Until I get the answers to the following questions I’m on the fence about the efficiency of nuclear power.
Uranium ore being mined today contains less than 1% uranium. This uranium ore contains U 238 — U 235 plutonium — and depleted uranium to name a few of the contaminates in this ore. This ore is blasted out of the ground, surface mining mostly. This surface mining is one of the most ecological unfriendly ways to mine. The ore is then dug and delivered by HUGE equipment to a rail head where it is transported to the refiner.
The refiner crushes the ore and takes the first step in the refining process making (Yellow Cake). This Yellow Cake is then gasified and fed through centrifuges to enrich U-235 above 5%. This U 235 is then pressure formed into furl pellets approx. 1/2 in. in diameter and 1/2 in. long. He then loads these pellets into stainless steal 12 ft. long fuel rods nuclear power plants replace 1/3 of these rods every year.
These spent fuel rods are very hot and are stored in-Sutu at the power plant until they have cool down enough to transport.
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Only we don’t have a place to transport them to. The plan was to ship them to Yucca Mountain in Nevada for indefinite storage. I have heard storage times 10.000 years or 10,000 years or more. Yucca Mountain dry storage for the power plant is now mute. The state of Nevada sued and prevailed to stop this project.
So in my opinion no one really knows the fully amortized cost of a Megawatt of nuclear power is, and what the true ecological effect the mining refining and storage of spent fuel rods will have for thousands of years.
William Miller, Mount Pleasant