Shipping radioactive waste.


    Hey, I apologize if this is posted elsewhere - I tried a search and nothing came up.

    I've been following this story about Canada's decision to ship radioactive waste through the great lakes and over the ocean to Sweden.

    I personally believe a lot of people are naive about our ability to control and contain nuclear waste and I think the groups who are trying to stop this are over reacting completely.

    What do you guys think? Is this something we should be doing or not, and why?
  2. jcsd
  3. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    With a statement like "Edwards also said the generators contain 15 per cent plutonium and other man-made materials with high toxicity," it is safe to say that Edwards is making this stuff up, and he's a nut. There's not even 15% Pu in the fuel!

    The steam generators are not in the core. They do however get some surface contamination because they pick up corrosion particles that do get activated, or they might collect some minute fuel particles if there are fuel failures. However, utilities are required to decontaminate surfaces before they can ship offsite.

    The Swedes can further decontaminate the material and recycle the non-radioactive steel components.
  4. I agree with Astronuc that the part of Pu in the steam generators sounds like a bunch of hot air, or some horribly erroneous information. Also I believe the steam generators is just another word for the heat exchangers between the hot and cold side loops. Isn't Co-60 the nastiest thing in the steel from neutron activation?
  5. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    I believe Co-60 and Co-58 are the most significant sources of radiation from activitated steel. But the comes from steel in a neutron flux/field. Also, the nuclear industry adopted low Co stainless steels (less than 300 ppm Co) in order to mitigate the formation of Co-60. Co-58 comes from activation of Ni via an (n,p) reaction. (select zoom 1)

    The schematics of the CANDU show that the steam generator is outside of the core, where the neutron field falls off dramatically.

    Parts of steam generator is exposed to the reactor coolant which can transport activated corrosion products to the inlet plenum, tubing and outlet plenum. However, like PWR utilities, CANDU operators do a decontamination which basically removes the contaminated surface. The contamination is collected on filters and sent to an appropriate site for disposal.
  6. Awesome guys; thanks for your replies.

    I find it frustrating how naive and limited the general publics knowledge of this stuff is, considering Nuclear -anything- could really stand to help civilization a lot right now. heh.

    It's sort of scary then, how off-base this Edwards guy is, considering the organization he's apparently head of. @_@
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