Finland storing nuclear waste 100 stories underground

Daily News Article - January 27, 2017


1. a) How deep in the ground will Finland’s two main nuclear-power companies bury their nuclear waste?
b) When is the storage facility expected to be completed?
c) For how long will the nuclear waste be secure in this location?

2. a) What is the location of the storage tunnels?
b) How was that location chosen? Be specific.
c) List the benefits the 9,300 residents of the town have received so far.

3. The storage facility in Finland will hold 6,500 tons of spent uranium. What amount of nuclear waste was in temporary storage worldwide at the end of 2015?

4. WSJ reporter Zeke Turner wrote:

Some Finnish environmental activists have voiced reservations about the project, calling for more studies before construction of the underground storage continues.

Finnish Greenpeace spokesman Juha Aromaa said,

“Even the hardest bedrock we have on earth, which is here, will be cracked” during the ice ages expected in the next 100,000 years. Over that long stretch of time, “we can’t be sure that the waste wouldn’t leak with groundwater into the Baltic Sea.”

Whether you support or oppose the use of nuclear energy, the reality is, there is a lot of waste from nuclear power plants stored in temporary facilities.

From an Institute for Energy Research report (under “Background” below):

Geological isolation is the only viable long-term disposal solution currently available. This means storing the wastes in highly stable geologic formations that have remained seismically inactive. Billions of dollars have gone into building a permanent storage facility for high-level radioactive wastes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The facility, run by the Department of Energy, was to have opened in 1998, but the project is behind schedule. Even after construction is complete, however, political opposition from Nevada’s citizens and politicians may keep the facility’s doors shut.

What do you think?
a) Are more studies necessary before implementing Finland’s project to store nuclear waste?
b) What should the U.S. do with our nuclear waste? Yucca Mountain? Would your answer be different if you lived in Nevada? Explain your answers.
c) Does this change your mind about the use of nuclear energy?