Americans need clarity from the federal government, too. Reactors across the country have accumulated 72,000 tons of spent fuel. Some utilities have packed four times as many spent fuel rods into temporary holding pools than the structures were designed to contain. The government poured $9 billion and decades of effort into the planned permanent repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, with little to show for it. Then President Barack Obama scuttled the project. The waste continues to pile up. At some point, officials will have to face down the citizen refrain of “not in my backyard.”
Nuclear power has a good safety record, but when it fails it can fail catastrophically. Now is the time to make tough, transparent decisions that could regain public trust. Otherwise, the public might make the ultimate call: “no more nukes.”
This article was originally published with the title Coming Clean about Nuclear Power.