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Vitrification consists of the mixing of calcined waste with borosilicate glass grit. This is melted in a specialized furnace and cast into a mold. Borosilicate glass is considered a suitable matrix for nuclear waste because the glass has strong interatomic bonding but not a strict atomic structure. Because of this, it is able to contain a variety of different elements. Under running or standing water, radioactive products leak out at a very slow rate. In addition, the glass is resistant to structural damage from radiation.
The design of fast-breeder reactors poses greater safety problems than those of other reactor types. The challenge is to develop a safe fast-breeder reactor that is economically competitive with thermal (slow-neutron) reactors, even when the lower fuel costs are accounted for. Currently the price of natural uranium and enrichment is not high enough to justify the additional costs associated with the use of breeder reactors. Thus, breeder reactors are more complex than other types of reactors and raise concerns about the proliferation of plutonium.