Leave it to Tucker Carlson to find yet another way to be annoying and obtuse. In discussing the Nevada Democratic Debate, Tucker Carlson had a little issue with the three candidates saying that they were against nuclear power.
I was struck—this is a small thing but I thought it was really telling last night. All three candidates were asked about nuclear power and all three of them basically said, ‘you know I’m against nuclear power.’ And it seems to me that we’ve reached this place where we can be more honest about certain things like nuclear power. If you’re against nuclear power just reflexively in 2008, you’re not a forward-thinking person, it seems to me.
Yeah, how unprogressive to be worried about nuclear waste, especially in the state where Yucca Mountain is located. Tucker actually says that nuclear power is cleaner, except for the waste part, like it's a little thing. Just for those less reflexive types that think Tucker might have a point:
- Nuclear waste is produced in many different ways. There are wastes produced in the reactor core, wastes created as a result of radioactive contamination, and wastes produced as a byproduct of uranium mining, refining, and enrichment. The vast majority of radiation in nuclear waste is given off from spent fuel rods.
- A typical reactor will generate 20 to 30 tons of high-level nuclear waste annually. There is no known way to safely dispose of this waste, which remains dangerously radioactive until it naturally decays.
- The rate of decay of a radioactive isotope is called its half-life, the time in which half the initial amount of atoms present takes to decay. The half-life of Plutonium-239, one particularly lethal component of nuclear waste, is 24,000 years.
- The hazardous life of a radioactive element (the length of time that must elapse before the material is considered safe) is at least 10 half-lives. Therefore, Plutonium-239 will remain hazardous for at least 240,000 years.
Hey Tucker, I'll just give you two words: wind power