Saturday, November 9, 2013

Page 17 - Nuclear Waste

Here is Page 17 from Pandora's False Promise a rebuttal to Pandora's Promise by Beyond Nuclear. Think about it.


“There is no magic bullet for solving the problems of long-lived nuclear waste.” Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.
  • The first step to solving the problem of nuclear waste is to stop making it.

  • Assertions that the IFR “once loaded with nuclear waste, can, in principle, keep recycling it until only a small fraction remains,”52 ignore some inconvenient realities. Although the National Academy of Sciences acknowledges in a 1996 study that the waste inventory could be reduced, it also points out that such an effort would have very high costs and marginal benefits and would take hundreds of years.53

  • The IFR does not eliminate the nuclear waste that has piled up so much as theoretically transmute it. Transmutation describes the process of reducing the proportion of long-lived isotopes contained in the waste. While the proportion of elements such as plutonium, americium and curium may be reduced, radioactive fission products would remain, including cesium, krypton-87 and strontium-90. Management of these radioactive wastes would still be necessary for several hundred years at least. Transmutation also creates huge volumes of “low level” and transuranic waste.54

  • Therefore, even with a fleet of such fast reactors, nations would still require a final permanent “disposal” facility for radioactive waste.55

  • How much space radioactive waste takes up is not the issue. It is the duration and concentration of the lethality of its content that is relevant. Depending on its isotopic content, radioactive waste can remain deadly even longer than a million years.

    52 Nuclear vs Nuclear vs Nuclear. By George Monbiot. February 2, 2012.
    53 Nuclear Wastes: Technologies for Separations and Transmutation. National Academy of Sciences. National Academy Press. 1996.
    54 Transuranic waste is waste contaminated with alpha-emitting transuranic radionuclides with half-lives longer than 20 years and in concentrations greater than 3.7MBq/kg. Transuranic elements have atomic numbers greater than uranium (92) and are typically man-made.
    55 waste&page=3 Can Fast Reactors Speedily Solve Plutonium Problems? By David Biello. Scientific American. March 21, 2012.
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1 comment:

  1. He said it all at the outset: "The first step to solving the problem of nuclear waste is to stop making it." If only people would understand the scope of the problem. But humans can't conceive of a problem that lasts for a million years. We can't even deal with climate change, and that's happening in real-time as we watch. The scope of human attention is so tiny. It's sad. But merry Sunday, y'all.