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Journalist Calls for Nuclear Waste X-Type Prize

Llewellyn King, Host, White House Chronicle

Trump Tweet Ignores Over $15 Billion Investment in Yucca Mountain

The possibilities for a solution other than any that are now on the table might come forth as a result of a large incentivizing prize.”
— Llewellyn King Executive Producer and Host, White House Chronicle
WASHINGTON, D.C., USA, February 28, 2020 / -- Syndicated columnist and broadcaster Llewellyn King has responded to President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of support for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada, with a call for a $20 million prize-led attempt to find a wholly new nuclear waste solution.

In a column, distributed by InsideSources, King said all previous solutions have been politicized and a fresh start is needed.

On Feb. 6, Trump tweeted, “Nevada, I hear you on Yucca Mountain and my Administration will RESPECT you! Congress and previous Administrations have long failed to find lasting solutions -- my Administration is committed to exploring innovative approaches — I’m confident we can get it done!”

The site in Nevada had been selected as the nation’s repository for civilian nuclear waste and more than $15 billion to $18 billion had been spent on site characterization, and the construction of the repository which included train lines to move the waste-handling equipment, a passive cooling system and other safety aspects.

King said starting with President Jimmy Carter’s rejection of reprocessing spent fuel in 1977, nuclear has been politicized, and those calling themselves environmentalists had fastened on nuclear waste as a club with which to beat up the nuclear option.

King said he believes that the possibilities for a solution other than any that are now on the table might come forth as a result of a large incentivizing prize. He also said he thought reprocessing might be an intelligent start at this time to reduce the volume of waste presented by the whole spent uranium-fuel core having to be stored.

King pointed out in his article that most of the severest nuclear waste materials are the beta, gamma and X-ray emitters, and that most of these decay away in about 300 years.

The alpha emitters, like plutonium, are quite benign, although they last essentially forever. King said the only danger from plutonium is in weapons proliferation and if you inhale the specks of the metal, you will get lung cancer, but other exposure, including drinking it, cause no harm.

King said aviation has benefitted enormously over the years from prizes, including one for the first flight across the English Channel to Charles Lindbergh’s crossing the Atlantic.

King has been writing about nuclear energy since 1969. He founded The Energy Daily in 1974.

Previously, he was an assistant editor at The Washington Post, an executive at a mass-circulation London newspaper, and a correspondent in Africa for British and American publications.

He is the host and executive producer of the weekly news and current affairs program “White House Chronicle” which airs on PBS and SiriusXM Radio, and a regular commentator on SiriusXM Radio’s P.O.T.U.S., Channel 124.

Llewellyn King
White House Chronicle
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