The United States is considering accepting a quantity of German nuclear waste for conversion into a proliferation-resistant form.
The U.S. Energy Department on Wednesday said it would weigh the environmental implications of accepting German spent atomic fuel containing highly enriched uranium — something the United States is thought to have never done before, Reuters reported.
Under the proposed plan, a shipment of nearly 2,000 pounds of U.S.-origin uranium would be repatriated from Germany to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The department said it is interested in converting the spent fuel into a form that would be more difficult to use in a nuclear weapon.
The Savannah River Site is developing a process for removing the uranium in spent nuclear fuel.
Some opponents of the potential waste transfer argue that Energy has not put forth a detailed plan for how it will dispose of the material. “They’re proposing to extract the uranium and reuse it as fuel by a process that has never been done before,” said Tom Clements, who heads an anti-nuclear group that monitors the Savannah River Site.
“There’s no place to take high-level waste in the U.S.,” Clements said. “Uranium that is turned into commercial fuel is not contained inside nuclear waste. It’s pure material.”
The Savannah River Site presently houses millions of gallons of radioactive nuclear-arms waste held in containers, which state officials say are in danger of leaking into the nearby groundwater.
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The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has released its score of the House-passed American Health Care Act, which would replace Obamacare. According to the CBO, the bill would reduce the deficit by $119 billion by 2026, while leaving 14 million more Americans uninsured in 2018 than under current law, a number swelling to 23 million by 2026. Further, insurance premiums would balloon 20 percent in 2018 and five percent in 2019 before the waiver provision in the legislation would kick in. The provision allows states to apply for waivers and permit insurers to offer skimpier plans, which would likely entice younger and healthier individuals to buy health insurance while potentially pricing older and less healthy Americans out of insurance plans. House Republicans approved this bill in late April without waiting for the CBO score.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that President Donald Trump's budget is literal more than recycling bin material. "The budget proposed by the president doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of passing," Graham said. Graham had previously opposed the budget over its nearly 30 percent cut to the budget of the State Department. The budget slashes spending on domestic priorities while increasing military spending.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that he doesn't yet know the formula towards gaining passage of an Obamacare replacement in the Senate. "I don't know how we get to 50 (votes) at the moment. But that's the goal," McConnell said. The House passed an Obamacare replacement bill which has been widely seen as dead on arrival in the Senate, and McConnell has put together a working group of Republican Senators working towards creating health care legislation which could gain the support of at least 50 Senators.
The transcript of a phone call between Donald Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was leaked and it shows Trump referring to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as a "madman with nuclear weapons" and praising Duterte, saying he was doing an "unbelievable job on the drug problem." For context, Duterte has presided over a vicious and genocidal campaign of extrajudicial killings within his country which has led to the murder of thousands of expected drug dealers and users. Trump also told Duerte to take care of himself and promised that the U.S. would "take care of North Korea."