One small step toward responsible nuclear waste disposal?
- Jun 8, 2023 10:23 am GMT
It’s not terribly surprising. In spite of its hydro and wind power (not to mention fossil fuel) resources, Norway is in the process of considering small nuclear reactors (SMR) for some applications. Far flung population and industrial centers may make SMRs useful to, for example, towns in the far north (above the arctic circle) that rely on fossil fuel for power and/or for hydrogen production to provide a possible alternative to fossil fuels for shipping and heavy industry. Norway always hedges its bets for future energy resources as fossil fuel demand decreases and before the real costs and capacities for floating offshore wind and grid upgrades are better known. And, not least, Norway wants to continue and to enhance its role as a major supplier of energy to Europe and the U.K.
What may be more interesting is that Norway will “begin with the end in mind” as Steven Covey suggests in his seminal work “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, one of my favorite "advice" books.
By that I mean that Norway has entered into an agreement with Deep Isolation, the California start-up:
"The Deep Borehole Demonstration Center announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate on demonstration of deep borehole disposal in Norway in addition to its work in Cameron, Texas. The memorandum is with Norsk Kjernekraft, a recently established Norwegian company with the goal of building and operating Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in Norway, to provide clean and reliable power as Norway phases out fossil-fueled energy production leading up to net zero in 2050.
The Center is an independent, nonprofit, science-driven organization – funded on a multinational, public-private-partnership basis – with the aim to advance the maturity of the safety case for deep borehole disposal and the technical readiness levels of the disposal concept."
Deep Isolation is making headway in its efforts to implement its “Deep Borehole” technology in several places in a variety of countries in the US and Europe, and with potential contractors to develop, prove and and implement the technology.
Wouldn’t it have been nice if our "authorities" had considered the "begin with the end in mind" approach with respect to other waste streams and waste management, including collection, storage, sorting and recycling infrastructure for plastic, coal ash, chemicals such as PFAS (“forever chemicals”), halons and other refrigerants and aerosols, wind turbine blades, electronic equipment, as well as combustion products emitted to the atmosphere? The world would, indeed, be in better shape today.
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