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Author Topic: Why can't we fire spent nuclear fuel at the sun?  (Read 714 times)

Offline thedoc

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Why can't we fire spent nuclear fuel at the sun?
« on: 15/03/2016 13:50:02 »
tom wilkinson asked the Naked Scientists:
   Why can't spent nuclear fuel be put on a rocket and fired at the sun? After all the Sun is a nuclear reactor.
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 15/03/2016 13:50:02 by _system »


 

Offline Tim the Plumber

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Re: Why can't we fire spent nuclear fuel at the sun?
« Reply #1 on: 15/03/2016 16:06:42 »
We could but it would be extremely expensive. There is a lot of the stuff around.

And very very dangerous. Rockets blow up often. If that happens you have just pread all that poison around the entire globe.

How about putting the stuff into concrete in barrels coated with tar and dropping them down deep ocen trenches? The practice of dumping radio-active material at sea was very bad when it used to be done 10 miles out in the Irish sea but if it is done well then the constant rain of limestone down at the bottom of these trenches will cover it up and by the time any of it is pumped back up to the surface it will have degraded in any case.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Why can't we fire spent nuclear fuel at the sun?
« Reply #2 on: 15/03/2016 17:27:38 »
The earth is pretty radioactive anyway. The trick is to disperse the waste so that it doesn't produce any significant hotspots, so the obvious disposal route is to dig a very deep hole into a stable bit of rock.
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Why can't we fire spent nuclear fuel at the sun?
« Reply #3 on: 15/03/2016 20:40:17 »
It takes a far bigger rocket to launch something into the Sun than it does to launch it to Mars.

It does not just "fall" into the Sun - first you have to cancel Earth's orbital velocity of 30 km/s.

I suggest that we bury it safely on Earth, and start a Mars exploration program.
It will be easier to get ahead on both of these activities if/when we get practical fusion energy.
 

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Re: Why can't we fire spent nuclear fuel at the sun?
« Reply #3 on: 15/03/2016 20:40:17 »

 

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