Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018 | 2 a.m.
Yucca Mountain could be closed permanently when the nuclear power technology called molten salt reactors is deployed. The reactor converts nuclear waste into fissionable fuel that generates power as the reactor operates. This allows 95 percent of the natural ore to be burned, whereas conventional reactors burn only 0.7 percent. The nuclear waste now stored in the U.S. could supply over 1,000 years of useful energy without new mining.
The reactor is safe under power failure. It can never overheat, nor is there any action an operator or terrorist can take to cause overheating. It operates at atmospheric pressure and cannot explode or release radioactivity into the atmosphere.
BP’s 2016 report made known that half the planet’s oil reserves will be consumed by 2040. Molten salt reactors are the only technology that can be developed soon enough to replace fossil fuel with carbon-free, commercial energy.
Burying nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain would be a tragedy, because that burial would squander several thousand years of clean energy.