Nuclear Waste Storage Concerns
There are some real concerns about the methods of storage and disposal of nuclear waste, and quite rightly so. Ever wondered what happens to all that radioactive material, read on and find out.
What do you do with your garbage? Do you recycle? Well if you don’t you really ought to, but what about the rest of the garbage, the garbage that can’t be recycled, what about that? Chances are you tie it up in a sack and pop it into the waste disposal chute or the dumpster huh? Yes, I thought as much. But let’s take this one step further, how would you go about trying to dispose of something which ate through the sacks, like acid or some creepy science fiction gooey stuff? How would you get rid of that? Would you put it into a thicker bag or a box, throw it down the chute anyway and hope that by the time it had escaped it would be someone else’s problem?
Funny really, because that’s pretty much what happens to the extremely dangerous radioactive waste material produced by nuclear power plants, except they don’t expect it to escape in the next few hours, days or even months, but they know pretty much full well that it will escape, sometime in the future, and cause massive problems for your children, your grandchildren or your great great great grandchildren. Some inheritance don’t you think? The meek shall inherit the earth, for what it will be worth by then!
Where does nuclear waste come from? Surely nuclear power is clean and environmentally friendly, that’s what some of the scientists say. Think again. Nuclear waste is mostly created in the following ways:
- Spent fuel from the nuclear reactors
- The waste left over from reprocessing of the spent fuel
- The waste remaining after nuclear weapons have been dismantled
- Waste from other sectors, industrial, medical etc
Disposal of Nuclear Waste
So where does it go? Where is all of this potentially dangerous material hiding?
- Under the sea – nuclear waste is placed inside containers made of borosilicate glass, which is said to prevent any nuclear radiation from escaping. This container is then put inside another container, and dumped under the sea. How sure is everybody that there isn’t the danger of some leakage? Not very sure at all. Make sure you count your toes next time you go paddling in the ocean.
- Bury it – similar to the drop it in the sea method, but this time dig a big hole and bury it. Perfect! This method is reliant on the decaying of the radioactive material, so that it will be perfectly safe in a few thousand years. Can’t wait.
- Recycling – this is being investigated now, and certainly sounds more like it, after all recycling is one of the buzz words of our generation. One drawback though, it’s so expensive that the majority of countries just don’t have the facilities to do it.
Scientists have been working on safe methods of disposing nuclear waste for decades, and the simple truth is, nobody yet has come up with the answer. Until there is some guaranteed and safe method of dealing with this radioactive bi-product of nuclear power, then it’s about time the world stopped producing it.