Monday, September 24, 2012
U233 - Is it a problem?
My friend Keith, always vigilant, sent me an article today from the New York Times Uranium 233 A Disposal Risk? It's not a lengthy read and poses yet another permanent disposal risk along with other concerns as well.
U233 was a man-made substitute for natural uranium back in the 1950's when we 'loved the bomb' and needed to be assured we would not run out of fuel for our reactors and our bombs. But as the cycle of life goes, things change and we move on or at least attempt to.
What I found kind of interesting in reading the article was how at that time in 'back to the future' in the fifties how everyone seems to know all the answers to questions of stockpiles and storage and moving 'forward to the future' I wonder...hmm will there still be answers that turn into questions?
"Today, the problem is how to safely get rid of it." - Oh, oh here we go again. I did a little checking and it seems that Uranium 233 has a half life of 159,200 years. That shouldn't be a problem. The direction we are headed Planet Earth is going to be following the path of Planet Hollywood before long.
“Nuclear physicists weren’t geologists and didn’t understand the supply of uranium,” said Frank N. Von Hippel, a physicist and public policy specialist at Princeton. “It turned out there was more uranium than people thought and less nuclear power than people thought there would be.”
Oh, dear, say it isn't so? I suppose in the end I should be more concerned over the security risks, you know evil countries or evil terrorists stealing our left-overs and making bombs that will destroy the world. But my concern is more for the long term impact on our environment and human-kind in general but perhaps that is a moot point.
The government spent $5.5 billion (adjusted for inflation) to produce U233, something it turns out wasn't even needed and now the Energy Department is estimating it will take $473 million to dispose of the stockpiles that weren't needed in the first place.
Go ahead read the article have a chuckle then maybe sit down an have a stiff drink.
Didn't mean to get your week off to a bad start.
Posted by Artichoke Annie at 1:15 PM