# Solution for nuclear waste?

Morbius
Dearly Missed
Implication: this whole line of discussion is nothing more than an anti-nuclear power smokescreen.
russ,

AMEN!!

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

Morbius
Dearly Missed
However if it is the long half life elements that concern you then you only need to look at some of the waste these plants are pumping into the ocean such as I-129 with a half life of 16 milllion years!
Art,

What you are apparently ignorant of is that the activity or intensity of the radiation is
INVERSELY proportional to the half-life!!!!

The whole reason that I-129 takes 16 million years for half of it to decay is because
its decay is so sporadic. Lets do the calculation for 1 gram of I-129.

Since the atomic weight of I-129 is 129; then the number of moles of I-129 in 1 gram is
1 gm / (129 gm/moles) = 0.007752 moles.

The number of atoms is Avogadro's Number times the number of moles =
(6.023e+23)(0.007752) = 4.669e+21 atoms.

Lets convert the I-129 half-life of 16 million years into seconds:
16 million years = 16 million years * 365.25 days/year * 24 hours/day * 3600 second/hour
= 5.049e+14 second.

Now the radioactive decay constant is the natural log of 2 divided by the half-life:
$$\lambda$$ = ln 2 / half-life = ln 2 / 5.049e+14 sec = 1.37278e-15 inverse seconds.

Therefore, the radioactivity rate is the product of the number of atoms and the
radioactive decay constant = (5.669e+21)(1.37278e-15) = 6.4095e+6 decays/second.

If we convert this rate into Curies, the unit of radioactivity; 1 Curie = 3.7e+10 decays/sec;
then we have 6.4095e+06 / 3.7e+10 = 0.00017 Curies!!!

TRIVIAL!!!!

If big numbers impress you; like that 16 million year half-life of I-129; then consider
the Potassium-40 [ K-40 ] that is found NATURALLY in your bones.

Potassium-40 has a half-life of 1.277 BILLION years.

That beats your I-129 half-life by a factor of 81.3!!!

Additionally, the radioactivity released by I-129 is a 194 keV beta [ an electron ].

The stupid anti-nukes have you all worked up over a moderate energy electron!!!

Believe me - there's natural cosmic radiation raining down on you right now that is
of MUCH greater concern.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

What is ironic is that in the paragraph above mentioning I-129, Art basically said that Pu wouldn't harm you due to it's long halflife.

Art, are you just picking up facts from sources that support the opnion you've already generated? It would be best to do that math yourself, or even just use common sence to try to find out how you get more waste than what is input. If that was really the case, it wouldn't be much help, since the objective to is reduce waste in the first place.

Oh yes, if you eat a banana, you're eating 10 Bq (one decay a second) of K-40 that Morbius mentioned. :rofl:

Morbius
Dearly Missed
Plus of course we can't / won't eat sea food from the irish Sea as it is so heavily polluted with radiation.
Art,

Much of that is IRELAND'S fault:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sellafield

Technetium-99 is a radioactive element which is produced by nuclear fuel reprocessing, and
also as a byproduct of medical facilities (for example Ireland discharges approximately
6.78GBq of Technetium-99 each year despite not having a nuclear industry...

However, to put this in perspective:

In itself, the technetium discharges do not represent a significant radiological hazard, and
recent studies have noted "...that in the most recently reported dose estimates for the
most exposed Sellafield group of seafood consumers (FSA/SEPA 2000), the contributions
from 99Tc and actinide nuclides from Sellafield (<100 µSv) was less than that from 210Po
attributable to discharges from the Whitehaven phosphate processing plant and probably
less than the dose from naturally occurring background levels of 210Po." Because of the
need to comply with OSPAR, British Nuclear Group (the licencing company for Sellafield)
have recently commissioned a new process in which Technetium-99 is removed from the
waste stream and vitrified in glass blocks."

So the Tc discharge wasn't significant, it was BELOW the naturally occuring background
levels of 210Po. In any case, Sellafield is now going to remove the Tc from the waste
instead of discharging it into the sea.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

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Morbius
Dearly Missed
Art, are you just picking up facts from sources that support the opnion you've already generated? It would be best to do that math yourself, or even just use common sence to try to find out how you get more waste than what is input. If that was really the case, it wouldn't be much help, since the objective to is reduce waste in the first place.
Candyman,

I've seen this before so many times. Someone reads the propaganda from some
anti-nuclear website and they get all spun-up.

The problem, as you point out above; is the lack of "critical thinking".

If one reads that more radioactive waste is created than one had at the beginning,
then an inquiring scientific mind would ask "How did that happen?" Then one would
do more research to find out how the authors of the anti-nuclear article came to that
conclusion.

What one finds when one inquires, is that they assume that exposure to ANY form of
radioactivity makes non-radioactive material radioactive. That is just plain flat out
WRONG!!.

It sounds plausible to many people; so they fall for it "hook, line, and sinker" which is
what the anti-nuclear crowd is hoping for. That's why "Physics Forums" does such a
great service. It can serve to debunk this crap; and immunize people from this sort of
"fear-mongering" by the IDIOT anti-nukes.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

russ_watters
Mentor
Ok, I think we've driven this into the ground. I wish I didn't have to lock it, but I think I do.