U.S. should adopt nuclear recycling
The Environmental Protection Agency’s recently imposed onerous edict to increase the carbon compliance requirements for states is perverse. EPA has descended to new depths of hypocrisy, requiring states to reduce carbon emissions by an average of 32 percent under 2005 levels by 2030, crippling the energy production so necessary for economic development, increasing incentives for unreliable solar and wind energy, while ignoring environmentally benign nuclear energy.
The economic value of zero-carbon-emitting nuclear electricity production, now supplying about 20 percent of U.S. electricity, could even be raised by introducing used fuel recycling.
Used fuel recycling, also known as reprocessing, is well established in France, which has the lowest per-capita emissions in the industrialized world. Used nuclear fuel contains valuable nuclear materials that can be chemically converted into a mixed-oxide fuel that can then be used in reactors. The nuclear industry produces about 2,000 metric tons of used fuel every year. There are currently about 75,000 metric tons stored at nuclear plants around the country, including about 3,000 metric tons in New Jersey at the Hope Creek, Salem, and Oyster Creek nuclear plant sites.