Despite the many horrifying effects that uranium mining inflicts, it still occurs today. In 2016, seven mines and one mill were still operating in the United States, with many still located near Native American lands. Yet modern innovations may preserve the potential of nuclear power while also offsetting the health and environmental hazards once thought to be endemic to the industry. One unique and valuable aspect of nuclear energy is that the waste is recyclable. Spent fuel can be treated in a recycling plant and then reused in another reactor. In fact, typical reactors only extract a small percentage of the energy in their fuel. Reutilizing these fuels could provide a huge supply of new energy while more effectively managing the demand for uranium. Indeed, every US home could be run solely off the energy from recycled nuclear waste for nearly 12 years. Additionally, once recycled waste has been reused in a reactor, the final recycled waste decays within a few hundred years, as opposed to the roughly one-million-year period that standard nuclear waste takes to decompose.While this may sound like a far-off hope or a science fiction plot, nuclear waste recycling has already been implemented around the world. France has successfully refined and utilized this process on a large scale: The French protocols have been so effective that nuclear energy accounts for 80 percent of the country’s electricity. In contrast, the United States put a ban on nuclear waste reprocessing in 1977 due to concerns about the possibility that repurposed nuclear waste could be used to create weapons of mass destruction.
Brown Political Review 12th May 2017 read more »