Re: Political nukes
> ... and we have enough Plutonium for our bombs already ...
Well actually there's another issue where the hippies are to blame !
There is a well developed, well understood, already viable reactor type that can use that as fuel - the only problem is that some groups of hippies are so against anything that involves plutonium as to make your average anti-nuke activist seem rather relaxed !
And therein lies a lot of the problem with nuclear at the moment. The hippies are so against "stuff" that they make a big problem out of a little one.
You see, there is a basic fact about nuclear stuff. If it's really highly radioactive, it has a short half life; and if it's got a long half life then it's generally rather low in radioactivity. AIUI, the plan for decommissioning the old Magnox stations was basically to shut them down, keep the cooling running until the secondary reactions died down (perhaps a year or so), and then they'd be cool enough to just remove all the ancillary systems. Wrap the core in a block of concrete (about the size of a house), and leave it for a hundred years. You'd post security - probably just to avoid graffiti as that's about all the damage anyone could do to it. After that, the highly active stuff has decayed, and your left with the not very active stuff left - cut a hole in the side, don some protective gear, walk in and pick up the bits sort of activity levels.
But no, that's not good enough, it's got to be done NOW - so it costs a fortune handling and disposing of the highly active waste that wouldn't be highly active if we left it for a while.
And of course, for the above mentioned reason (nuclear is bad, fast breeders are worse), we can't put all this fuel (for that's what the bulk of it is) into a reactor and use it - we have to call it waste and spend a fortune getting rid of it.
So yes, nuclear power could be somewhat cheaper - and part of that is down to the hippies making it more expensive than it needs to be. I don't dispute that in the past, there were some "not very forward thinking" decisions made, and that some of these have left us with an expensive cleanup bill - but that's not the same as todays technology & designs where "taking it apart in 50 years" is part of the design process.
And for low level waste, you have to remember that in the politically over-tight restrictions of the nuclear industry, I believe some bananas would be classes as nuclear waste !
Believe it or not, in the early days of oil production, there was a dangerous fraction which would cause oil lamps to explode if it wasn't removed and disposed of. They used to pour it in pits and set fire to it to get rid of it. These days we call it petrol and run cars with it !
PS - if you really want to pee off some sorts of hippy, point out that some of the steel used to make wind turbines comes from recycled nuclear power stations. Yes, windmills made from nuclear waste !