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Offline Ben Aldhouse

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Nuclear waste!
« on: 24/02/2007 15:01:15 »
I am a natural worrier. All this talk recently about how the method of containment for nuclear waste that was supposed to work for hundreds of thousands of years but actually fails after about a hundred is having its affect. The news that scientists are confident that they will think of something else is only of limited comfort.

Should planned nuclear power plants continue to be built in the light of this news?

Planned nuclear power stations.



 

another_someone

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Nuclear waste!
« Reply #1 on: 24/02/2007 16:16:09 »
In one sense, I don't think we have much choice (aside from going back to pre-industrial technology).

I think we do get somewhat paranoid about nuclear waste (so far, it has done far less measurable damage than chemical waste/leakage, but nobody is talking about shutting down the entire chemical industry, because the benefits still outweigh the risks).  None of this is to suggest we should ignore the risks (either with chemical, or with nuclear), only that we need to keep them in perspective.

There is one difference, in that we have moved much of our chemical industries offshore, so the very big fatal accidents happen in places like India and China, and less often in the USA or Europe.  This may reduce our own personal risks, but actually merely increases the likelihood of accidents happen as it stretches the lines of control, and reduces the oversight these plants have.

I don't actually see why we really need to contain nuclear waste even as long as is suggested (in some cases, there may be issues of toxic chemicals, but that is a chemistry issue not a nuclear one as such).  The stuff that is highly radioactive will lose its radioactivity fairly fast, and the stuff that takes a long time to lose its radioactivity is unlikely to be very radioactive even to start with.

In any case, far more radioactive waste is produced my medical facilities than is produced by the energy generating industry (although this may ofcourse change if we suddenly make massive investments in new nuclear energy generating plants).
« Last Edit: 24/02/2007 16:21:18 by another_someone »
 

Offline Ben Aldhouse

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Nuclear waste!
« Reply #2 on: 24/02/2007 16:28:45 »
Perhaps the waste which is potent enough to destroy the vitrification after 100 years could be revitrified after fifty years or so. Then, since it would have 'cooled down' somewhat, the vitrification would last somewhat longer. This would, however, require extensive revitrification plants down at the bottom of the mine shafts or wherever the stuff is being kept and it would rely on society continuing to evolve ways of dealing with the stuff in ever increasing quantities, which perhaps, shouldn't be relied on quite so absolutely.
 

Offline Paul123

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Nuclear waste!
« Reply #3 on: 04/03/2007 20:07:57 »
Could we not just dump nuclear waste in space if we don't come up with a safe way of storing it?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Nuclear waste!
« Reply #4 on: 05/03/2007 19:02:56 »
Spacecraft have an annoying tendency to crash. They are also very expensive- not least because it takes a lot of enery to get something into space.
 

paul.fr

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Nuclear waste!
« Reply #5 on: 05/03/2007 19:49:49 »
Spacecraft have an annoying tendency to crash. They are also very expensive- not least because it takes a lot of enery to get something into space.

I do believe, this issue has already been discussed with NASA. If i remember correctly they could guarantee that only something like 9 out of 10 spacecrafts would safely leave earth orbit.

So 1 in 10 had the possibility to fail and blow, this would spread the nuclear waste over large areas of the earth...not good.
 

Offline Paul123

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Nuclear waste!
« Reply #6 on: 05/03/2007 19:57:32 »
Yeah I suppose we don't want to risk an explosion of a spacecraft containing nuclear waste in our atmosphere! That can't be too good!
 

Offline Lucke

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Nuclear waste!
« Reply #7 on: 02/08/2007 21:05:07 »
Hi!  [?]
For long time I have this curious question; perhaps I will find the answer here.
Let's say we could deliver nuclear waste to the space SAFELY, more precisely to the sun, for "burning". Sun gravity would facilitate the task.
What sort of problems could arise, if any? Would the sun eventually send it back?
 ???


 

another_someone

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Nuclear waste!
« Reply #8 on: 02/08/2007 21:39:32 »
Hi!  [?]
For long time I have this curious question; perhaps I will find the answer here.
Let's say we could deliver nuclear waste to the space SAFELY, more precisely to the sun, for "burning". Sun gravity would facilitate the task.
What sort of problems could arise, if any? Would the sun eventually send it back?
 ???

If it got close enough to the Sun to be vaporised, then I suspect at least some of it might be blown out again by the solar wind (depends on how much momentum it has attained before being vaporised).  Even if it was blown out in out again, there is no guarantee it would be blown out back towards the Earth, and even if it were, it would be so diffuse as to pose not a great deal of risk, and may even be stopped by the Val Allen belts.

But I think we are a long way from being able to guarantee the reliability of space transport (at present, we don't even transport the stuff by air, and air travel is considerably safer than space travel).
 

Offline Lucke

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Nuclear waste!
« Reply #9 on: 03/08/2007 13:56:09 »
Very good!  [^]
Considering the time taken for the waste to vanish down here and the increasing amount for that time, there is enough room to develop such technology, say, in less than 100 years...
So, we may not see it!  [8D]
« Last Edit: 03/08/2007 14:02:00 by Lucke »
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Nuclear waste!
« Reply #10 on: 12/08/2007 08:40:32 »
I worked for Willam Freeston and Son's in Hange Road Tividale West Midlands, where one of my jobs was to make and weld radioactive sludge cans. these were made from 3/16 mild steel plate encased in concrete and dumped in the ocean by our government. I have no idea whether this is still happening, but found it sickening and eventually led to me leaving the company.

Andrew
 

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Nuclear waste!
« Reply #10 on: 12/08/2007 08:40:32 »

 

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