10 Cool things about Nuclear Waste



    The height difference between a man and the moon is like the energy density difference between nuclear and any carbon combustion.
1)  It still contains 95% of its energy.  That's like taking a couple tablespoons out of a liter of pop and throwing the rest away... if we don't make use of it!

2)  Nuclear fuel is around 2,000,000 times more energy dense than coal, oil, and biomass.  This means the quantity of nuclear waste is super tiny for the super huge amount of energy it produces.  2,000,000 times is like the difference between the diameter of the moon compared to the height of an adult person.

3)  It can be recycled, and actually produces energy while being recycled, instead of requiring energy to recycle!  Bill Gates is even backing a company potentially doing this in a new way.

The IFR- Integral Fast Reactor

4)  If recycled, the waste lifetime is reduced to around 300 years.  This (both point 3 and 4) is possible using fast reactors, which have been demonstrated through over 400 reactor-years of operation.

5)  In fact, a cool thing about radioactive elements in general is that they go away with time-- and the more radioactive they are, the quicker they go away.  Some decay in a few seconds.  A general rule of thumb is that after a few decades, the most dangerous elements are effectively gone.

6)  You can easily detect even a single atom of radioactive material.  You cannot detect arguably more dangerous pollutants such as mercury, lead, NOx or SO2 with near that kind of accuracy or ease-- elements that fossil fuel plants are putting out in significant quantities every minute of every day worldwide.  These dangerous pollutants do not go away with time, worse, metals like mercury actually bio-accumulate.

A geiger counter can detect your radiation!  Yes, you are radioactive!
7)  Fission products save lives.  Many critical medical isotopes used for cancer treatment, diagnostics, and more, can only be produced after irradiation in reactors.  Cesium 137, a fission product, can be used to protect blood in blood banks, saving lives of babies and the immuno-deficient.  This is just one example of possible uses of fission products made in nuclear reactors.

8)  Dry cask storage is one of the most robust structures made by man.  It can survive being dropped from thousands of feet, direct impact from an airplane crash, or explosives!
Medical isotopes are produced in reactors

9)  To that end, there has not been, in the history of worldwide commercial nuclear power, a known case of stolen commercially used nuclear fuel.  It is too mixed up with different things and too difficult to handle to be very useful to anyone with bad intentions.


10)  Even including the worst accidents in worldwide nuclear history, nuclear has the best safety record (deaths/yr) of any type of energy source, including wind, solar, natural gas, and coal.  There have been no deaths in the history of U.S. commercial nuclear power due to exposure to nuclear waste.

Is it "waste" or "used" fuel with lots of value for society?

6 comments

  1. Excellent post! Keep up the good work.

    By the way, there's another interesting method for recycling spent fuel:

    How thorium can solve the nuclear waste problem in conventional reactors

    http://www.the-weinberg-foundation.org/2013/04/05/how-thorium-can-solve-the-nuclear-waste-problem-in-conventional-reactors/

    Marcel

    ReplyDelete
  2. In my opinion

    We need to replace the fossil fuel power plants, the primary source of GHG. Now!

    At a scale required to accomplish this task :

    Ethanol starves people : not a viable option.

    Fracking releases methane : not a viable option.

    Cellulose Bio Fuel Uses Food Land : not a viable option

    Solar uses food land : Not a viable option

    Wind is Intermittent : Not a viable option



    All Human and Agricultural Organic Waste can be converted to hydrogen, through exposure intense radiation!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/DennisearlBaker/2012-a-breakthrough-for-r_b_1263543_135881292.html

    The Radioactive Materials exist now, and the Organic waste is renewable daily.

    Ending the practice of dumping sewage into our water sources.

    Air, Water, Food and Energy issues, receive significant positive impacts .

    Reducing illness / health care costs as well !



    Dennis Baker
    Penticton BC V2A1P9
    cell phone 250-462-3796
    Phone / Fax 250 492 0033

    http://dingo.care2.com/pictures/causes/uploads/2012/01/GHG-emitters-2010.jpg
    dingo.care2.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very Good! I wish such a factoid list was plastered on subway and bus ad boards!

    6) You can easily detect even a single atom of radioactive material.

    Unfortunately an amazing technology that's a double-edged sword in public perceptions of hazards, like detecting radioactivity in perfectly edible fish at health impact levels far below heavy metals which CAN incur health effects -- but guess which more alarms public and media!

    4) If recycled, the waste lifetime is reduced to around 300 years.

    The funny thing about this waste fear is people act as though we'll be building condos next the stuff. I ask people whenever the garbageman hauls your stuff away at the curb just how concerned are you that quite a bit of it will still exist a thousand years from now in a deep dark pit -- really?

    8) Dry cask storage is one of the most robust structures made by man.

    I wish the public had more of sense of physical proportion of quantity of atomic waste vs. fossil waste. Just saying casks can fit almost inconspicuously fit the corner of a parking lot needs to be compared with the volume of fossil waste generated the same period. To see whole busy noisy train yards constantly feeding coal plants but none supplying nuclear plants is a striking picture too!

    10) This major point and FUD-buster just has not been hammered enough to the public by nuclear advocates! If you hear radio man-on-the-street reporters asking folks how many people nuclear energy has killed you'd wonder who's left to listen to the radio!

    Keep up the great job, FUD-Busting Knight!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'll tell you one thing that is worse than nuclear, renewable energy. According to a W.H.O. report, cooking with renewable biofuels (wood, charcoal, cow-pies) causes about 1.8 MILLION deaths per year, mainly women and small children. That is more, each and every year, than have died in the entire history of nuclear power, BOMBINGS INCLUDED!

    I always thought that greens were doing it "for the c h i l d r e n". Well, seems they don't care much for them after all.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great point about biomass. There is great danger in both the particulates and in the carbon monoxide frequently ignored, which, as you pointed out, typically hits poor women and their young children the hardest. Clean energy means equality!

    Check out our article on biomass here: http://www.thingsworsethannuclearpower.com/2013/02/biomass.html

    ReplyDelete
  6. Why does nuclear waste have 95% of its potential energy intact??
    ...because today's nuclear reactors are GROSSLY inefficient.
    If we could get by the nuclearati (current reactor interests), the mis-guided greens with their lawfare, the big-government meddlers and radiophobia, Fast Reactors and LFTRs would create a renaissance in energy and civilization.

    ReplyDelete

Only comments that intelligently add to the discussion will be allowed.