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Nuclear Waste and how (I think) we should dispose of it

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posted on Jun, 16 2012 @ 02:45 AM
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I think I have asked this same question my entire life. In the early 1970s this fellow with a strange suit came into the classroom (5th grade). He told us about the wonders of Nuclear Energy and all the kids got a "sample" fuel rod (just a piece of carbon/Inert) pasted on a printed cardboard backing, sort of glamourizing it I guess (the best I can imagine as it had some positive write-up).

Nuclear never sat well with me and I have often thought of the Sun. All the resources fighting one another there is no reason we cannot be Interstellar. Seriously, we all know that! We could already have BFI Waste Management in place taking runs to the Sun!

Oh well, what can we do?

I have a feeling deep in the pit of my being. It is like a thought but not really something that is actively sought in my reasoning process. I imagine whole-heartedly that a sound wave of sorts will dispel radiation, release itself so to speak, like to accelerate the decay rate. I don't know if that is even possible but it just passes my mind from time to time. As if it were a vibration that we haven't yet understood.

Who knows? Maybe it is my mind's way of laying out an option when there is none?

edit on 6/16/2012 by Greensage because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 16 2012 @ 04:20 AM
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Originally posted by SibylofErythrae
The original concept is expensive, and then quickly diminishes in expense to much more reasonable costs after the development phase.



You do realize the act of launching things into space is well past the development phase?We have been launching people and goods into space for decades now, and the cost has NOT gone down. The cost of fuel to escape Earth's gravity, and the cost of exotic materials to build space craft keep going UP, not down.

So there is zero truth to your idea that launching nuclear waste into space will get cheaper after awhile. If there was, then space travel in general would have already become very cheap.

Unless you are talking about a time scale in the hundreds and hundreds of years. If this is the case, it still won't matter, as nuclear power companies can't run at a HUGE loss for 300 years in the hopes that it eventually will be cheap enough to NOT loose trillions of dollars launching all their waste into space.



posted on Jun, 16 2012 @ 07:21 AM
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reply to post by phishfriar47
 


1) cost

2) Risk

3) pollution

Why do people always go for the complicated and fantastical when the simple solution is right in front of them?

STOP building nuclear reactors!!

Peace



posted on Jun, 16 2012 @ 08:03 AM
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We have always had the answer, but then we can't make bombs. Article entitled Busted. Interview of a nuclear engineer Nuclear LOOP closed!
quote from the article.

The following is what he said in the interview I started in the American nuclear program all the way back at the time of the Manhattan project, and have been involved in reactor design and nuclear engineering my whole life. There was one answer we all searched for, and it was how to close the nuclear loop. When a reactor such as a boiling water reactor uses fuel, the waste products, which are highly radioactive isotopes that have a different fission characteristic than the fuel, build up in the fuel and poison the nuclear reaction. A reactor such as a boiling water reactor can only use the fuel until it gets contaminated by these isotopes enough to change the nature of the nuclear reactions taking place. The reaction environment inside a boiling water reactor is only one such environment that will work to trigger a chain reaction, and if that spent fuel is put into a reactor made from different materials, those materials can favor the burning of the poisonous isotopes, and use the isotopes as fuel until the fuel is purified of them, and therefore had it's original radiological characteristics restored. Once that is accomplished, the fuel can go back into the boiling water reactor, and used as new. We perfected the second reactor design, which used liquid sodium as a coolant, and the reactor ran much hotter - 1100 farenheit as opposed to 550 in a boiling water reactor. The liquid sodium circulated inside the reactor in lieu of water, with the heat of the reaction being removed from the system by a heat exchanger which boiled the water outside the reactor for use in producing electricity. The temperature difference and coolant characteristics facilitated the burning of the isotopes, and you got to use both sides of the reaction - one side produced electricity while poisoning the fuel, and the other side produced electricity while burning the poisons out. This process can be repeated 20 times, and when it is finished the fuel is DEAD and no longer hazardous because all of it's radiological potential has been used up. It was a dream come true, and Carter banned it by executive order! He specifically stated that the burn down was so complete that the spent fuel was safe to handle directly with bare hands, and needed no special care or maintenance at all. He then went on to lament about what a waste of money it was, because the fuel is expensive, and they were only using it to about five percent of its total potential. He lamented the fact that his life's greatest accomplishment got banned for no good reason, and it was a tremendous waste of money to not use the technology his team developed. Electricity would have been cheap. REAL CHEAP. So cheap that homes would not have been heated with oil or natural gas, electricity would have been the only sensible choice. Furthermore, with a reduction in the price of electricity by at least 10X, electric cars would have been a no brainer.
See the link. JIM Stones comment further in the article.

Here is my take, and it has NOTHING to do with price, preservation of resources, or free energy. Nuclear reactors are HUGE. They have an enormous amount of nuclear material in them. One boiling water reactor core the size of the ones at Fukushima can easily hold enough fissionable material to make countless atomic bombs. And with the technology that makes re-using that fuel illegal, it builds up at a rate of 25 tons per gigawatt YEAR. This means that even small facilities like Fort Calhoun have approximately a million pounds of highly radioactive "poisoned" fuel sitting in their pools waiting for the right combination of problems to cause a disaster. When GE and others designed the nuclear facilities both here and abroad, they had calculated that they would indeed succeed in closing the nuclear loop. So they designed the nuclear facilities with approximately a 20X safety margin in the fuel pools, because they did not have a clear date on when the technology would be perfected. It was my impression from this engineer that they got it sooner than expected. So fortunately the fuel pools were over built. But they were never built to withstand the fuel burdens that would result from a political decision to destroy the technology altogether. So now, 40 years down the road, we have fuel pools around the country that are so full that they have exceeded even the extremely generous safety margins they were originally designed to have, and even modest pools often have over 400 tons of highly active isotope ridden "spent" fuel in them.
See the link.



posted on Jun, 16 2012 @ 09:40 AM
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I've quoted this a few times now and it seems quite appropriate here:


Dumb idea #2: Send the nuke waste into space! Yeeehaw, let aliens deal with it.

Do you have any idea how much nuke fuel weighs? 1(ONE) typical spent fuel cask weighs 151tonnes. Do you know what kinda ummmmmph (thrust) you need to send 151 tons into space? The more weight you are sending up the more fuel you need to send it up, the more fuel you are carrying the more weight you have. At a certain point, you reach negative returns... you can't carry enough fuel to reach escape velocity. For comparison, the usual max payload for the space shuttle including crew and toothpaste was about 23 tonnes. Now look at this little fact:


With 134 missions, and the total cost of US$192 billion (in 2010 dollars), this gives approximately $1.5 billion per launch over the life of the program.


Now that includes Nasa's buildings, paperclips and janitors, but most of the cost of a launch is the fuel. FUEL. Now, given your payload, assuming you could even reach escape velocity, which you couldn't, you would need approx 8x the thrust/cost etc. Now, that's just for ONE CASK. 12 billion $$ for one cask. Annnd.... what if the space vehicle does a Columbia on it's way up?....Hmmm. Wa Wa Wa... flush.

We need to get beyond dumping our problems on future generations and think of energy sources that are sustainable.

Source


As another poster pointed out, the cost of launches has not gotten cheaper and unless TPTB let free some of their antigravity tech, shooting it off planet is not economically feasible.

Thorium reactors could get rid of the waste, but as yet another poster pointed out, there wouldn't be any bomb material then. Not to mention you'd have to go find all of the waste which has been buried and forgotten over the decades.

Technologies which produce wastes that are hazardous to deal with do not include the cost of waste disposal in their operating expenditures, this is the only reason nuclear is seen as economically viable. There is no way people would consider it "cheap" if you had to figure in the cost of managing waste products which are dangerous for periods of time that are longer than acknowledged human history.


 


Sorry, forgot to credit original poster:

Wertwog's post on page 1108 of the mega monster Fukushima thread
edit on 16-6-2012 by jadedANDcynical because: Where it's due



posted on Jun, 16 2012 @ 09:51 AM
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Things get cheaper when you have more of them. Thats what I am saying. We have more reactors, putting out double what the world can consume in a single day, everyday, or something like that. So then FUEL becomes cheap because we are using it *only* for traveling instead of burning it all for energy, plus less pollution due to burning fossil fuels. I get the thrust part out of the atmosphere, but like i said what if we sent it up to store in a space station until ready to launch into Mercury (since we dont want to mess up the Sun even though I doubt we could) Plus stop thinking in single, linear terms. Sure its expensive if its just nuclear waste we are doing, but what about the building on the moon for bases, if we use the original idea, recreational space flight by the same types of vehicles so cost is reduced by mass producing and commercial flights. Things like that. Or how about sending multiple non recyclable items up at once. CLEAN UP THE ISLAND OF TRASH IN THE PACIFC. I mean the sun is a huge incinerator that we could be using. And so what if us messing with Sun screws up Earth, half the people are actually waiting for a doomsday to happen, and the other half realize its a possibility anyway and if the Sun so much as farts wrong we can be messed up not to mention asteroids.

I would much rather take my chances on this stuff being off our planet. Send it to mars and just drop it off or something, idc, just lets get it off this planet, lets humanity get off this planet, and lets start fixing some real problems



posted on Jun, 16 2012 @ 12:05 PM
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reply to post by James1982
 


Why yes, the space race is not following the same trend as ANY other technology.

How interesting is that? Truly, fascinating that only one niche seems to be completely at odds with every example.

Are you pondering what I'm pondering Pinky?



posted on Jun, 16 2012 @ 01:04 PM
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Originally posted by SibylofErythrae
reply to post by James1982
 



In the meantime, I'd like to see this industry consider sub sea drilling into subduction zones with deviation drilling and then injecting the nuclear cores into the subduction zone. With a long term goal to launch them towards the Sun.



i'd agree on the condition that intense studies be carried out to assess whether the existing seabed black smokers are radioactive and to what degree along with consideration on past subduction processes and possible hot spot locations of radioactivity.

as core and mantle have radioactivity, wouldn't it be safer to somehow inject the core and allow dilution. getting it there may prove tricky however.

f.



posted on Jun, 16 2012 @ 05:27 PM
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If the cores go deep into a subduction zone, and far enough down to not allow escaping radiation it probably isn't necessary to inject them into the mantle. They'll eventually end up in the mantle via subduction.

The seabed being thinner and drilling into the subducting formations would allow for slow the metals to depleat in a safe place and slowly move into the mantle.

As far as I know there isn't a safe way to drill into the mantle and then seal it. While the plate moving over the other in a subduction zone is a natural cap.



posted on Jun, 17 2012 @ 05:55 AM
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reply to post by SibylofErythrae
 


it has merit indeed.

initially i was researching of an easier way via volcanic thermal cycle. ie. a magma field will have a process of heat rising to the top and cooler material sinking. i would think a lot of geologists would wretch at the idea especially the uncertain nature and volativity if it decided to erupt, well it would be akin to another fuku!

f.



posted on Jun, 17 2012 @ 03:03 PM
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reply to post by phishfriar47
 


Or just ship it off into interstellar space, like we do with all of our deep space probes, why keep it on the moon? The moon is a few million miles away, but if ALL our nuclear waste were to somehow meltdown, or decay, it would ruin the moon, and why would we wanna do that?

I say we either launch it out into deep space, or into the sun, now that would be a jolly good show, chaps



posted on Jun, 17 2012 @ 03:06 PM
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reply to post by SibylofErythrae
 


Or we could just dump all our nuclear waste into volcanoes?


The rods cant stand up to that kind of heat for long, they would surely melt, and just become part of the volcanic soup, like everything else the magma touches.



posted on Jun, 17 2012 @ 03:50 PM
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reply to post by 8fl0z
 


Where does that magma go though? and what if the heat didnt neutralize it. I really like the sun idea as thats probably the hottest thing we know of right now close by. Plus once its out of our atmosphere it shouldnt be much of a concern. For one if something did happen and the shuttle exploded full of waste, it would have to have a force to bring it back down on earth, it will get diluted from all the extra 'air' in space, or 'space' in space, and it will have to reenter through the atmosphere which already does a bang-up job at protecting us from radiation and such.


To the poster who mentioned something about the moon and not wanting to have a moon full of waste cause a disaster here. Imagine what it would take to release ALL of the stored waste on the moon, it would conceivably have to be a VERY large impact, and if thats the case, what would the result be with or without nuclear waste on the moon. Im pretty sure we would be screwed either way if the moon physically got disrupted. I mean there would go our tides automatically, among a host of other issues.

Again, the benefits of taking it to the moon and beyond completely out weigh ANY negatives. Lets say a shuttle did have an accident during the process, but at least we made a move to ensure our survival in the even of something like that happening. People on earth are doomed one way or another. That is a fact. An asteroid will kill us all, a massive sun fart could do us in, or if we last long enough the sun could burn out of fuel, so at some point we need to address that issue, and getting the hell off this planet is Priority #1 when it comes to our survival. At least we can start heading in that direction under the guise of getting stuff to the moon. Like i said, too many benefits to not be doing this



posted on Jun, 17 2012 @ 03:53 PM
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dump it in the grand canyon

so long as ted turner doesnt kill you



posted on Jun, 19 2012 @ 03:18 PM
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Originally posted by jiggerj

Originally posted by phroziac
Not the moon. Just send it into the sun. Lets keep the moon safe.


nnnnNOOOOOOO! Thou shalt NOT mess with the sun!

Besides, anything we send to the sun wouldn't reach it. The containers would melt and the radiation would come back at us in the solar winds and flares.

Also, how many spent fuel rods would you shoot into space at one time - a ton worth, five tones? And what if that ship or missile broke up before leaving our atmosphere? Where would the spent fuel rods land? In the OCEAN! No thank you.


The sun is already incredibly radioactive, its not killing us......?



posted on Jun, 19 2012 @ 03:27 PM
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Originally posted by phishfriar47
reply to post by 8fl0z
 


Where does that magma go though? and what if the heat didnt neutralize it. I really like the sun idea as thats probably the hottest thing we know of right now close by. Plus once its out of our atmosphere it shouldnt be much of a concern. For one if something did happen and the shuttle exploded full of waste, it would have to have a force to bring it back down on earth, it will get diluted from all the extra 'air' in space, or 'space' in space, and it will have to reenter through the atmosphere which already does a bang-up job at protecting us from radiation and such.


To the poster who mentioned something about the moon and not wanting to have a moon full of waste cause a disaster here. Imagine what it would take to release ALL of the stored waste on the moon, it would conceivably have to be a VERY large impact, and if thats the case, what would the result be with or without nuclear waste on the moon. Im pretty sure we would be screwed either way if the moon physically got disrupted. I mean there would go our tides automatically, among a host of other issues.

Again, the benefits of taking it to the moon and beyond completely out weigh ANY negatives. Lets say a shuttle did have an accident during the process, but at least we made a move to ensure our survival in the even of something like that happening. People on earth are doomed one way or another. That is a fact. An asteroid will kill us all, a massive sun fart could do us in, or if we last long enough the sun could burn out of fuel, so at some point we need to address that issue, and getting the hell off this planet is Priority #1 when it comes to our survival. At least we can start heading in that direction under the guise of getting stuff to the moon. Like i said, too many benefits to not be doing this


Thats not what i said about the moon. I just think it ought to be somewhere safe for people to travel to, thats all.



posted on Jun, 19 2012 @ 03:35 PM
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Originally posted by phroziac

Originally posted by jiggerj

Originally posted by phroziac
Not the moon. Just send it into the sun. Lets keep the moon safe.


nnnnNOOOOOOO! Thou shalt NOT mess with the sun!

Besides, anything we send to the sun wouldn't reach it. The containers would melt and the radiation would come back at us in the solar winds and flares.

Also, how many spent fuel rods would you shoot into space at one time - a ton worth, five tones? And what if that ship or missile broke up before leaving our atmosphere? Where would the spent fuel rods land? In the OCEAN! No thank you.


The sun is already incredibly radioactive, its not killing us......?


I stand by this statement: Besides, anything we send to the sun wouldn't reach it. The containers would melt and the radiation would come back at us in the solar winds and flares.



posted on Jun, 19 2012 @ 07:10 PM
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Originally posted by 8fl0z
reply to post by SibylofErythrae
 


Or we could just dump all our nuclear waste into volcanoes?


The rods cant stand up to that kind of heat for long, they would surely melt, and just become part of the volcanic soup, like everything else the magma touches.


But not necessarily recirculate back into the mantle.

Volcano goes boom brings a whole new meaning to radioactive fallout.



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