a plutonium that could be further refined to weapons grade or even supergrade material. It was a fair concern in the 1970, but modern technology allows us to reprocess spent uranium in a way that produces fuel grade plutonium, but not weapons grade plutonium. We have plenty of spent uranium sitting in storage and hundreds of nuclear facilities while politicians debate what to do with it. With the Yucca Mountain plan falling through, this is a wise course of action. It both provides power and reduces our supply of uranium that is just sitting around in facilities with poor security.

2: We need another Hyman Rickover to set forth strict standards for the DoE and NRC. Since the USS Nautilus first went "underway on nuclear power" in 1954, over 200 cruisers, aircraft carriers, and submarines have been put to sea by the US Navy. The nuclear navy has operated for a total of over 5,000 combined years without a single nuclear incident. There is a reason for that. Rickover demanded excellence all the time. He set up ORSE teams that regularly drilled crews and inspected reactor spaces to insure that crews could deal with anything that could possibly happen and that safety was the primary concern. In fact, the one complaint leveled against Rickover by modern sub commanders is that he had them focus too much on safety and not enough on tactical readiness. This of course is not a concern with civilian nuclear power. After the Three Mile Island incident, Rickover even commented that such an accident could not occur on his submarines because one of his men always stood watch, not looking over the reactor, but looking over the men operating the reactors. Any idle conversation was disallowed in Rickover's reactor rooms. Any discussion must have been pertinent to the operation of the reactor.
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