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Author Topic: Could nuclear waste not be dumped in space?  (Read 3208 times)

Offline Patrick

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Could nuclear waste not be dumped in space?
« on: 22/04/2009 11:30:02 »
Pat Bar  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Dear Chris,

I've been listening to your interviews on the 702 in SA on internet radio.
It is wonderful and really interesting stuff thanks.

All the nuclear nuclear waste from power stations: would it not be an idea to blast it into space and into the void away from Earth to dispose of it?

best regards
Patrick Barclay

What do you think?


 

Offline dentstudent

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Could nuclear waste not be dumped in space?
« Reply #1 on: 22/04/2009 11:49:23 »
I believe that there have been risk assessments of this process - however, the likelihood of the rocket not making it into space is still way too high to consider it as a suitable method. The results of a rocket failure would be disastrous, and I doubt very much whether someone in authority would sanction this. A better solution is to become more efficient and re-use the nuclear waste. It's considerably less risky!
 

Offline graham.d

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Could nuclear waste not be dumped in space?
« Reply #2 on: 22/04/2009 12:03:10 »
Not only that, but getting "into space" is one thing, but nobody wants even more crap in orbit. You need to achieve escape velocity (the really dangerous stuff is very heavy too) and, preferably send it into the sun, being an excellent waste disposal unit. As dentstudent says, far too risky at the present time.
 

lyner

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Could nuclear waste not be dumped in space?
« Reply #3 on: 22/04/2009 13:55:07 »
Disposing of it in this way would consume more energy than we ever got out of the stuff in the first place!
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Could nuclear waste not be dumped in space?
« Reply #4 on: 22/04/2009 13:58:53 »
Would it really?
 

lyner

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Could nuclear waste not be dumped in space?
« Reply #5 on: 22/04/2009 16:09:11 »
Think of the size of the rockets needed to get a few astronauts into Low Earth orbit and the energy involved in fuel and construction.  Then consider that the vehicle carrying the waste would not be reusable - a one way trip- and that LEO is only a fraction of the way out of Earth's influence. You'd then, presumable do a sling shot type trajectory to put the payload on a collision course with the Sun. It would be no use just dumping it out near the Earth's orbit round the Sun.
I believe the ratio of fuel needed to useful payload is in the order of hundreds for a normal launch. This load would need to be very robustly  contained in a massive can - to cater for accidents. Multiply by another ten or a hundred, I reckon. Uranium may be good but is it that good?
It's not just a matter of  'tipping it into the Sun'.
« Last Edit: 22/04/2009 16:12:13 by sophiecentaur »
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Could nuclear waste not be dumped in space?
« Reply #6 on: 23/04/2009 01:46:02 »
Alright, you've convinced me.
 

Offline tangoblue

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Could nuclear waste not be dumped in space?
« Reply #7 on: 01/05/2009 11:48:57 »
also it costs money to get it up there
 

lyner

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Could nuclear waste not be dumped in space?
« Reply #8 on: 02/05/2009 12:44:37 »
money ≡ energy
 

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Could nuclear waste not be dumped in space?
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