Nuclear waste is not a reason to refrain from using nuclear energy, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates advocated recently, according to CNBC.
What’s going on: “‘The waste problems should not be a reason to not do nuclear,’ Gates said in an interview with the German business publication Handelsblatt … The volume of nuclear waste is very small, especially when compared with the energy generated, Gates said.”
- The total amount of waste for a fully nuclear-powered U.S. would amount to a few rooms’ worth, according to Gates, and it can be stored underground, “‘where it stays geologically for hundreds of millions of years.’”
Why it’s important: “Nuclear power is classified as a ‘zero-emission clean energy source’ by the U.S. Department of Energy, because generating electricity with nuclear fission does not release any greenhouse gas emissions.”
- Nuclear power accounts for 19% of the electricity generated in the U.S.
Stored safely: Nuclear waste is kept in dry casks, which are stainless steel containers encased in concrete. It’s a safe method, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the vast majority of nuclear waste is non-radioactive.