(WVLT)- The nation's nuclear waste could be coming to Oak Ridge for storage and reprocessing. Tuesday, the Department of Energy took the first step in a plan to build a toxic waste incinerator there.
The waste produced by nuclear power plants traditionally is disposed of...now, the federal government has a plan to recycle the spent fuel, which has been in storage for many years at nuclear power plants throughout the country.
Supporters say the worldwide electricity demand is expected to nearly double in roughly 25 years...and the only way to supply that demands is by reusing the usable components of nuclear waste.
"It's reusing, it's just like we recycle household products, paper, plastic, it's the same thing," Dick Black said.
A spokesman for the office of nuclear energy says burning nuclear waste at a toxic waste incinerator would minimize waste, and preserve resources for future generations.
About one hundred folks attending the first public forum learned that Oak Ridge is one of 13 sites under consideration.
"It's the only way we can reduce the dependence on foreign oil," Homer Fisher said.
"So that we'll have a long term reliable energy source in this nation," Joe Lenhard said.
The plan's strategy calls for better securing sensitive materials, but some question that.
"GNEP would build a large number of high-yield targets for terrorists," Wolf Naegeli said.
The nuclear waste would be transported to Oak Ridge by either rail or ground.
"We've got to be concerned about how much is being transported on the roads, whether it's me or my daughter or my husband who's going to get in a wreck with one of these trucks," Linda Modica said.
Officials say nuclear waste transportation has a safe track record, dating back 50 years.
"There's been no incidents, no release, no breach of containment, those casks are very, very robust," Black said.