TRANSMUTATION OF NUCLEAR WASTE
December 8, 1999
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
To whom it may concern:
Please include the following comments in the record of the December 8, 1999 public meeting at the Henderson Convention Center on transportation of spent nuclear fuel safety:
Roy MacMillan is the President of Containment Systems, Inc. His company has developed a new type of cask for transporting high-level radioactive waste which is much cheaper yet stronger and safer than casks currently being used.
When I first met Mr. MacMillan last year, his company also had the engineering nearly completed for a portable truck-mounted spent nuclear fuel neutralizer. The spent nuclear fuel rods would be processed so that their radioactivity would be eliminated. However, the company did not have the technology for actually transmuting the radioactive waste. Since then I have brought to his attention one proven method of transmuting radioactive substances so that they would be no longer radioactive.
Earlier this year I asked Mr. MacMillan when he expects to have the service for neutralizing radioactive fuel. He told me no more than five years. Since we already have a proven method of neutralizing radioactivity on site at nuclear power plants, we can immediately abandon Yucca Mountain as a radioactive waste dump. There will not be any waste nuclear fuel to transport and store.
The proven method of transmuting radioactive waste is low-energy nuclear transmutation. A new design has also been developed which is believed to be at least one million times more powerful than low-energy nuclear transmutation.
This is a drawing of a reactor which you can buy right now for $2,500 for demonstrating low-energy nuclear transmutation. Inside the reactor are a pair of electrodes which are positively and negatively charged. Protons require 9,000,000 volts to be accelerated to a velocity high enough to penetrate nuclei. Within this reactor, protons are embedded in high-density clusters of electrons. Protons have 1836 times the mass of electrons. 9,000,000 volts divided by 1836 is a little less than 5,000 volts. So therefore, in order to penetrate nuclei and to transmute elements, only a little less than 5,000 volts is required to accelerate protons to the same high enough velocity as 9,000,000 volts. That is the reason for the term ìlow-energy nuclear transmutationî.
This is a photograph of a flake of non-radioactive copper that used to be radioactive thorium. Look at that copper flake. This photograph is visual proof that low-energy nuclear transmutation of radioactive waste can be done. (See http://web.gcis.net/cincygrp/.)
If you still donít believe me, you can see for yourself in Salt Lake City demonstrations of reducing radioactive thorium by 90% in an hour.
The record shows so far that the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have not been paying any attention to eliminating radioactivity using low-energy nuclear transmutation.
I think the DOE and the NRC have fallen short in their responsibilities to Congress and the public about the need for a Yucca Mountain repository. They know that there are alternatives to Yucca Mountain. Yet the DOE and the NRC have been adamant about not spending any money investigating low-energy nuclear transmutation. I have heard it suggested that these two agencies and their contractors just donít want to give up on over one hundred billion dollars of profitable contracts involved in reprocessing, transporting, and geologic storage of radioactive waste. I have even heard it suggested that there must be corruption somewhere within the DOE and NRC which would explain why they have not shown any interest in cheap and safe low-energy nuclear transmutation of radioactive waste.
I ask the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to stop wasting money on studying Yucca Mountain for dumping radioactive waste and such auxiliary topics as transportation safety issues. Neutralization of waste nuclear fuel on-site at nuclear power plants is a proven technology which can be demonstrated up in Salt Lake City.
I also ask the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to finance and stage here in Henderson a public demonstration of neutralizing radioactive materials using low-energy nuclear transmutation. Those in the audience who want to see the demonstration, would you all please stand up? The DOE has projected the life-cycle cost of Yucca Mountain to be $150 billion. Look again at this copper flake which used to be radioactive thorium. Radioactivity can be eliminated. Do you really think it is necessary to squander $150 billion on Yucca Mountain? I want to hear from the audience a loud NO!
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