The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Are nuclear waste storage rooms warm/ hot?  (Read 1831 times)

Offline McKay

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 148
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Are nuclear waste storage rooms warm/ hot?
« on: 03/08/2014 11:22:39 »
As I understand, nuclear waste is just radioactive matter that we cant (dont know how to) use to generate electricity safely under control. But it is still radioactive and gives off energy. So are the storage rooms (bunkers) being heated by the radiation? If so, how much and why cant we convert that heat [differential] in useful electric current?


 

Offline syhprum

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3823
  • Thanked: 19 times
    • View Profile
Re: Are nuclear waste storage rooms warm/ hot?
« Reply #1 on: 03/08/2014 21:38:29 »
Except for a few rare and expensive isotopes the amount of heat given of is too little to use as a viable energy source.
 

Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4728
  • Thanked: 155 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
Re: Are nuclear waste storage rooms warm/ hot?
« Reply #2 on: 03/08/2014 22:37:12 »
A useful heat source would be at a fairly high temperature so that we can extract the energy efficiently, but high temperatures would tend to distort the encapsulating materials over time: the essence of nuclear waste storage is stability over long periods. So the waste is diluted to a low equilibrium temperature.

That said, I've often wondered why we don't use nuclear waste to purify water.
 

Online evan_au

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4130
  • Thanked: 249 times
    • View Profile
Re: Are nuclear waste storage rooms warm/ hot?
« Reply #3 on: 06/08/2014 09:26:43 »
To generate electricity: as well as the source of heat, you also need a cold sink - the energy is produced by heat flowing from the hot body to the cold body.

The efficiency is higher when there is a larger temperature gap between the hot and cold sinks.

For security, waste storage facilities are (should be) locked, which inhibits heat flow through the air. To prevent long-term corrosion of the storage facility, they tend to be in dry areas, which prevents the use of water as a coolant.
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Re: Are nuclear waste storage rooms warm/ hot?
« Reply #4 on: 06/08/2014 23:12:41 »
Long term waste facilities are in "dry" areas.  However, there are many short-term waste facilities very close to the nuclear reactors where there usually is an ample supply of water.  The rods tend to be fairly "hot" when removed from the reactor, and loose much of their energy in the first few years before moving offsite.

Using low grade energy for direct heating would probably be the most efficient use of the waste energy.  However, that would mean moving people reasonably close to the facility, or moving the highly radioactive recently removed spent rods to populous areas.
 

Offline northernbeach

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Are nuclear waste storage rooms warm/ hot?
« Reply #5 on: 19/08/2014 07:31:16 »
Nuclear reactor is chemical equipment for human to heating  room with chemical reaction.
 

Offline homebrewer

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 40
    • View Profile
Re: Are nuclear waste storage rooms warm/ hot?
« Reply #6 on: 19/08/2014 20:09:04 »
Yes, low level radioactive waste and high level radioactive waste can be used to safely generate electricity, by a process which will generate electricity in what is called a fast breeder reactor.

Our German PM Dr. Angela Merkel was herself a nuclear physicist and has written a thesis on this very matter. But once in power, politicians are more worried about their next election results than what is best for their Country long term. May one day another politician in the UK of the caliber of Mr. Wedgwood Ben stands up,  not only create science based jobs but also do what is best for the UK economy and to build UK designed nuclear reactors.

BRITAIN DOES NOT NEED CHINESE NUCLEAR REACTORS
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Are nuclear waste storage rooms warm/ hot?
« Reply #6 on: 19/08/2014 20:09:04 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums