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.
What We're Following See More »
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are threatening to block the spending bill—and prevent the Senate from leaving town—"because it would not extend benefits for retired coal miners for a year or pay for their pension plans. The current version of the bill would extend health benefits for four months. ... Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday afternoon moved to end debate on the continuing resolution to fund the government through April 28. But unless Senate Democrats relent, that vote cannot be held until Saturday at 1 a.m. at the earliest, one hour after the current funding measure expires."
The South Korean parliament voted on Friday morning to impeach President Park Geun-hye over charges of corruption, claiming she allowed undue influence to a close confidante of hers. Ms. Park is now suspended as president for 180 days. South Korea's Constitutional Court will hear the case and decide whether to uphold or overturn the impeachment.
Participants in the women's march on Washington the day after inauguration won't have access to the Lincoln Memorial. The National Park Service has "filed documents securing large swaths of the national mall and Pennsylvania Avenue, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial for the inauguration festivities. None of these spots will be open for protesters."
President Obama on Thursday announced a pay raise for civilian federal employees of 2.1 percent come January 2017. He had said multiple times this year that salaries would go up 1.6 percent, so the Thursday announcement came as a surprise. The change was likely made to match the 2.1 percent increase in salary that members of the military will receive.
The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.