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Nuclear decay

  1. Dec 20, 2007 #1
    I were just thinking that if the U.S, North Korea, Russia, China will not find a solution for the wasted nuclear, such as where to put it, this Earth will be in its deepest hole. For eaxmple, mountains nowadays are not availble, oceans cannot simply do, and the vaccumed space is a big cost. So, is there any idea how to solve this problem?
     
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  3. Dec 21, 2007 #2

    malawi_glenn

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    Transmutation of Nuclear Waste
     
  4. Dec 21, 2007 #3
    Within a short time sweden will build its final repository for the waste and finland is already building one. So the waste problem is more or less solved when it comes to final storage. (all the scientific publications for the swedish waste storage program can be found here
    http://www.skb.se/default2____17139.aspx)

    but I hope we will take the path Malawi mentions, reprocessing and transmutation seems like a more attractive chooise than just burrying the waste.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2007
  5. Dec 21, 2007 #4

    mheslep

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    I would be very interested in hearing your opinion on proliferation hazards brought on by reprocessing programs.
     
  6. Dec 21, 2007 #5
    Well imo reprocessing in western countries that either already have nuclear weapons or has no intention of getting them isnt a problem. I dont se how reprocessing in for instance USA or Sweden or the countries that already reprocess(France, UK, I guess Japan?) can be a problem from a proliferation point of view?

    I like the idea of GNEP where reprocessing is limited to a few select countries. I think the NPT should be changed so that enrichment and reprocessing wont be rights anymore but instead privileges.

    It would be interesting to hear what Morbius or Astronuc thinks!
     
  7. Dec 21, 2007 #6

    mheslep

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    Yes but since there's such nuclear push in Sweden I thought you might have exposed to more discussion on the subject.
     
  8. Dec 21, 2007 #7

    Astronuc

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    The US is considering reprocessing nuclear fuel again after about 30 years of not doing so - well - commercial fuel that is. There is no interest in using the Pu for weapons since there is already plenty of WG-Pu to recycle into more efficient warheads.

    GNEP is all about controlling the fuel cycles of various nations that do not currently have well developed nuclear programs, particularly enrichment and reprocessing.

    France has an active reprocessing program, and as far as we know, so does India.

    The UK has a moderate program and in fact, most of the reprocessing is for foreign contracts from utilities from Germany, Switzerland and Japan. There have been some problems with the reprocessing.

    Russia has traditionally taken back spent fuel for reprocessing in addition to reprocessing domestic spent fuel. They also have a huge inventory of WG-Pu.

    Sweden and IIRC Finland opted for once-through fuel cycles. That could be subject to change.
     
  9. Dec 21, 2007 #8

    russ_watters

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    This is purely a political problem, and solving it is best done by education -- failing that, massive summer blackouts will solve it eventually.

    People mentioned reprocessing can be done, but even if it were decided that we needed to bury some waste, the current design criteria that requires the facility to be built to be stable for 10,000 or 100,000 yeras (can't remember which) is just ludicrously absurd.
     
  10. Dec 21, 2007 #9

    Astronuc

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    IIRC, Yucca Mountain repository was originally supposed to be certified for 10,000 years, then some folks changed it 100,000 years. However, mankind has never built something that lasted (intact) 10,000 years. :rolleyes:

    One goal of reprocessing with separation and transmutation would be to convert the various waste forms into short lived species which decay rapidly in a matter of days, months, years to that the radionuclides would decay to inert (non-radioactive isotopes).

    The uranium and transuranics would be burned.
     
  11. Dec 21, 2007 #10
    We should send it all to Wyoming.
     
  12. Dec 22, 2007 #11

    LURCH

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    Folks are still saying that fusion should be happeneing by 2050, and that would greatly reduce the problem. So all we realy have to worry about is the production of waste between nwo and the time fusion becomes the new standard.

    Just curious, but could the effects of radioactive mutation and inbreeding cancel one another out?
     
  13. Dec 22, 2007 #12
    The debate in sweden mostly revolves around if we should shut down any more nuclear power plants or not. A few wants to replace the oldest reactors with new ones. But right now we are still suck on the shut down or not discussion. If waste is even mentioned its usualy by environmentalits that claim the waste problem isnt solved, not suprisingly its also the environmentalits that fight the hardest against building a waste repository.

    The binding EU agreement to increase the % share of renewables will probably stand in the way of new nuclear in sweden.

    Whats ironic is that swedes likes nuclear better than any other europeans, a majority wants to replace old reactors with new ones and build more if needed. But still only one political party dares to demand more nuclear power.
     
  14. Dec 22, 2007 #13
    But isnt the idea that it shouldnt matter if its intact or not?

    I know that for the swedish method its not a disaster if the canisters break after a few thousand years, because the canisters are still contained within bentonit clay and even if water seeps through the clay all actinides are in oxide form and have incredibly low solubility. The depth of the repository also more or less guarante that no actinides will reach the surface since they readily will deposit on the rock walls.

    I dont think there is any conceivable way for large population exposure to happen:confused:

    Studies have even been made on how the repository would handle absurd situations like a new ice age.
     
  15. Dec 22, 2007 #14

    Astronuc

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    My experience is that a lot of licensing matters and respository design are not based on reality, but rather an imaginary worst case scenario.
     
  16. Dec 23, 2007 #15
    I haven't researched this, just wondering what you guys thought, but would actually burning the fuel be any help? ie dropping it into a volcano or incinerator?

    Or would that just cause large amounts of radiation to be released into the atmosphere within the fumes? Or the fumes would be to poisonous?
     
  17. Dec 23, 2007 #16

    gtn

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    This would not be a good choice. Any radioactivity released in a normal volcanic eruption would involve NORM. If spent fuel were dumped in a volcano then the next eruption would include actinides, including transuranics, as well as fission products.

    Like most industrial waste there is no quick and dirty way to dispose of spent fuel. There are, however, safe ways to deal with this waste stream.

    I am in favor of reprocessing and reactor designs capable of full actinide burn-up.

    Gary
     
  18. Dec 24, 2007 #17

    malawi_glenn

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    You have to change the isotopic composition of the fuel, and that you can not do by burning it. You have to expose it to nuclear reaction.
     
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