Just when you thought it was safe to build 45 new nuclear plants by 2030 as John McCain wants, comes this word from France's Independent Commission on Research and Information on Radiocactivity (CRIIRAD):
"In less than 15 days, the CRIIRAD has been informed of four malfunctions in four nuclear plants, leading to the accidental contamination of 126 workers," CRIIRAD head Corinne Castanier told Reuters in an interview....
But wait, you say, where in fact will McCain store all of his radioactive waste -- assuming he doesn't plan to ask plant workers to toss it out the car window? Don't worry, yesterday he reiterated his desire to be like the French and reprocess, reprocess, reprocess:
But the Arizona senator repeated that Yucca Mountain should be approved only if it can meet all environmental requirements. And the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, as is now done in France, must be part of the equation, he said.
Reprocessing spent nuclear fuel -- extracting the plutonium and running it in special reactor -- is just a bad idea, as detailed in the recent Scientific American, "Nuclear Fuel Recycling: More Trouble Than It's Worth" by former Clinton science adviser and Princeton nuclear physicist Frank N. von Hippel. Von Hippel is one of the country's top experts on the subject, and he explains the three big flaws of reprocessing:
On Wednesday alone, some 100 staff at the nuclear power plant of Tricastin in southeastern France were contaminated with low doses of radiation.
The incident followed another on July 7 at the same site, which shook public confidence in the safety of France's nuclear industry...
The French nuclear safety body, ASN, said that in 2007, less than a 100 nuclear workers had been contaminated by radiation in France, where 80 percent of power is produced by atomic energy.