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Process Banned By President Carter Could Solve U.S. Nuclear Waste Problem

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This is the exact text of Jimmy Carter's Policy:

"First, we will defer indefinitely the commercial reprocessing and recycling of the plutonium produced in the U.S. nuclear power programs. From our own experience, we have concluded that a viable and economic nuclear power program can be sustained without such reprocessing and recycling. The plant at Barnwell, South Carolina, will receive neither Federal encouragement nor funding for its completion as a reprocessing facility.
Second, we will restructure the U.S. breeder reactor program to give greater priority to alternative designs of the breeder and to defer the date when breeder reactors would be put into commercial use.
Third, we will redirect funding of U.S. nuclear research and development programs to accelerate our research into alternative nuclear fuel cycles which do not involve direct access to materials usable in nuclear weapons.
Fourth, we will increase U.S. production capacity for enriched uranium to provide adequate and timely supply of nuclear fuels for domestic and foreign needs.
Fifth, we will propose the necessary legislative steps to permit the U.S. to offer nuclear fuel supply contracts and guarantee delivery of such nuclear fuel to other countries.
Sixth, we will continue to embargo the export of equipment or technology that would permit uranium enrichment and chemical reprocessing.
Seventh, we will continue discussions with supplying and recipient countries alike, of a wide range of international approaches and frameworks that will permit all nations to achieve their energy objectives while reducing the spread of nuclear explosive capability. Among other things, we will explore the establishment of an international nuclear fuel cycle evaluation program aimed at developing alternative fuel cycles and a variety of international and U.S. measures to assure access to nuclear fuel supplies and spent fuel storage for nations sharing common non-proliferation objectives."

Note that his 'policy' indicates that the federal government will not fund or encourage the construction of a private reprocessing facility. It isn't, technically, an outright ban, but without Federal assurances no private consortium will attempt such a project.

In the 2020's there has been far more proliferation, including North Korea, India, Pakistan - that we know about. The fact that reprocessing isn't allowed in the US hasn't stopped it from being performed elsewhere, included in France as the original posting points out.

If it becomes possible to reprocess radioactive isotopes using fusion economically, it is likely that this policy will be rethought, although it will most likely be focused more on destruction of dangerous materials than their reuse.

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He's still alive.

And very receptive. 

You should ask him about it.


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