posted on Jan, 5 2013 @ 02:33 AM
Originally posted by twitchy
One of the captions mentions that after the spent fuel rods are submerged in water for a period of time they are transfered to dry storage tanks that
are built to last fifty years... Talk about handing down our problems to our children, hell the half-life of some the crap they are putting in those
containers is in the hundreds of thousands of years. Reminds me of an obscure Rod McKuen poem called 'Before the Monkeys Came" for some reason. But
hey, there's a buck to be made.
Well, it seems to me it's better in a cask somewhere than spread across countryside. Just because the radioactive elements in coal are "natural"
doesn't mean that aren't going to harm your lungs; as a matter of fact they are in the prime condition to do that.
By way of explanation: coal fired plants emit amounts of radioactive materials which would put a nuclear power plant in permanent closure, except that
the emissions are allowed because they are "natural", the natural byproduct of burning the coal that contains them. Of course, the nuclides in the
coal don't know that.
But you're talking about waste. What is it? Well, they make fuel pellets out of a combination of uraniums (and sometimes part plutonium) called
low-level enriched. These pellets are 100% fuel, perfectly fissionable all the way to the end. However, when they are burned in a power plant, the
breakdown products of their use build up in the pellets, and when only 1% of the fuel is burned, the pellets are retired because their own waste
products poison the reaction. They could be recycled to remove the fission products, and allow the next 1% to be used, but it has proven up to this
time to be cheaper to dump the old and manufacture completely new fuel. Doesn't sound too efficient, does it?
Eventually that remaining fuel is going to be valuable. There are new reactor technologies which will allow the wastes to be removed continuously,
allowing the fuel to be burned completely, including all that which is sitting in those casks. Your children will bless you, I think.
I've got three books of McKuen's poetry on the wall. I especially like Stanyan Street and Other Sorrows.