Can a nuclear reactor not produce dangerous waste?

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Glen Carlson

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Glen Carlson  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hello Chris.
 
I heard somewhere that the Chinese were working on a nuclear power generator that did not use plutonium and had no dangerous waste byproducts.

Sounds too good to be true. Does such a beast exist? And if so how does it work or how would it work if it did work?
 
Cheerz, Glen.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 20/04/2011 21:30:02 by _system »

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Offline Bored chemist

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Can a nuclear reactor not produce dangerous waste?
« Reply #1 on: 21/04/2011 14:26:52 »
I think any nuclear reaction that produces energy will release at least some of that energy in the form of short wavelength EM radiation- effectively gamma rays. High energy gamma rays can knock neutrons out of materials by a process called spallation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spallation_Neutron_Source

Neutrons hitting other materials can be absorbed to produce radioactive isotopes of those materials.
I'm not saying it's impossible to generate nuclear power without generating radioactive waste, but I can't see how you could hope to get round this problem.
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Offline yor_on

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Can a nuclear reactor not produce dangerous waste?
« Reply #2 on: 21/04/2011 15:10:50 »
No such thing exist, and if it was plausible the west would have explored it already. That is if the Chinese haven't found a new way of producing 'energy'. Then maybe they are the cause of all those saucers flying around too?

And where are the cups?
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