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THE Nuclear Waste Thread (merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Nuclear waste? What nuclear waste?

Unread postby yesplease » Sun 10 Jun 2007, 18:51:44

That's what you get with the military managing things... :(
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Re: Nuclear waste? What nuclear waste?

Unread postby steam_cannon » Sun 10 Jun 2007, 21:04:24

Cyrus wrote:Holy shit.
Sorry if I am not taking this sufficiently seriously, but this is what the article made me think of... :roll:

Brookers News - "...and you will die!"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhoJvfX9Emo

I understand, the article points to a serious danger but we have a lot of serious dangers to think about. And I'm not going to worry about this particular one too much.

There is a larger concern though. What will happen to nuclear waste in the future, all over the planet. And how was nuclear waste handled after the collapse of the Soviet Union? If/when the US collapses, what will happen to superfund sites and nuclear sites?

Perhaps for those expecting apocalyptic collapse, a map of these locations to avoid might be useful in the future. So I guess looking at the bigger perspective this is an important topic, with few easy answers. Probably why I feel like joking about it.
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Re: Nuclear waste? What nuclear waste?

Unread postby TheDude » Mon 11 Jun 2007, 00:45:57

Deep Time, by Greg Benford. Addresses the topic of communicating with people of the future, in indelible/timeless symbology. Interesting read.

Link fixed by Aimrehtopyh
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Re: Nuclear waste? What nuclear waste?

Unread postby kolm » Thu 14 Jun 2007, 08:27:05

Cyrus wrote:Holy shit.


This news is not too scary per se, IMHO. Basically, the storage space experiences H2 concentration, a problem we know also from core meltdown simulations, and a problem which can be adressed relatively easily by just using H2 oxidators (standard equipment of western NPPs). No end of world if proper action taken.

Way more scary than the dimension of this particular problem is the general impression of no-care-storage this news is carrying.
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Re: Nuclear waste? What nuclear waste?

Unread postby gg3 » Thu 14 Jun 2007, 11:56:16

Hardly as risky as the pandemic uncontrolled release of dangerous fossil fuel wastes, that are presently screwing up the climate and trashing the planet.

As for nuclear wase, we should be calling it "nuclear recyclables." Yesterday's used fuel rods that can be reprocessed into tomorrow's new ones. Between now & then they can be stored in swimming pools at the reactor sites, where you can keep a good eye on them and know they're not sneaking out to cause a climate catastrophe.

And the low-level stuff is not a big deal, especially compared to the radiation released through burning of coal (yes, coal is full of radionuclides, all of which go merrily floating up into the sky when the stuff is burned...).
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Re: Nuclear waste? What nuclear waste?

Unread postby EnergyUnlimited » Thu 14 Jun 2007, 12:46:30

gg3 wrote:As for nuclear wase, we should be calling it "nuclear recyclables." Yesterday's used fuel rods that can be reprocessed into tomorrow's new ones.

Sadly, our all reactors are rather LWR, not FBR.
Will we build civilian FBR?
I doubt.
With thorium cycle there is a bit more hope perhaps, but I think overally politicians are too stupid to work it out.
They will run LWR until U235 is so depleted, that it will be challenge to summon enough of it to set any other reactor type going.
Between now & then they can be stored in swimming pools at the reactor sites, where you can keep a good eye on them and know they're not sneaking out to cause a climate catastrophe.

Those will be swimming pools of abandoned properties in CA :-D

And the low-level stuff is not a big deal, especially compared to the radiation released through burning of coal (yes, coal is full of radionuclides, all of which go merrily floating up into the sky when the stuff is burned...).

Low level stuff is a large quantity of low quality waste.
It will be disposed off in oceans, I suppose...it is interesting what Heineken or Zardoz would say about that idea (deep ocean disposal).
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Re: Nuclear power: Dark horse for alternative energy

Unread postby manu » Tue 19 Jun 2007, 09:21:58

For those of you who are for nuclear energy, can we bury the nuclear waste in your backyard? No one else seems to want it.
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Re: Nuclear power: Dark horse for alternative energy

Unread postby EnergyUnlimited » Tue 19 Jun 2007, 13:02:12

manu wrote:For those of you who are for nuclear energy, can we bury the nuclear waste in your backyard? No one else seems to want it.

There is not much waste from npp, as long as you carry on reprocessing to recover valuable plutonium (or U233 in thorium cycle) to make new fuel or more atomic bombs.
Again what means "backyard"?
If it is shed on the back of my garden - no.
If it is proper underground depository 20 miles from my home and plutonium with other long living transuranides are properly recovered first - certainly yes.
Reprocessing of spent fuel is a key technology to deal with waste.

My only concerns about nuclear power is that it is unlikely that more than 1-2 thousands of reactors can run concurrently worldwide and that all U235 (and Pu from weapons) will be stupidly wasted in LWR-s , as per current policy, therefore we will not have at some point enough fissile material for switch into thorium cycle painlessly.
This frivolous wasting of available fissile materials in non breeding systems can produce significant bottleneck in development of nuclear power and may ultimately bring nuclear industry down.
If we will not begin to build thorium breeders in near future, than entire window of opportunity will surely shut down.
I dont mention FBR-s, as all up to date civilian trials are failures.
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Re: Nuclear power: Dark horse for alternative energy

Unread postby dohboi » Tue 19 Jun 2007, 13:38:29

Energy, your "pessimism" is the most hopeful thing I've heard in a while. Thanks for cheering my gloomy spirits.
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Re: Nuclear power: Dark horse for alternative energy

Unread postby manu » Wed 20 Jun 2007, 00:15:16

EnergyUnlimited wrote:
manu wrote:For those of you who are for nuclear energy, can we bury the nuclear waste in your backyard? No one else seems to want it.

There is not much waste from npp, as long as you carry on reprocessing to recover valuable plutonium (or U233 in thorium cycle) to make new fuel or more atomic bombs.
Again what means "backyard"?

As far as I have heard, most states dont want nuclear waste in their State. The last I heard was Nevada rejecting a proposed nuclear dump way out in some canyon. Not much multiplyed by thousands of new reactors is alot. What are you going to do with all the atomic bombs?
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Re: Nuclear power: Dark horse for alternative energy

Unread postby EnergyUnlimited » Wed 20 Jun 2007, 02:47:50

manu wrote:As far as I have heard, most states dont want nuclear waste in their State. The last I heard was Nevada rejecting a proposed nuclear dump way out in some canyon. Not much multiplyed by thousands of new reactors is alot. What are you going to do with all the atomic bombs?

All these NIMBY and BANANA rules rules will go, once we have real problems with maintaining of realiable electricity supply.
I cannot comment explicitly on US internal affairs regarding such waste, as I am not American.
I am certain, that reprocessing will reduce volume of of waste about hundredfold. Such waste (after reprocessing and separation of longliving transuranides (Np, Pu & Am are of particular concern) will decay to safe levels within less than a thousand years, versus million years or more, if transuranides are not remooved.
Recovered transuranides can then be burned in nuclear reactors for more energy.
Some very valuable platinum group metals (Rh, Pd, Ru) can also be recovered from waste. Will help, as we are approaching peak platinides as well.

What to do with atomic bombs?
Well, I consider them to be secure storage devices of neat fissile materials, which can later be diverted back to civilian use.
In certain circumstances they may also have to be used as per design.
Dont fool yourself - PO=more nuclear installations worldwide=end of NPT.
So healthy nuclear arsenal in First World will greatly discourarage newcomers to nuclear club from reckless use of few warheads, they might have.

However overally I am rather pessimistic here and in longer term I think an atomic war is high probability event.
It will be likely caused by US refusing to release itself from hegemony doctrine, a policy which will escalate to a total war at some point.
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Re: Nuclear power: Dark horse for alternative energy

Unread postby Starvid » Wed 20 Jun 2007, 15:33:06

manu wrote:For those of you who are for nuclear energy, can we bury the nuclear waste in your backyard? No one else seems to want it.

The Swedish spent nuclear fuel waste repsoitory will be built either at Forsmark, 70 km from where I live (and about 150 km from the capital Stockholm) or in the far south at Oskarshamn. Forsmark and Oskarshamn are fighting each other to get the repository. Lots of high paying jobs, guaranteed at least until 2085...

I have no complaints. Hell, they could put the spent fuel canisters in my basement if they'd like.

For more details on the Swedish program, check my text here: http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2006/8/13/184016/739

Includes lots of pretty pics.
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Re: Nuclear power: Dark horse for alternative energy

Unread postby MC2 » Wed 20 Jun 2007, 17:17:19

Starvid wrote:
manu wrote:I have no complaints. Hell, they could put the spent fuel canisters in my basement if they'd like.

pretty pics.


LOL, you might save some on your winter heating bill, at that!

Seriously, people really need to lose their "Jane Fonda does China Syndrome" mentality left over from the seventies and enlighten themselves about nuclear technology and relative risk.

We will be lagging seriously when we finally break ground on the next new NPP, but it will happen. Thanks to Hollywood and other misguided morons for sticking the U.S. far behind the (nuclear) power curve...
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Re: Nuclear power: Dark horse for alternative energy

Unread postby manu » Thu 21 Jun 2007, 04:15:36

Starvid, that site didnt convince me at all. First the final dump isnt even built and you have had waste since 77. Second its bullshit govt propaganda meant to make everyone feel all cozy and warm. What about the polluted water? Just flush it out into the big ocean? More jobs??? Yes, for the dumb people who want to shorten their lives by working around hazardous waste. Another thing is that they say it is encased in concrete and steel. After 500 years it will be safe. Unfortuanately concrete and steel will not last 500 years so down the line it will leak. Where it leaks to no one will know. Maybe you should go live on that nuclear waste ship for a year and then get back to me.
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Re: Nuclear power: Dark horse for alternative energy

Unread postby Starvid » Thu 21 Jun 2007, 16:22:11

manu wrote:Starvid, that site didnt convince me at all.

Ok. After all, I wrote it, so why would you believe it? Better come with some uninformed complaints.

manu wrote:First the final dump isnt even built and you have had waste since 77.

We've had waste since the 50's, and it aint going anywhere. So why hurry? Better make sure we know the technology works before we deployed some half assed thing, like dumping the stuff in the sea. Like the US, the Brits and the Soviet Union.

And we can't store it in the repository before it has been stored in Clab for 30-40 years anyway. No rush.

manu wrote:Second its bullshit govt propaganda meant to make everyone feel all cozy and warm.

I'm not working for the government, but I'd sure like to be.



manu wrote:What about the polluted water? Just flush it out into the big ocean?

What polluted water? We are not talking about Hanford here...


manu wrote:More jobs??? Yes, for the dumb people who want to shorten their lives by working around hazardous waste.

Actually, if you work with nuclear waste deep underground you will recieve far less radiation than if you, for example, sit in the office. Deep down you are shielded from cosmic radiation (remember that radiation shield made out of 500 metres of rock?). And the cosmic radiation is far more intense than that given off by the spent fuel canisters.

manu wrote:Another thing is that they say it is encased in concrete and steel. After 500 years it will be safe. Unfortuanately concrete and steel will not last 500 years so down the line it will leak. Where it leaks to no one will know.

It's pretty hard to make it leak. How do you make a slightly irradiated hammer "leak"? And does it really matter if a sealed off rock vault is slightly more radioactive in a few hundred years than it is now, if it's still going to be less radioactive than the seaside cliffs in Bohuslan where I am going on vacation next week?
Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
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Re: Nuclear power: Dark horse for alternative energy

Unread postby manu » Fri 22 Jun 2007, 01:31:11

O.K> Starvid I'm not just talking about Swedan.
Let's take a look at the U.S. Millions of gallons of radioactive waste Thousands of tons of spent fuel. Huge quantities of soil and water contamination. Oak Ridge alone has 167 "know dump sites" on its 37,000 acres. There are 108 cleanup sites in the U.S. already that are polluted, and you want to make more. The govt says it will "try and have these cleaned up by 2027". Try isnt good enough for me, it amounts to a post dated check and may never get done. These scum-bags lie about everything they do. People lived on this planet for hundreds of thousands of years without nuclear power just fine and there was no pollution. If you are so into nuclear power why dont you move to Cheryrnobyl

Physics

The radioactivity of all nuclear waste diminishes with time. All radioisotopes contained in the waste have a half-life - the time it takes for any radionuclide to lose half of its radioactivity and eventually all radioactive waste decays into non-radioactive elements. Certain radioactive elements (such as plutonium-239) in “spent” fuel will remain hazardous to humans and other living beings for hundreds of thousands of years. Other radioisotopes will remain hazardous for millions of years. Thus, these wastes must be shielded for centuries and isolated from the living environment for hundreds of millennia [4]. Some elements, such as Iodine-131, have a short half-life (around 8 days in this case) and thus they will cease to be a problem much more quickly than other, longer-lived, decay products but their activity is much greater initially.

The faster a radioisotope decays, the more radioactive it will be. The energy and the type of the ionizing radiation emitted by a pure radioactive substance are important factors in deciding how dangerous it will be. The chemical properties of the radioactive element will determine how mobile the substance is and how likely it is to spread into the environment and contaminate human bodies. This is further complicated by the fact that many radioisotopes do not decay immediately to a stable state but rather to a radioactive decay product leading to decay chains.
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Re: Nuclear power: Dark horse for alternative energy

Unread postby manu » Fri 22 Jun 2007, 01:43:57

MC2 wrote:[
Seriously, people really need to lose their "Jane Fonda does China Syndrome" mentality left over from the seventies and enlighten themselves about nuclear technology and relative risk.

We will be lagging seriously when we finally break ground on the next new NPP, but it will happen. Thanks to Hollywood and other misguided morons for sticking the U.S. far behind the (nuclear) power curve...


Maybe you should go to Nuclear Waste@National Geographic and read what they have to say about it.
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Re: Nuclear power: Dark horse for alternative energy

Unread postby EnergyUnlimited » Fri 22 Jun 2007, 02:11:32

Starvid wrote:Actually, if you work with nuclear waste deep underground you will recieve far less radiation than if you, for example, sit in the office. Deep down you are shielded from cosmic radiation (remember that radiation shield made out of 500 metres of rock?). And the cosmic radiation is far more intense than that given off by the spent fuel canisters.

That sounds like complete BS.
Do you suggest, that work in nuclear waste depository is safer than sitting in office, because in the office you are exposed to much more cosmic radiation, than in underground waste storage?
If so, then you got it completely wrong and you should read more about radioactivity.

Spent fuel canisters are surely producing enough of gamma radiation to offset any beneficial effects of shielding from cosmic radiation. Any non-remote handling of these will cause some irradiation.
Additionally rocks are radioactive as well (uranium, thorium, radium/radon gas etc). In particular radon gas is a cause of increased radioactivity in many caves, often by several orders of magnitude comparing to normal levels.
The same phenomenon is to be expected in underground depository.
So working underground will not make you any healthier.
It's pretty hard to make it leak. How do you make a slightly irradiated hammer "leak"?

Let it rust and dissipate.
And does it really matter if a sealed off rock vault is slightly more radioactive in a few hundred years than it is now, if it's still going to be less radioactive than the seaside cliffs in Bohuslan where I am going on vacation next week?

As long as you reprocess spent fuel to remoove long living transuranides you can consider underground storage to be safe.
However if you dont reprocess your spent fuel your depository will never be safe in all practical terms (it mean, that you will have it safe after hundreds thousands of years or more).
Sorry, no way around it.
No reprocessing - no safe storage of remaining waste.
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Re: Nuclear waste? What nuclear waste?

Unread postby Kylon » Fri 22 Jun 2007, 14:15:44

I think we should take nuclear waste and put it all in one place, and use the heat generated by the nuclear waste to generate power.

Have the waste storage pay for itself.
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New way to store nuclear waste, and cheaper

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 19 Sep 2008, 23:58:30

New way to store nuclear waste, and cheaper

Australian scientists have found a new and cheaper way to filter and safely store nuclear waste.

Zhu Huaiyong, associate professor with Queensland University of Technology (QUT), told Xinhua on the telephone on Friday that his research team has discovered how to create nanofibres, which are millionths of a millimetre in size and can permanently lock away radioactive ions by displacing the existing sodium ions in the fibre.

"We have created ceramic nanofibres which attract and trap radioactive cations (positively charged ions), possibly forever," he said.

According to Zhu, the ceramic material can last much longer than the radioactivity of a radioactive ion. While other material such as plastic or steel, couldn't.

The ceramic nanofibres are made from titanium dioxide, a mineral Australia abounds in and used in white paint. They are also much cheaper to make than metals like steel, and chemically stabler.

"The fibres are in very thin layers, less than one nanometre in width, and the radioactive ions are attracted into the space between the layers," he said.


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