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THE Nuclear Waste Thread (merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Nuclear Waste : Lethal And Leaking : 60 Minutes tonight

Unread postby crapattack » Mon 01 May 2006, 13:12:05

Good point Ludi, both types of waste are horrible - you wouldn't want either in your backyard Omar - not if you like your children alive.

Tanada does make a good point, but I do understand from the article that they are focussed mainly on HLW. They don't say it directly, but when the writer describes a cup of waste from this site being enough to kill everyone in the room within minutes then you just gotta assume that's what we're dealing with here.

MyOtherID, we're not trying to ignore your thread. It took me a while to respond as we've debated the nuke issue and waste so much I'm a bit burnt out on the topic lately. Your concern and the concern in the article is very well placed. Nuke waste is an issue the nuke proponents continually try to downplay - it's embarassing for them. Asside from accidents it's the biggest health issue with regard to nuke. Hanford waste is from weapons and mililtary, however, if this waste is leaking I see no reason to believe that what we are being told about reactor waste storage is absolute truth either. In fact there are concerns over dry casks for HLW reactor waste:

LINK
Shirani alleges that all existing Holtec casks, some of which are already loaded with highly radioactive waste, as well as the casks under construction now, still flagrantly violate engineering codes (such as those of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers [ASME] and American National Standards Institute [ANSI]), as well as NRC regulations. He concludes that the Holtec casks are “nothing but garbage cans” if they are not made in accordance with government specifications.[3]

Specific examples of the QA violations and related problems alleged by Shirani include:

* Welding problems, such improper “fast cooling” of hot cask welds and metal using fans and air conditioning equipment, which are in violation of ASME and ANSI codes and risk tearing and cracking of the unevenly cooling welds and metal, in order to meet production goals. Welds on the casks were also performed by unqualified welders. Even NRC has acknowledged that “weld quality records are not in agreement with the code requirements.”[4]
* Inadequate controls on the quality of materials used in the manufacturing process, risking brittleness and weakness in the casks.
* Holtec’s failure to report holes in neutron shielding material (neutrons are especially hazardous emissions from highly radioactive waste).
* US Tool & Die’s failure to use coupon (a small physical sample of metal) testing, and Post Weld Heat Treatment on a regular basis, as required by ASME code and in violation of the codes that were part of the license agreement with NRC.
* Holtec and U.S. Tool & Die quality control inspectors’ bypass of hundreds of non-conforming conditions, departures from the original design during cask manufacture. The departures from the original design amount to design changes that require revised analysis to guarantee that manufactured casks actually live up to the structural integrity of the original design. The fact that this revised analysis was never done is in violation of ASME and ANSI codes, and thus NRC regulations, and means the actual manufactured casks' structural integrity is questionable, according to Shirani.
* Holtec’s consent to allow U.S. Tool & Die to make design decisions and changes, despite the fact that U.S. Tool & Die does not have design control capability under its QA program.
* Failure to conduct a “root cause investigation” of Holtec’s QA program, even though root causes are the main reason for repeated deficiencies.
* Exelon’s obstruction of Shirani from performing any follow-up of the audit to confirm that problems had been solved, despite knowing that the fabrication issues identified would have a detrimental impact on the design.
* Exelon’s falsified quality-assurance documents and the misleading of the NRC investigation, stating that Shirani’s allegations of QA violations were resolved when in fact they were not.
* Lack of understanding in the NRC of the design control process and Holtec's QA program, relating to flaws in welding, design, manufacturing, and materials procurement control. NRC lacks a corrective action mechanism for repeated findings. Shirani alleges his audit findings embarrassed NRC because it had also audited the Holtec casks just a few months previously but found no problems whatsoever.

Shirani concludes that these numerous design and manufacturing flaws call into question the structural integrity of the Holtec casks, especially under heat-related stress such as during severe transportation accidents. He also warns that his eight-day audit showed him only a snap shot of problems, and that there could in fact be additional ones yet to be identified.


We have discussed waste issue on: http://www.peakoil.com/fortopic17370-0-asc-15.html and
http://www.peakoil.com/fortopic18190-0-asc-30.html

I'm sure there are many other treads as well. I appreciate the 60 minute piece because the issue of nuke waste in general hasn't been getting much press lately and in the rush to find new energy the Bush government is pushing ahead plans for new nuke. Some folks are even touting it as "renewable" and "clean" energy which of course is an absolute lie.
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Re: Nuclear Waste : Lethal And Leaking : 60 Minutes tonight

Unread postby MyOtherID » Mon 01 May 2006, 13:43:19

Thank you for the cogent post, crapattack.

To me, the fact that the nuclear poison resulting from the manufacture of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombs is making its inexorable way to the drinking water of US cities is a dreadful irony.

What goes around, comes around.
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Re: Nuclear Waste : Lethal And Leaking : 60 Minutes tonight

Unread postby crapattack » Mon 01 May 2006, 14:37:39

Yes, it is a very goulish irony and maddening because it is so avoidable. We are dirty creatures that have not learned to keep our own nests clean, choosing lethal poisoning technologies, killing each other - what an evil scourge we must be to all the other creatures on earth - those that are left. We pride ourselves on our intelligence, but we have tried to remove ourselves from nature and it might well turn out to be a species suicide. No wonder we haven't found any other life in the universe - they're all avoiding us and watching us push the self-destruct button. Once we're gone they'll come in and remodel.
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Re: Nuclear Waste : Lethal And Leaking : 60 Minutes tonight

Unread postby gnm » Mon 01 May 2006, 14:43:09

Hey I have an idea... Lets bury it 2000 feet under the New Mexico wastelands (WIPP) instead of letting it leach out of rusty barrels in some Ohio lot.

But oh no the enviros try to block every attempt to put it somewhere safer than where it is now...

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Re: Nuclear Waste : Lethal And Leaking : 60 Minutes tonight

Unread postby 0mar » Mon 01 May 2006, 15:34:48

Ludi wrote:
0mar wrote:I'd rather have nuke waste in my backyard than coal power plant waste.


I'd rather have neither.


same, but if I had to choose...
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Re: Nuclear Waste : Lethal And Leaking : 60 Minutes tonight

Unread postby MyOtherID » Mon 01 May 2006, 16:49:40

gnm wrote:Hey I have an idea... Lets bury it 2000 feet under the New Mexico wastelands (WIPP) instead of letting it leach out of rusty barrels in some Ohio lot.

But oh no the enviros try to block every attempt to put it somewhere safer than where it is now...

-G :-x


Don't overdose on Rush Limbaugh's Kool-Aid, kid. [smilie=new_all_coholic.gif]

Remember, the right wing wackos are usually high when they spout that stuff. [smilie=tard.gif]


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Re: Nuclear Waste : Lethal And Leaking : 60 Minutes tonight

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 01 May 2006, 19:40:58

Ludi wrote:
0mar wrote:I'd rather have nuke waste in my backyard than coal power plant waste.


I'd rather have neither.


Well in that sense me too, but depending on how you define back yard I already have both. See my county is host to a major NPP site, a very large Coal-Electric site, and a modest sized old Natural Gas-electric site. The coal ash containment levee is 5 miles from here and the NPP cooling ponds are about 6 miles as the crow flies.

The fact is I grew up with all these plants here, the oldest is the gas plant which is about my age (39), there have been no serious incidents engraved in local memory by any of the plants thogh there are tales of grisley murder victims turning up in the coal pile back in the 70's around when Hoffa vanished.
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Re: Nuclear Waste : Lethal And Leaking : 60 Minutes tonight

Unread postby crapattack » Tue 02 May 2006, 00:44:50

Tanada, if you have nuke in your backyard - any tritium releases lately? Then again you might not even know. Reactors routinely release tritium into the air and water.
Although naturally occurring on Earth, significant amounts of tritium are also generated by human activity, including the operation of nuclear power plants, the manufacture of nuclear weapons, and atomic bomb testing. In fact, releases of tritium from nuclear power plants to the atmosphere have reached as high as tens of thousands of curies in one year, and releases to bodies of water have measured as high as tens of millions of picocuries per liter.

The current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard for permissible levels of tritium in drinking water is 20,000 picocuries per liter. Please note: permissible does not mean safe.


Nuclear power plants routinely and accidentally release tritium into the air and water as a gas (HT) or as water (HTO or 3HOH). No economically feasible technology exists to filter tritium from a nuclear power plant’s gaseous and liquid emissions to the environment. Therefore, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission does not require that it be filtered.

The NRC allows a licensee to release an amount of tritium that could result in a radiation dose to a member of the public of up to 100 millirem (one millisievert) per year --- in planned air and water effluents (Title 10, Code of Fedl. Regs., Part20.1301). The NRC translates one million picocuries of tritium per liter as the equivalent of 50 millirem/year (10 CFR Part 20, Introductory Notes to Appendix B, Table 2, Column 2). Please note: Table 2 lists concentrations in “microcuries per millileter.” For example, 1E-3 µCi/ml equals one million picocuries per liter.


Tritium has a half-life of 12.3 years. A radioactive material gives off hazardous radiation for at least ten half-lives.

Tritium emits radioactive beta particles. Once tritium is inhaled or swallowed, its beta particles can bombard cells. If a particle zaps a DNA molecule in a cell, it can cause a mutation. If it mutates a gene important to cell function, a serious disease may result. Just as water containing ordinary hydrogen and oxygen is a component of all living cells, tritiated water can also be incorporated into the cells of the body. Tritium incorporated into the DNA of plants and animals is referred to as organically bound tritium (OBT). Organically bound tritium can deliver damaging radiation doses for a much longer time than ingested tritiated water or inhaled tritiated water vapor. Research indicates that tritium can remain in the human body for more than ten years.

Routine releases and accidental spills of tritium from nuclear power plants pose a growing health and safety concern. Exposure to tritium has been clinically proven to cause cancer, genetic mutations and birth defects in laboratory animals. In studies conducted by Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in 1991, a comprehensive review of the carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic effects of tritium exposure revealed that tritium packs 1.5 to 5 times more relative biological effectiveness (RBE), or biological change per unit of radiation (one rad or 0.01 gray), than gamma radiation or X-rays.


You might just want to make sure you're drinking and cooking with bottled water.

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Re: Nuclear Waste : Lethal And Leaking : 60 Minutes tonight

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 02 May 2006, 05:57:36

crapattack wrote:Tanada, if you have nuke in your backyard - any tritium releases lately? Then again you might not even know. Reactors routinely release tritium into the air and water.


Well Fermi 1 & 2 are at Lagoona point, on Lake Eire. Fermi 1 has been in Safestor for over 20 years and is very slowly being dismantled as activated materials decay into stable isotopes. Fermi 2 is very active, but she is a BWR with twin cooling towers, most of her rejected heat rises high into the air on steam colums and is very widely diluted. All of our local water supply is upstream and upwind from all the power plants. I am more concerned about the chemicals leaching from the coal ash than any of the other waste in terms of environmental contamination, it inevitably mixes with the lake water and I wonder about the heavy metals in our local fish stock..
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Re: Nuclear Waste : Lethal And Leaking : 60 Minutes tonight

Unread postby Mesuge » Tue 02 May 2006, 06:47:33

MyOtherID wrote:Hello? Anyone with half a brain awake out there? Am I the only one that sees what a giant fucking nightmare nuclear waste is?


Well, ever heard about the US Army? That's a nuclear waste recycling company for the past and future. 300-1000 metric tonnes of depleted uranium only in Iraq from the first war, add something for the new conflict, also some ended up in Kosovo and Belgrade etc..

And that's only a prologue to the futury story..

PS: I know strictly speaking DU is "only" a by-product from enrichment of the fuel albeit toxic and dangerous, if you want to see some gulf war veteran's kids with fisheyes and three legs or much more numerous crippled Iraqui just google it..
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Why is nuclear waste disposal so hard?

Unread postby zoidberg » Sat 06 Jan 2007, 21:06:47

I say we can drop it into a deep dark mine shaft in the Canadian Shield. Hardly any people thereabouts, those rocks of the shield have been around for billions of years,very geologically stable.

I'm sure hundreds of feet in the ground, hardly any radiation would leak out.

Aside from the political problems of my fellow Canadians squealing about taking in nuclear waste from others into their territory, is this such a problematic solution?
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Re: Why is nuclear waste disposal so hard?

Unread postby ReserveGrowthRulz » Sat 06 Jan 2007, 21:17:33

zoidberg wrote:I say we can drop it into a deep dark mine shaft in the Canadian Shield. Hardly any people thereabouts, those rocks of the shield have been around for billions of years,very geologically stable.

I'm sure hundreds of feet in the ground, hardly any radiation would leak out.

Aside from the political problems of my fellow Canadians squealing about taking in nuclear waste from others into their territory, is this such a problematic solution?


Nuclear waste isn't a problem because of the actual waste, its a problem because tree-huggers don't think it ever should have been created in the first place, for any reason. Kinda of a leftover pacifist urge stretching all the way back to WWII where the big, bad mean US dropped nukes on Japan when instead they should have fought their way inland killing every man, woman and child they could find while the men, women and children tried to do the same to them.

Instead of the hundreds of thousands dead from nukes, we'd have millions dead from the usual reasons, guns, bombs, fire and bayonet, which apparently is much more acceptable to the "anti" faction. My bet is they'd still be whining 70 years later about the carnage, no matter WHAT was done, hypocrits and pacifists usually being in close proximity if not direct physical contact.

Don't get me wrong, nuclear waste is bad, but its hardly like greenhouse gases are BETTER, particularly considering the QUANTITIES of the waste matter involved. I'll take nuke waste any day of the week from an engineering point of view related to disposal rather than trying to sequester CO2 or whatever other silly concepts people are proposing nowadays.
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Re: Why is nuclear waste disposal so hard?

Unread postby NEOPO » Sat 06 Jan 2007, 21:38:12

Zoidberg:
solution to what?
What problem?

RGR - hold the fuck up buddy.
We can prove that american corporations were supplying the nazi effort and also that high command knew that the attack on pearl harbor was going to occur and that it was neccessary to draw america into the war.

2+2=5?

FDR Pearl Harbor Conspiracy
Boy that seems familiar yet I have learned to use occams razor and deny the existence of coincidences.....
Yeah we had to kill those people.....
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Re: Why is nuclear waste disposal so hard?

Unread postby grillzilla » Sat 06 Jan 2007, 21:54:56

My personal favorite is dropping the hardened canisters of waste into the muck a few miles deep off the coast of Chile. Where in due time they will be subducted below the continental crust.

Now if only I were sure nobody would cut corners and say not take the stuff all the way there...
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Re: Why is nuclear waste disposal so hard?

Unread postby frankthetank » Sat 06 Jan 2007, 22:05:23

What about the Sahara or even the middle of AU?
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Re: Why is nuclear waste disposal so hard?

Unread postby zoidberg » Sat 06 Jan 2007, 22:46:45

It seems to me that one argument people use against nuclear power is that decommissioning the plants is more expensive and energy intensive than a pro-nuke person will admit. Especially the long term storage of radioactive wastes. I was curious if there was any reason for that concern, and maybe the helpful folks at PO could tell me why that may be. Or why dumping in the shield may be reckless in some way.

I do like the sound of the Chilean disposal idea - but wouldn't being on a fault line make an earthquake more likely to disperse the waste around? Whereas in the shield, it would really just sit there for millions/ maybe billions of years.
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Re: Why is nuclear waste disposal so hard?

Unread postby grillzilla » Sun 07 Jan 2007, 00:13:51

t seems to me that one argument people use against nuclear power is that decommissioning the plants is more expensive and energy intensive than a pro-nuke person will admit.


Well, you might try and find out how many nuclear power plants have been competely removed and the site returned to its former condition. Could be some have, but I don't remember hearing or reading about any.

As for the problem with fault movement disturbing the waste, I figure it is probably less of a threat than some unwanted person getting to mineshaft stored waste and using it for nefarious purposes. Anyway with subduction trench disposal it would be on the order of five miles below sea level, and buried in muck.

As I said before, the problem I see is just getting the waste to the burial site no matter where it is.
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Re: Why is nuclear waste disposal so hard?

Unread postby katkinkate » Sun 07 Jan 2007, 00:59:57

You could also drop it into the Marianas Trench, or any of the other deep trenches at the subduction zones. The real problem would be ensuring they actually go into the trench and not get swept past the edge by water currents.
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Re: Why is nuclear waste disposal so hard?

Unread postby Tanada » Sun 07 Jan 2007, 01:04:33

The dirty little secret is what the US government calls high level nuclear waste is 99% valuable materials and 1% gaseous products like Xenon and Krypton gasses.

95-96% is Uranium, that stuff the anti's keep saying we are critcally low on supplies of.
1%+/- is Plutonium and transuranics that can be used as fuel or just irradiated in a power reactor until transmuted.
1%+/- are gasses at room temperature like Krypton and Xenon, and some of the rest is Iodine and Cerium that both have very low boiling points and can be seperated for trivial effort.
The remaining 2% contains tons of valuable heavy metals like Palladium and Silver.

If you partition and recycle it all you are left with....a few tons of irradiated Zirconium cladding. This material could actually still be recycled if it were not cheaper to replace it than it is to add more remote manipulation to the fuel manufacturing and handling process.
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Re: Why is nuclear waste disposal so hard?

Unread postby sysfce2 » Sun 07 Jan 2007, 11:01:00

zoidberg wrote:I say we can drop it into a deep dark mine shaft in the Canadian Shield. Hardly any people thereabouts, those rocks of the shield have been around for billions of years,very geologically stable.

I'm sure hundreds of feet in the ground, hardly any radiation would leak out.

Aside from the political problems of my fellow Canadians squealing about taking in nuclear waste from others into their territory, is this such a problematic solution?

It has certainly been looked into: NWMO Final Study (Warning: big pdf)

Siting Phase
The siting phase covers the time period in which a suitable location for a central deep geological repository in the Canadian Shield is being sought. It begins after a formal decision is made to start the process of finding a suitable site and would end when regulatory approval is received to construct the facility at the preferred site (estimated to be about 15 to 20 years).

Design and Construction Phase
The construction phase (about 10 to 15 years) begins with the receipt of regulatory approval to begin construction and ends when commissioning of the facilities is completed prior to receiving the first formal shipment of used fuel for placement. It involves constructing the infrastructure and surface facilities needed to receive used fuel, the underground access ways and service areas, and a portion of the underground rooms for used fuel.

Translation: Slightly complicated :)

Oh yeah, and there's the minor issue of this:

CHAPTER 14 /
Addressing Social, Economic and Cultural Effects

Section 12(6)(c) of the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (NFWA) requires the NWMO to specify the means that will be used “to avoid or minimize significant socio-economic effects on a community’s way of life or on its social, cultural or economic aspirations.”

14.1 / The Context
NWMO’s overall strategy for managing socio-economic effects consists of three key components:
1. Seeking a willing community to host any long-term waste management facility;
2. Building with that community a strategy for long-term community sustainability;
and
3. Working collaboratively and openly with all those potentially affected by implementation in a fair and equitable manner.
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