The United States has spent somewhere in the realm of $5.5 trillion creating its enormous nuclear arsenal, but even as they look to God-only-knows-how-much more on modernizing their warheads, a much less recognized expense, what to do with the enormous stockpile of waste from their construction looms large. Fear not, the Department of Energy has a plan to cut corners here.
Of course there’s plenty of opposition, but essentially, the plan is to hollow out a mountain near Las Vegas, and chuck all the material in there. If that sounds dangerous, don’t worry: in another hundred years the Energy Department will send an army of yet-to-be-invented robots into the facility to install some likewise yet-to-be-invented titanium shields to protect the waste from the water and the water from the waste. Win-win, at least in a hundred years.
Nevada’s Nuclear Projects Agency director Bob Loux doubts it’ll ever happen. The titanium would already cost $8-$10 billion in today’s prices, who knows what it will cost in a century. Project director Rod McCullum thinks its reasonable though, reminding us that “everything’s made out of titanium these days.”