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Author Topic: Anyone Gonna Get Raped by Their Utility Companies?  (Read 3025 times)
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PaulBot
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« on: July 26, 2008, 06:37:31 PM »

Northwest Natural, the natural gas company for my area (Portland OR) is going to be asking for a rate increase in the 35-40% range come November 1. Ouch.

They say it is purely to cover increased costs. They will officially submit their rate increase request at the end of August. I can't wait....

Maybe I should start the paperwork to file Chapter 11 now....
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2008, 06:55:15 PM »

I have no idea what natural gas prices will be this winter, but I know that I wish I still lived in an apartment with electric heating. 
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2008, 07:18:20 PM »


Since I work for a utility company, I can tell you that these rate increases indeed are to cover increased costs.

Costs of the fuel has dramatically increased.
Costs of the fuel to transport the fuel as dramatically increased.
Costs of living for everyone has increased thus trickling down to the groceries you buy and the power you consume.

I will clarify that I work for a power company and not a gas company though.    Principles are the same for us though, since we have to buy fuel to run the plants.    I'm not familiar enough with the gas industry to know if it is the same for them -- but for us, we are required to make a certain amount -- no more no less -- profit that is dictated by the government.    So to make that specific amount we either have to cut jobs and reliability, or ask for rate increases.
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2008, 07:27:52 PM »

electric here is getting a 23% (i think?) rate increase.  man would it be nice if they sort of had a "cola" like mechanism built in instead of just a big jump when things go nasty / they need to cover something like increased costs
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2008, 07:32:46 PM »

Makes me glad I live in an apartment that has utilities included in the rent.
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2008, 08:18:57 PM »

Quote from: Chaz on July 26, 2008, 07:32:46 PM

Makes me glad I live in an apartment that has utilities included in the rent.

So when does your rent go up?  icon_wink
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2008, 08:30:16 PM »

Last year our bill was $600 a month. I finally found a busted pipe under the house. After repairs it went to about $200 a month which is normal for us. I talked the wife into replacing all bulbs with those compact flourecent ones...like 35 bulbs...and now our bill is like $90. And thats with 2 ac units running all the time too.
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2008, 08:58:35 PM »

Quote from: PaulBot on July 26, 2008, 08:18:57 PM

Quote from: Chaz on July 26, 2008, 07:32:46 PM

Makes me glad I live in an apartment that has utilities included in the rent.

So when does your rent go up?  icon_wink

We rent from a retired guy who has plenty enough money to be comfortable.  He likes us, so he didn't raise our rent after the first year.  I suspect it'll stay pretty much the same until we move out.  Woo!
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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2008, 09:00:17 PM »

Quote from: EngineNo9 on July 26, 2008, 06:55:15 PM

I have no idea what natural gas prices will be this winter, but I know that I wish I still lived in an apartment with electric heating. 

Electric heating is the most expensive heating you can get.
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« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2008, 09:16:11 PM »

Quote from: kratz on July 26, 2008, 09:00:17 PM

Quote from: EngineNo9 on July 26, 2008, 06:55:15 PM

I have no idea what natural gas prices will be this winter, but I know that I wish I still lived in an apartment with electric heating. 

Electric heating is the most expensive heating you can get.

Really?  All I know is I used to pay a hell of a lot less in my old apartment, but that was in Washington and now I'm in Colorado.  Much more moderate temperatures there both summer and winter.
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« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2008, 09:21:13 PM »

Quote from: EngineNo9 on July 26, 2008, 09:16:11 PM

Quote from: kratz on July 26, 2008, 09:00:17 PM

Quote from: EngineNo9 on July 26, 2008, 06:55:15 PM

I have no idea what natural gas prices will be this winter, but I know that I wish I still lived in an apartment with electric heating. 

Electric heating is the most expensive heating you can get.

Really?  All I know is I used to pay a hell of a lot less in my old apartment, but that was in Washington and now I'm in Colorado.  Much more moderate temperatures there both summer and winter.

Yes, it's the least efficient. Burning fuel to make electricity, then transporting it long distances to turn it back into heat? Unless your electricity comes exclusively from hydro or wind, you're much better off burning the fuel and consuming its heat directly.

Our public utility told us a few months ago that they had locked in gas prices for the winter, and we ought to be prepared to bend over. Even though gas prices have tumbled since then, I assume we will still be required to assume the position. 
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EngineNo9
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« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2008, 09:27:09 PM »

Well, I used to pay for that other company to use renewable energy (wind and water, I believe), but they actually charged a premium for that, the cheeky buggers. 
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« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2008, 09:30:06 PM »

Due to the cost of home heating oil, and the age of my furnace, I am installing a geothermal heat system in 2 weeks.  The upfront cost is steep, but then replacing my oil furnace with something more efficient plus replacing the AC unit which is also on it's last leg was also steep.
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« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2008, 09:47:45 PM »

My computer heats my apartment quite well.  I work from home so my computer runs most of the day.  Last winter I barely had to turn the heat on.  It gets a little chilly at night when I power it down but I grew up in a house where water would regularly freeze on a night stand by your bed every night in the winter.  Compared to that its quite cozy.
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« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2008, 10:24:14 PM »

Quote from: EngineNo9 on July 26, 2008, 09:16:11 PM

Quote from: kratz on July 26, 2008, 09:00:17 PM

Quote from: EngineNo9 on July 26, 2008, 06:55:15 PM

I have no idea what natural gas prices will be this winter, but I know that I wish I still lived in an apartment with electric heating. 

Electric heating is the most expensive heating you can get.

Really?  All I know is I used to pay a hell of a lot less in my old apartment, but that was in Washington and now I'm in Colorado.  Much more moderate temperatures there both summer and winter.

yep...electric heat is inefficient and expensive, and heating oil is a close second now thanks to ever-rising oil and gas prices.  natural gas is actually the cheap way to go for virtually all areas of the country now.  the local newspaper here in Hartford, CT actually ran a story discussing exactly this a few weeks ago...heating oil used to be the cheapest, but now both oil and electricity will cost you almost twice what you would pay out to heat your home with natural gas for a winter here in the northeast.
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Arkon
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« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2008, 11:04:53 PM »

Quote from: disarm on July 26, 2008, 10:24:14 PM

Quote from: EngineNo9 on July 26, 2008, 09:16:11 PM

Quote from: kratz on July 26, 2008, 09:00:17 PM

Quote from: EngineNo9 on July 26, 2008, 06:55:15 PM

I have no idea what natural gas prices will be this winter, but I know that I wish I still lived in an apartment with electric heating. 

Electric heating is the most expensive heating you can get.

Really?  All I know is I used to pay a hell of a lot less in my old apartment, but that was in Washington and now I'm in Colorado.  Much more moderate temperatures there both summer and winter.

yep...electric heat is inefficient and expensive, and heating oil is a close second now thanks to ever-rising oil and gas prices.  natural gas is actually the cheap way to go for virtually all areas of the country now.  the local newspaper here in Hartford, CT actually ran a story discussing exactly this a few weeks ago...heating oil used to be the cheapest, but now both oil and electricity will cost you almost twice what you would pay out to heat your home with natural gas for a winter here in the northeast.

Provided Natural Gas is available.  For me it is not an option unless I pay to get it run which is very costly.  I thought about going propane but since that is a derivative of home heating oil it is also going up in price. 

Thankfully my geothermal system will be in place before winter.  The writeups/estimates I had done show that I should be able to heat and cool my house for the entire year for under $700.  Last year I spent $3000 on oil alone.
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« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2008, 11:08:41 PM »

We have a fireplace insert and burn wood. Trouble is its on one end of the house and our bedroom/computer room is on the other end. So I use a small 110 space hater in here..the ceramic type. Heats great and cost hardly anything to run.
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« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2008, 02:28:07 PM »

My bills last winter were pretty hefty so hopefully this coming winter I won't get raped as badly as a close friend of mine, who was flown out to Morocco for a youth conference so she could accept an award and was raped by several men on her way to the award ceremony.  She got herpes from the experience; every recurring outbreak acts as a reminder of the event so she can never put it out of her mind for long.
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« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2008, 03:19:53 PM »

My utility company slipped me a roofie last weekend and I woke up without pants and covered in petroleum, so I'm not sure but I think I would have to answer yes.   icon_frown
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« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2008, 04:53:20 PM »

Quote from: msduncan on July 26, 2008, 07:18:20 PM


Since I work for a utility company, I can tell you that these rate increases indeed are to cover increased costs.

Costs of the fuel has dramatically increased.
Costs of the fuel to transport the fuel as dramatically increased.
Costs of living for everyone has increased thus trickling down to the groceries you buy and the power you consume.

I will clarify that I work for a power company and not a gas company though.    Principles are the same for us though, since we have to buy fuel to run the plants.    I'm not familiar enough with the gas industry to know if it is the same for them -- but for us, we are required to make a certain amount -- no more no less -- profit that is dictated by the government.    So to make that specific amount we either have to cut jobs and reliability, or ask for rate increases.

I ditto everything he is saying.  I too work for an electric company, 2nd largest in US, for past 24 years and everything he is saying is true.  We do alot to try and shave costs at work, but reliable electricity, and we have some of the most reliable in the world, is just plain expensive.  I just wish we could build more nuke plants. 
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« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2008, 05:24:32 PM »

Put me under 'heat is included with rent'.  My apartment building uses steam heat, and there are times during the winter where I barely have it on at all.
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« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2008, 06:28:03 PM »

Quote from: mikeg on July 27, 2008, 04:53:20 PM

I just wish we could build more nuke plants. 

But no, nuke plants are dangerous, and evil, and the work of Satan himself or something. Stupid public.
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« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2008, 06:33:35 PM »

Quote from: mikeg on July 27, 2008, 04:53:20 PM

I just wish we could build more nuke plants. 

+1!!
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« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2008, 06:36:56 PM »

Quote from: EngineNo9 on July 26, 2008, 09:27:09 PM

Well, I used to pay for that other company to use renewable energy (wind and water, I believe), but they actually charged a premium for that, the cheeky buggers. 

Every time I get a flyer in the mail urging me to sign up for green energy I recycle it because the green options cost MORE! I don't care if the cheapest option is from burning coal, I'm choosing it!
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« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2008, 08:29:12 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on July 27, 2008, 02:28:07 PM

My bills last winter were pretty hefty so hopefully this coming winter I won't get raped as badly as a close friend of mine, who was flown out to Morocco for a youth conference so she could accept an award and was raped by several men on her way to the award ceremony.  She got herpes from the experience; every recurring outbreak acts as a reminder of the event so she can never put it out of her mind for long.

Just threw that in there to see if anyone is paying attention to the thread?
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« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2008, 08:34:07 PM »

Quote from: Destructor on July 27, 2008, 06:28:03 PM

Quote from: mikeg on July 27, 2008, 04:53:20 PM

I just wish we could build more nuke plants. 

But no, nuke plants are dangerous, and evil, and the work of Satan himself or something. Stupid public.

yeah, with less nuke plants we have less of a chance for something really cool like STALKER happening  icon_twisted
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« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2008, 09:04:02 PM »

Quote from: Destructor on July 27, 2008, 06:28:03 PM

Quote from: mikeg on July 27, 2008, 04:53:20 PM

I just wish we could build more nuke plants. 

But no, nuke plants are dangerous, and evil, and the work of Satan himself or something. Stupid public.

I think most people like the idea of more nuclear plants. It's just that no one wants one anywhere nearby.

It's bad marketing. As people associate something good (nuclear power) with something bad (nuclear bombs) -- sorta like if we naming a new summer camp "the hitler youth training camp for boys".

We should come up with a new friendly name for nuclear power that doesn't frighten people
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« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2008, 09:17:13 PM »

Quote from: DarkEL on July 27, 2008, 09:04:02 PM

We should come up with a new friendly name for nuclear power that doesn't frighten people

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« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2008, 10:00:25 PM »

now, granted, I dont know much about nuclear plants or anything, anything more than, I guess, most of the other semi-educated unwashed masses....but, seemingly they should be extremely safe, but...hastn there been quite enough nuclear plants accidents since they were first built, with somewhat serious results?

As for the stalker game, well...that actually happened in russia not so many years ago ;-)
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« Reply #29 on: July 27, 2008, 10:54:52 PM »

We should call them Hybrid Synergy plants.  People seem to like Hybrid Synergy things.

Or how about Awesome Power Plants? Who wouldn't want an Awesome Power Plant behind their house? We can paint it red with a lightning bolt on the side!
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« Reply #30 on: July 28, 2008, 12:37:19 AM »

we could call them fun plants and have giant pictures of naked ladies on the side of the cooling towers!
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« Reply #31 on: July 28, 2008, 02:06:23 AM »

Quote from: SkyLander on July 27, 2008, 08:29:12 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on July 27, 2008, 02:28:07 PM

My bills last winter were pretty hefty so hopefully this coming winter I won't get raped as badly as a close friend of mine, who was flown out to Morocco for a youth conference so she could accept an award and was raped by several men on her way to the award ceremony.  She got herpes from the experience; every recurring outbreak acts as a reminder of the event so she can never put it out of her mind for long.

Just threw that in there to see if anyone is paying attention to the thread?

No.  I hate visiting most gaming boards because of the casual use of rape, fag, gay, abortion, and so forth, and it's sad that this place seems to becoming more tolerant of it.  Or maybe I'm just noticing it more.  Guess it just irked me to see it in a thread title.  The story about my friend in Morocco is a true one, and I've been close to other stories from when I used to volunteer at a peer helpline.
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« Reply #32 on: July 28, 2008, 04:51:22 AM »

Quote from: wonderpug on July 28, 2008, 02:06:23 AM

Quote from: SkyLander on July 27, 2008, 08:29:12 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on July 27, 2008, 02:28:07 PM

My bills last winter were pretty hefty so hopefully this coming winter I won't get raped as badly as a close friend of mine, who was flown out to Morocco for a youth conference so she could accept an award and was raped by several men on her way to the award ceremony.  She got herpes from the experience; every recurring outbreak acts as a reminder of the event so she can never put it out of her mind for long.

Just threw that in there to see if anyone is paying attention to the thread?

No.  I hate visiting most gaming boards because of the casual use of rape, fag, gay, abortion, and so forth, and it's sad that this place seems to becoming more tolerant of it.  Or maybe I'm just noticing it more.  Guess it just irked me to see it in a thread title.  The story about my friend in Morocco is a true one, and I've been close to other stories from when I used to volunteer at a peer helpline.

Think you should probably try not to take things so seriously.  The use of the term 'rape' when describing a company ripping you off is not uncommon, and doesn't minimize the severity of actual rape.

On topic, my gas company is somehow claiming I'm using 5 gigajoules of gas in the middle of July, which is strange considering that the furnace has been off for 3 months now.  Somehow I doubt the pilot lights on my fireplace and hot water tank are sucking back the gas at that rate.  That's costing me $90 a month - which means that in January I should be looking at a roughly $500 gas bill.  Fun!
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« Reply #33 on: July 28, 2008, 04:57:26 AM »

Gigajoules? 

1.21 gigawatts!
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« Reply #34 on: July 28, 2008, 11:28:24 AM »

We still burn wood to heat our house. It works great, and you can't beat free.
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« Reply #35 on: July 28, 2008, 12:33:33 PM »

Well, since I too work for a Utility company, here's a link to tips on how to save energy, and lower your bills.

I'm in conservation marketing so this is right up my alley...well the reducing spending/energy, not the actual rate increases.

60 Ways

Also, quick tips:
  • CFL Light-bulbs - see this meandering thread on OO for savings estimates.  I put a calc in there too.
  • Furnace/Boiler tune up - Have someone come out and look over your furnace/boiler.  If you haven't done this in a while, the savings from the tune up will cover the cost quickly.
  • Check your Electric/Gas company - they may offer programs or rebates for more efficient equipment.  For MN residents, a handy program is a Home Energy Audit.  For $35 you get
    Quote
    A comprehensive home audit* (a $150 value)
    A list of recommendations, prioritized to show you where you'll get the most savings
    A cost/savings analysis for any suggested improvements
    A customized energy bill analysis to help you understand how much energy your home uses
    Answers to your specific questions
    If there's something that could be improved and we offer a rebate for it, that item will be marked.
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« Reply #36 on: July 28, 2008, 12:38:22 PM »

Quote from: Rowdy on July 28, 2008, 04:51:22 AM

Quote from: wonderpug on July 28, 2008, 02:06:23 AM

Quote from: SkyLander on July 27, 2008, 08:29:12 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on July 27, 2008, 02:28:07 PM

My bills last winter were pretty hefty so hopefully this coming winter I won't get raped as badly as a close friend of mine, who was flown out to Morocco for a youth conference so she could accept an award and was raped by several men on her way to the award ceremony.  She got herpes from the experience; every recurring outbreak acts as a reminder of the event so she can never put it out of her mind for long.

Just threw that in there to see if anyone is paying attention to the thread?

No.  I hate visiting most gaming boards because of the casual use of rape, fag, gay, abortion, and so forth, and it's sad that this place seems to becoming more tolerant of it.  Or maybe I'm just noticing it more.  Guess it just irked me to see it in a thread title.  The story about my friend in Morocco is a true one, and I've been close to other stories from when I used to volunteer at a peer helpline.

Think you should probably try not to take things so seriously.  The use of the term 'rape' when describing a company ripping you off is not uncommon, and doesn't minimize the severity of actual rape.


Just because it is not uncommon does not make it any less rude/vulgar/insensitive. While it does not minimize the severity of actual rape is does desensitize people to the word, making it easier and easier to use the sexual assault meaning in other ways. To me is the same as saying you got 9/11'ed or some other horrible act. i.e. rude.
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« Reply #37 on: July 28, 2008, 01:03:42 PM »

I use a wood burning stove. Old is once again new and cheap. It's just a bitch cutting up, splitting and stacking all the wood. But I would rather do that than pay for oil or gas.
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« Reply #38 on: July 28, 2008, 03:02:32 PM »

Quote from: Scraper on July 28, 2008, 01:03:42 PM

I use a wood burning stove. Old is once again new and cheap. It's just a bitch cutting up, splitting and stacking all the wood. But I would rather do that than pay for oil or gas.

I hate having paper thin walls.  My AC pumps all the time on the summer and my heat runs constantly in the winter.  If anything comes close to extreme then my (current) climate control bill is about $100 a month of my utility expenses (which I guess I should be thankful for.   icon_confused )  I was talking to my mom this weekend they haven't used that AC yet this year and their tiny wood burning stove heats an entire house easily for a day on single smaller than fireplace sized log.  Wood burning stove technology has apparently become the shiznit.
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« Reply #39 on: July 28, 2008, 03:24:41 PM »

Quote from: Razgon on July 27, 2008, 10:00:25 PM

now, granted, I dont know much about nuclear plants or anything, anything more than, I guess, most of the other semi-educated unwashed masses....but, seemingly they should be extremely safe, but...hastn there been quite enough nuclear plants accidents since they were first built, with somewhat serious results?

The primary downside to nuclear fission reactors is the large amount of radioactive waste that they create -- not just the obvious spent fuel rods, but everything that comes into contact with them, and even the physical plant itself after its short (decades-long) design life ends. There is currently no safe or cost-effective way to get rid of it. The waste disposal issue dwarfs reactor safety concerns as an impediment to bringing new reactors online.

There are tons of sites with info about nuclear waste disposal, most of them with an agenda. A good starting point for hard data is the NRC website.  To give you an idea of the scale of the problem:

Quote
How much high-level waste is there?

About 160,000 spent fuel assemblies, containing 45,000 tons of spent fuel from nuclear power plants, are currently in storage in the United States. Of these, about 156,500 assemblies are stored at nuclear power plants, and approximately 3,500 assemblies are stored at away-from-reactor storage facilities, such as the General Electric plant at Morris, Illinois. The vast majority of the assemblies are stored in water pools, and less than 5% are stored in dry casks.

About 7,800 used fuel assemblies are taken out of reactors each year and are stored until a disposal facility becomes available.

If all the 160,000 spent fuel assemblies currently in storage were assembled in one place, they would only cover a football field about 5 1/2 yards high.

That is one shitload of material that is going to remain toxic for up to 24,000 years, and it doesn't even include low-level waste or secondary contaminants. This is the main impediment to building more fission plants. Solve it, and I'm all for nuclear power -- it's clean, it's carbon-neutral, and by many measures it's more benign than fossil fuels. Unfortunately we have made very little progress in waste disposal since I used to march against nuclear power in the 1970s.
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