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Drilling deep under the US to dispose of nuclear waste

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posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 03:42 AM
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What is being proposed is not another Yucca mountain-style set of tunnels in an even more remote location, but hundreds of boreholes that could be spread nationwide, where waste would be sealed several kilometres down in impermeable rock. The approach was discussed by the world's leading experts on deep borehole repositories at a brainstorming meeting in Washington DC on 15 March. The meeting was organised by geochemist Patrick Brady of Sandia National Laboratories and was sponsored by Sandia and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Does this sound like it could be something that we look back on a few centuires from now and say, "Damn, I wish we hadn't done that."? To me it really does. I'm not one to get freaked out by humans footprint on earth, as I believe the earth is much stronger than some give it credit for, but come on!




posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 04:45 AM
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Out of sight, out of mind. That's all what this is.

And they try to promote nuclear as "green energy"?



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 04:51 AM
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Look at this way, at least you know where it is
most other countries like to dump it else where, like the ocean


wally



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 04:53 AM
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Yeah well nuclear energy is the "greenest" way yet to produce high quantities of energy, but sure, there are safety issues and the byproducts (the waste) is a far greater danger than the plant itself. I'm all for shooting the waste into space, preferably out of this solar system, but digging it underground is the worst idea and sure won't help the planet and us in the long-term.



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 05:07 AM
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Why not put the nuclear waste into a rocket and fire at the sun? It's not like it would make any difference to the sun.. would it?

They'd just have to place the waste is inside a suitable container, just incase the rocket fails.


I wonder what sun spots really are



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 05:14 AM
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Originally posted by Major Error
Why not put the nuclear waste into a rocket and fire at the sun? It's not like it would make any difference to the sun.. would it?

They'd just have to place the waste is inside a suitable container, just incase the rocket fails.


I wonder what sun spots really are



lol... I can just see it now. The radio active content of the sixth rocket sent finally offsets the fusion balance of the star and it goes nova - wiping out the Earth's atmosphere and destroying all life on it's surface...



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 05:23 AM
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reply to post by DarkspARCS
 


Haha, yeah didn't think of that one, maybe it'd have the same affect as a uranium atom when a smaller radium atom is added
On a much bigger scale tho obviously.



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 05:32 AM
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What can they really do with it??

Hope they dont drill down into this,

The Great Abyss

One and many would be a dogs breakfast....



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 06:08 AM
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Originally posted by DarkspARCS

Originally posted by Major Error
Why not put the nuclear waste into a rocket and fire at the sun? It's not like it would make any difference to the sun.. would it?

They'd just have to place the waste is inside a suitable container, just incase the rocket fails.


I wonder what sun spots really are



lol... I can just see it now. The radio active content of the sixth rocket sent finally offsets the fusion balance of the star and it goes nova - wiping out the Earth's atmosphere and destroying all life on it's surface...



Oh that would be a fine place, actually. I was going to suggest it until you did. It won't affect the fusion balance in the slightest. It will pool into the core and stay there for a long time. As a matter of fact, it will sustain it, though only for a few fleeting moments. This is because in five billion years, when our sun exhausts its supply of hydrogen, it will start to burn the helium. Then when the helium runs out, it will start burning carbon, and so on and so forth until it gets to the heaviest elements. At this point, the spent fuel will be used (again, though in a fusion process instead of fission, which created it).

However I still think we should work on nuclear transmutation. It would require enormous amounts of energy, but the end result would be a completely neutralized material. I just found a nifty research paper going into detail about this, here is a direct link to the PDF if anyone's interested.



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 06:20 AM
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Originally posted by scubagravy
What can they really do with it??

Hope they dont drill down into this,

The Great Abyss

One and many would be a dogs breakfast....


Geez, have they not heard of Benefil before?



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 06:21 AM
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Oh this has bad idea written all over it.

www.mapsofworld.com...

www.mapsofworld.com...

www.mapsofworld.com...

www.energy-market-research.info...

missivesfrommarx.files.wordpress.com...


Too many good things come from out of the earth and below the surface.



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 07:22 AM
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Originally posted by Major Error
Why not put the nuclear waste into a rocket and fire at the sun? It's not like it would make any difference to the sun.. would it?


It's very very heavy and there is lots of it.

It's a nice idea, but think how much damage we do to the environment each time we launch a couple of tonnes of space station bits and a few astronaut's into orbit! To send it into the sun with current technology (chemical based rockets right now) is simply not practical....... Also there is the very real possibility that should the human race decide to launch 100's? 1,000's? of these disposal launches that one or two may fail catastrophically (explosively) in our atmosphere!
- Now that would be a dirty bomb on a global scale, all because an O ring failed...

No, not a practical solution right now. Say maybe when we have space elevators then maybe, slowly and safely up out of the atmosphere, then strap on rockets and send bye bye.


but hundreds of boreholes that could be spread nationwide, where waste would be sealed several kilometres down in impermeable rock.
(from the link)

See I know pretty much nothing about this sort of thing but something did pop into my head while thinking about 'impermeable rock'..... I am picturing in my mind the subterranean nuke tests they do, I seem to remember (and I believe) the reason they are safe is because of the blast shocking the rock into, well probably an increased density for a distance around the explosion.....

Now thinking of the top of my head - why not make the 'impermeable rock' more impermeable by shocking it in a similar way... Well actually exactly the same way!..... hang on, think about it.... You drill down your 1,000's of meters, deep as you like, then before you pop you waste down there, you put a small tactical nuke (of which there are already too many just ready to go - we can all agree on that)..... Just pop one down the hole, seal it up, blow the nuke just like they have done many times for tests and now you have super 'impermeable rock'?

Does that make sense? Now you can just re drill back into this chamber and then deposit you waste in what would now be an even bigger man made cavern with better impermeable-ability (whatever that is) than nature provided in the first place.

- - - Allow me to edit this at least once before criticism
- - -

yeah go criticise


[edit on 8/4/2010 by Now_Then]



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 07:38 AM
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reply to post by Now_Then
 


Wow, I never knew it was so heavy and so much of it, for some reason I just imagined it to be tiny amounts, don't know why.



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 07:54 AM
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This is a great idea....lets put the nuclear waste all over the country in holes!

I can see right now that as a result we will wake up one day and have a Zombie invasion because of this brilliant idea!



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 07:59 AM
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reply to post by Major Error
 


lol - Take Uranium, it's a tiny bit lighter than solid Gold -- (Gold 19.3 g/cubic centimetre, Uranium 19.1 g/cubic centimetre).

Weapons grade Uranium 235, you need a very minimum of 52kg's (from wiki, not the best source I suspect, but fine here) for a nuke weapon.

So what with all of this waste, you have power stations and other nuke power plants (aircraft carriers, subs, remote installations), you have all the research facilities using the stuff as well, you have commercial sale of the stuff (just smoke alarms for a start) then things like x-ray machines in hospitals and for industry, gawd know what else..... Oh yhea forgot to mention the 10's of thousands of nuke weapons that will one day need to be disposed of, and probably some of them replaced...

Simply put it's all very dense material, it's radioactive by it's very nature and will remain so for a very long time we have a heap of crap on our hands.

[edit on 8/4/2010 by Now_Then]



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 08:06 AM
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I say we go with it and bore 10 holes in every state. The lawyers will eventually stop it but in the mean time it'll create tens of thousands of good paying government jobs just like Yucca Mtn. I met people that retired from Yucca and laugh all the way to the bank



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 01:16 PM
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Originally posted by NuclearPaul
Out of sight, out of mind. That's all what this is.

And they try to promote nuclear as "green energy"?



I agree. I guess the irony just doesnt bother them. Lets all promote green energy to save the planet, and try disarming the world of its nukes because they are dangerous to the earth and its residents.............and then go dump nuclear waste in holes across the country! Oh well, we didnt hire these guys cause their smart.........



As another poster said, maybe this will someday contribute to an outbreak of zombies, but more likely the barrels will leak and we'll have an environmental catastrophe on our hands unlike anything the world has ever seen. I think this is a horrible idea!



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 02:07 PM
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Originally posted by NuclearPaul
Out of sight, out of mind. That's all what this is.

And they try to promote nuclear as "green energy"?

OH NOEZ. Material being stored kilometres under the ground in an extremely geologically stable, safe, inaccessible, place in COMPLETE isolation from both the natural environment and the synthetic environment, that cannot even be seen will just OBVIOUSLY, give your children CANCER and DESTROY the poor environment.


[edit on 8/4/2010 by C0bzz]



posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 03:41 PM
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Originally posted by C0bzz

Originally posted by NuclearPaul
Out of sight, out of mind. That's all what this is.

And they try to promote nuclear as "green energy"?

OH NOEZ. Material being stored kilometres under the ground in an extremely geologically stable, safe, inaccessible, place in COMPLETE isolation from both the natural environment and the synthetic environment, that cannot even be seen will just OBVIOUSLY, give your children CANCER and DESTROY the poor environment.


[edit on 8/4/2010 by C0bzz]


You think this sounds like a good idea? Storing nuclear waste in the ground under the US? Even if it is in impermeable substratum, I dont believe that our understanding of nuclear waste or the consequences of storing it underground is to a point where we should be dealing with it in this way. I didnt see anyone say anything about any children getting cancer, but there is an underlying moral issue when considering doing this. There has to be a way to dispose of or store this material without potentially harming our planet in my opinion. I think there needs to be a bunch of years of research into other plausible solutions before going ahead with this plan.



posted on Apr, 9 2010 @ 03:19 AM
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You think this sounds like a good idea? Storing nuclear waste in the ground under the US?


Yucca mountain was abandoned because people deemed it was not good enough. So Obama created a commission aimed at determining what exactly should be done with spent nuclear waste - they will research all possible ways to dispose of nuclear waste. These likely include repositories like boreholes or salt caverns, reprocessing, and fast reactors. Do I think this approach is the best? I like the idea of recycling in fast reactors personally, current reactors are inefficient in that they only use about 5% of the energy in the fuel leaving us with long lived waste. Fast reactors can burn that down which will not only eliminate the waste problem but can supply us with vast amounts of electricity when doing it. Of course, these reactors have to be developed, so it might be more feasible to put it into the ground. If that ends up being that case then yes this approach sounds like a very good idea.


The borehole approach would adapt technology already used by the oil and gas industry, to drill holes roughly half a metre in diameter and 5 kilometres deep. Repositories could be at any location where the bore would penetrate 3 kilometres or more into hard, crystalline basement rock (see map) - meaning most of the US and over a third of the UK would be suitable. Canisters of spent fuel lowered into the borehole would end up stacked one on top of the other, filling the bottom 2 kilometres. This stack would then be sealed in place with a cap of clay, asphalt and concrete.

Deep boreholes offer distinct advantages over mined repositories such as Yucca mountain, which would have been about 300 metres below ground. In addition to the physical barrier offered by kilometres of rock, deep boreholes ensure that waste is unlikely to seep to the surface in groundwater. Water found below 2 kilometres or so is highly saline, and therefore far heavier than water closer to the surface. As a result, water at depth - and any radioactive material it could transport - stays at depth. Samples so far taken from basement rock show that water has been stagnating there for hundreds of thousands of years or more.

www.newscientist.com...


Safe, secure. My only concern is that we won't be able to recover this material in the future if we bury it 5 kilometers deep, in effect it is too secure. To get one gigawatt-year from a fast reactor it must be supplied with 1 metric ton of waste per year, you could supply all electrical power in the United States for over 110 years using the current amount of nuclear 'waste' - 750 more years if you count all the Depleted Uranium discarded after enrichment. 3000 years if I count total world stock of DU that has already been mined.


Even if it is in impermeable substratum, I dont believe that our understanding of nuclear waste or the consequences of storing it underground is to a point where we should be dealing with it in this way.

Why?


I didnt see anyone say anything about any children getting cancer, but there is an underlying moral issue when considering doing this.

Which is?


There has to be a way to dispose of or store this material without potentially harming our planet in my opinion. I think there needs to be a bunch of years of research into other plausible solutions before going ahead with this plan.

And that's what they're doing.


As another poster said, maybe this will someday contribute to an outbreak of zombies, but more likely the barrels will leak and we'll have an environmental catastrophe on our hands unlike anything the world has ever seen. I think this is a horrible idea!

I don't think you understand. This isn't something like Love Canal where they just loaded waste into a bunch of leaky barrels and dumped it by the truckloads into a big ditch. This is not an engineered solution it's a geological one so it really doesn't matter if the containments leak or if there is an earthquake. It's 5 kilometers deep, and 3 kilometers into impermeable rock that itself has been stable for hundreds of thousands of years.

[edit on 9/4/2010 by C0bzz]



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