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Encyclopedia > Radioactive waste


'Radioactive wastes are waste types containing radioactive chemical elements that do not have a practical purpose. They are sometimes the products of a nuclear processes, such as nuclear fission. However, other industries not directly connected to the nuclear industry can produce large quantities of radioactive waste. For instance, over the past 20 years it is estimated that just the oil-producing endeavors of the US have accumulated 8 million tons of radioactive wastes.[1] The majority of radioactive waste is "low-level waste", meaning it has low levels of radioactivity per mass or volume. This type of waste often consists of used protective clothing, which is only slightly contaminated but still dangerous in case of radioactive contamination of a human body through ingestion, inhalation, absorption, or injection. There are many different waste types or waste streams which are produced by a variety of processes. ... Radioactive decay is the process in which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by emitting radiation in the form of particles or electromagnetic waves. ... The periodic table of the chemical elements A chemical element, or element, is a type of atom that is defined by its atomic number; that is, by the number of protons in its nucleus. ... For the generation of electrical power by fission, see Nuclear power plant. ... Low-level waste (LLW) is a term used to describe nuclear waste that does not fit into the categorical definitions for high-level waste (HLW), spent nuclear fuel (SNF), transuranic waste (TRU), or certain byproduct materials known as 11e(2) wastes, such as uranium mill tailings. ... For other uses, see Mass (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Volume (disambiguation). ... The radiation warning symbol (trefoil). ... In general terms, eating (formally, ingestion) is the process of consuming something edible, i. ... Absorption is a route by which substances can enter the body through the skin. ... An injection is a method of putting liquid into the body with a hollow needle and a syringe which is pierced through the skin to a sufficient depth for the material to be forced into the body. ...


In the United States alone, the Department of Energy states that there are "millions of gallons of radioactive waste" as well as "thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel and material" and also "huge quantities of contaminated soil and water".[2] Despite these copious quantities of waste, the DOE has a goal of cleaning all presently contaminated sites successfully by 2025.[2] The Fernald, Ohio site for example had "31 million pounds of uranium product", "2.5 billion pounds of waste", "2.75 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris", and a "223 acre portion of the underlying Great Miami Aquifer had uranium levels above drinking standards".[2] The United States currently has at least 108 sites it currently designates as areas that are contaminated and unusable, sometimes many thousands of acres[3][2] The DOE wishes to try and clean or mitigate many or all by 2025, however the task can be difficult and it acknowledges that some will never be completely remediated, and just in one of these 108 larger designations, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, there were for example at least "167 known contaminant release sites" in one of the three subdivisions of the 37,000-acre (150 km²) site.[2] Some of the U.S. sites were smaller in nature, however, and cleanup issues were simpler to address, and the DOE has successfully completed cleanup, or at least closure, of several sites.[2] The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government responsible for energy policy and nuclear safety. ... Spent nuclear fuel, occasionally called used nuclear fuel, is nuclear fuel that has been irradiated in a nuclear reactor (usually at a nuclear power plant) to the point where it is no longer useful in sustaining a nuclear reaction. ... Fernald is a site located in Hamilton County, Ohio, which processed most of the uranium used to make nuclear weapons in the United States. ... A combination of federal, state and private funds is providing $300 million for the construction of 13 facilities on ORNLs new main campus. ... An acre is the name of a unit of area in a number of different systems, including Imperial units and United States customary units. ... Square kilometre (U.S. spelling: square kilometer), symbol km², is a decimal multiple of SI unit of surface area square metre, one of the SI derived units. ...


The issue of disposal methods for nuclear waste was one of the most pressing current problems the international nuclear industry faced when trying to establish a long term energy production plan, yet there was hope it could be safely solved. In the U.S., the DOE acknowledged much progress in addressing the waste problems of the industry, and successful remediation of some contaminated sites, yet also major uncertainties and sometimes complications and setbacks in handling the issue properly, cost effectively, and in the projected time frame.[2] In other countries with lower ability or will to maintain environmental integrity the issue would be more problematic.

Contents

The nature and significance of radioactive waste

Radioactive waste typically comprises a number of radioisotopes: unstable configurations of elements that decay, emitting ionizing radiation which can be harmful to human health and to the environment. Those isotopes emit different types and levels of radiation, which last for different periods of time. A radionuclide is an atom with an unstable nucleus. ... Radioactive decay is the process in which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by emitting radiation in the form of particles or electromagnetic waves. ... Radiation hazard symbol. ...


Physics

Medium-lived
fission products
t½(y) Yield% KeV β
155Eu 4.76 .0330 252 γ
85Kr 10.76 .2717 687 γ
113mCd 14.1 .0003 316
90Sr 28.9 5.7518 2826 β
137Cs 30.23 6.0899 1176 γ
121mSn 43.9 .00003 390 γ
151Sm 90 .4203 77
Long-lived
fission products
t½(my) Yield% KeV β
99Tc .211 6.0507 294
126Sn .230 .0236 4050 γ
79Se .295 .0508 151
93Zr 1.53 6.2956 91 γ
135Cs 2.3  6.3333 269
107Pd 6.5  .1629 33
129I 15.7  .6576 194 γ

The radioactivity of all nuclear waste diminishes with time. All radioisotopes contained in the waste have a half-life - the time it takes for any radionuclide to lose half of its radioactivity and eventually all radioactive waste decays into non-radioactive elements. Certain radioactive elements (such as plutonium-239) in “spent” fuel will remain hazardous to humans and other living beings for hundreds of thousands of years. Other radioisotopes will remain hazardous for millions of years. Thus, these wastes must be shielded for centuries and isolated from the living environment for hundreds of millennia.[4] Some elements, such as Iodine-131, have a short half-life (around 8 days in this case) and thus they will cease to be a problem much more quickly than other, longer-lived, decay products but their activity is much greater initially. The two tables show some of the major radioisotopes, their half-lives, and their radiation yield as a proportion of the yield of fission of Uranium-235. Fission products are the residues of fission processes. ... Half-Life For a quantity subject to exponential decay, the half-life is the time required for the quantity to fall to half of its initial value. ... A year is the time between two recurrences of an event related to the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... The decay energy is the energy released by a nuclear decay. ... Europium-155 is a radioisotope and fission product with a halflife of 4. ... Krypton 85 (85Kr) is a radioisotope of krypton. ... Cadmium-113m is a radioisotope and nuclear isomer with a halflife of 14. ... Strontium-90 (90Sr) is a radioactive isotope of strontium, with a half life of 28. ... Caesium-137 is a radioactive isotope which is formed mianly by nuclear fission (half life is about 27 years). ... Tin-121m is a radioisotope and nuclear isomer with a halflife of 43. ... 151Sm is an radioisotope of samarium with a halflife of 90 years, decaying with low-energy beta emission, and a fission product yield of 0. ... Fission products are the residues of fission processes. ... Half-Life For a quantity subject to exponential decay, the half-life is the time required for the quantity to fall to half of its initial value. ... Annum is a Latin noun meaning year. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... The decay energy is the energy released by a nuclear decay. ... General Name, Symbol, Number technetium, Tc, 43 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 7, 5, d Appearance silvery gray metal Atomic mass (98) g/mol Electron configuration [Kr] 4d5 5s2 Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 13, 2 Physical properties Phase solid Density (near r. ... Tin-126 is a radioisotope with a halflife of 230,000 years and is one of only 7 long-lived fission products. ... 79Se is a radioisotope of selenium present in spent nuclear fuel and the wastes resulting from reprocessing this fuel. ... 93Zr is a radioisotope of zirconium with a half life of 1. ... Caesium-135 has a half-life of 2. ... Palladium-107 is a fission product with a halflife of 6. ... Iodine-129 (129I) is a radioisotope of iodine, which decays with a half-life of 16. ... Half-Life For a quantity subject to exponential decay, the half-life is the time required for the quantity to fall to half of its initial value. ... Iodine-131 (131I), also called radioiodine, is a radioisotope of iodine which has medical and pharmaceutical uses. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ...


The faster a radioisotope decays, the more radioactive it will be. The energy and the type of the ionizing radiation emitted by a pure radioactive substance are important factors in deciding how dangerous it will be. The chemical properties of the radioactive element will determine how mobile the substance is and how likely it is to spread into the environment and contaminate human bodies. This is further complicated by the fact that many radioisotopes do not decay immediately to a stable state but rather to a radioactive decay product leading to decay chains. A radionuclide is an atom with an unstable nucleus. ... Radiation hazard symbol. ... The periodic table of the chemical elements A chemical element, or element, is a type of atom that is defined by its atomic number; that is, by the number of protons in its nucleus. ... In nuclear physics, a decay product, also known as a daughter product, is a nuclide resulting from the radioactive decay of a parent or precursor nuclide. ... Nearly all the decay products of radioactive decay are themselves radioactive. ...


Chemistry

The chemical properties of the radioactive substance and the other substances found within (and near) the waste store has a great effect upon the ability of the waste to cause harm to humans or other organisms. For instance TcO4- tends to adsorb on the surfaces of steel objects which reduces its ability to move out of the waste store in water. The pertechnetate ion is TcO4−. A pertechnetate is a compound containing this ion. ... Adsorption is a process that occurs when a gas or liquid solute accumulates on the surface of a solid or, more rarely, a liquid (adsorbent), forming a molecular or atomic film (the adsorbate). ...


Pharmacokinetics

Exposure to high levels of radioactive waste may cause serious harm or death. Treatment of an adult animal with radiation or some other mutation-causing effect, such as a cytotoxic anti-cancer drug, may cause cancer in the animal. In humans it has been calculated that a 1 sievert dose has a 5% chance of causing cancer and a 1% chance of causing a mutation in a gamete (e.g. egg) or a gamete forming cell such as those in the testis which can be passed to the next generation. If a developing organism such as an unborn child is irradiated, then it is possible to induce a birth defect but it is unlikely that this defect will be in a gamete or a gamete forming cell. For other uses, see Death (disambiguation), Dead (disambiguation), or Death (band). ... For the adult insect stage, see Imago. ... For other uses, see Radiation (disambiguation). ... For linguistic mutation, see Apophony. ... Cancer is a class of diseases or disorders characterized by uncontrolled division of cells and the ability of these to spread, either by direct growth into adjacent tissue through invasion, or by implantation into distant sites by metastasis (where cancer cells are transported through the bloodstream or lymphatic system). ... For other uses, see Drug (disambiguation). ... The sievert (symbol: Sv) is the SI derived unit of dose equivalent. ... A gamete (from Ancient Greek γαμετης; translated gamete = wife, gametes = husband) is a cell that fuses with another gamete during fertilization (conception) in organisms that reproduce sexually. ... In most birds and reptiles, an egg (Latin ovum) is the zygote, resulting from fertilization of the ovum. ... Human male anatomy The testicles, known medically as testes (singular testis), are the male generative glands in animals. ... Fetus at eight weeks A fetus (alternatively foetus or fœtus) is an embryo in later stages of development, from the third month of pregnancy until birth in humans. ... A congenital disorder is a medical condition or defect that is present at or before birth (for example, congenital heart disease). ... Drawing of the structure of cork as it appeared under the microscope to Robert Hooke from Micrographia which is the origin of the word cell being used to describe the smallest unit of a living organism Cells in culture, stained for keratin (red) and DNA (green) The cell is the...


Depending on the decay mode and the pharmacokinetics of an element (how the body processes it and how quickly), the threat due to exposure to a given activity of a radioisotope will differ. For instance I-131 is a short-lived beta and gamma emitter but because it concentrates in the thyroid gland, it is more able to cause injury than caesium-137 which, being water soluble, is rapidly excreted in urine. In a similar way, the alpha emitting actinides and radium are considered very harmful as they tend to have long biological half-lives and their radiation has a high linear energy transfer value. Because of such differences, the rules determining biological injury differ widely according to the radioisotope, and sometimes also the nature of the chemical compound which contains the radioisotope. Pharmacokinetics (in Greek: pharmacon meaning drug, and kinetikos meaning putting in motion) is a branch of pharmacology dedicated to the determination of the fate of substances administered externally to a living organism. ... A radionuclide is an atom with an unstable nucleus. ... For other uses, see Iodine (disambiguation). ... In nuclear physics, beta decay (sometimes called neutron decay) is a type of radioactive decay in which a beta particle (an electron or a positron) is emitted. ... This article is about electromagnetic radiation. ... General Name, Symbol, Number caesium, Cs, 55 Chemical series alkali metals Group, Period, Block 1, 6, s Appearance silvery gold Standard atomic weight 132. ... Alpha decay Alpha decay is a type of radioactive decay in which an atom emits an alpha particle (two protons and two neutrons bound together into a particle identical to a helium nucleus) and transforms (or decays) into an atom with a mass number 4 less and atomic number 2... General Name, Symbol, Number radium, Ra, 88 Chemical series alkaline earth metals Group, Period, Block 2, 7, s Appearance silvery white metallic Standard atomic weight (226) g·mol−1 Electron configuration [Rn] 7s2 Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 32, 18, 8, 2 Physical properties Phase solid Density (near r. ... The biological half-life of a substance is the time required for half of that substance to be removed from an organism by either a physical or a chemical process. ...


Philosophy

The main objective in managing and disposing of radioactive (or other) waste is to protect people and the environment. This means isolating or diluting the waste so that the rate or concentration of any radionuclides returned to the biosphere is harmless. To achieve this the preferred technology to date has been deep and secure burial for the more dangerous wastes; transmutation, long-term retrievable storage, and removal to space have also been suggested: management options for waste are discussed below. For other uses, see Biosphere (disambiguation). ... // Transmutation is the conversion of one object into another. ...


Radioactivity by definition reduces over time, so in principle the waste needs to be isolated for a particular period of time until its components have decayed such that it no longer poses a threat. In practice this can mean periods of hundreds of thousands of years, depending on the nature of the waste involved.


Sources of waste

Radioactive waste comes from a number of sources. The majority originates from the nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear weapon reprocessing, however other sources include medical and industrial wastes, as well as naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) that can be concentrated as a result of the processing or consumption of coal, oil and gas, and some minerals.


Nuclear fuel cycle

The nuclear fuel cycle, also called nuclear fuel chain, is the progression of nuclear fuel through a series of differing stages. ... Spent nuclear fuel, occasionally called used nuclear fuel, is nuclear fuel that has been irradiated in a nuclear reactor (usually at a nuclear power plant) to the point where it is no longer useful in sustaining a nuclear reaction. ...

Front end

Waste from the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle is usually alpha emitting waste from the extraction of uranium. It often contains radium and its decay products. The nuclear fuel cycle, also called nuclear fuel chain, is the progression of nuclear fuel through a series of differing stages. ... General Name, Symbol, Number radium, Ra, 88 Chemical series alkaline earth metals Group, Period, Block 2, 7, s Appearance silvery white metallic Standard atomic weight (226) g·mol−1 Electron configuration [Rn] 7s2 Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 32, 18, 8, 2 Physical properties Phase solid Density (near r. ...


Uranium dioxide (UO2) concentrate from mining is not very radioactive - only a thousand or so times as radioactive as the granite used in buildings. It is refined from yellowcake (U3O8), then converted to uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6). As a gas, it undergoes enrichment to increase the U-235 content from 0.7% to about 4.4% (LEU). It is then turned into a hard ceramic oxide (UO2) for assembly as reactor fuel elements. UO2 A black, radioactive, crystalline powder, once used in the late 1800s to mid-1900s in ceramic glazes. ... For other uses, see granite (disambiguation). ... Powdered yellowcake in a drum Yellowcakes (also known as urania) are uranium concentrates obtained from leach solutions. ... Uranium hexafluoride (UF6), referred to as hex in industry, is a compound used in the uranium enrichment process that produces fuel for nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. ... These pie-graphs showing the relative proportions of uranium-238 (blue) and uranium-235 (red) at different levels of enrichment. ... Uranium-235 is an isotope of uranium that differs from the elements other common isotope, uranium-238, by its ability to cause a rapidly expanding fission chain reaction. ... This article is about ceramic materials. ...


The main by-product of enrichment is depleted uranium (DU), principally the U-238 isotope, with a U-235 content of ~0.3%. It is stored, either as UF6 or as U3O8. Some is used in applications where its extremely high density makes it valuable, such as the keels of yachts, and anti-tank shells. It is also used (with recycled plutonium) for making mixed oxide fuel (MOX) and to dilute highly enriched uranium from weapons stockpiles which is now being redirected to become reactor fuel. This dilution, also called downblending, means that any nation or group that acquired the finished fuel would have to repeat the (very expensive and complex) enrichment process before assembling a weapon. Depleted uranium storage yard. ... There are two objects with this name: Unterseeboot 238 Uranium-238, the most common isotope of uranium This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Anti-tank, or simply AT, refers to any method of combating military armored fighting vehicles, notably tanks. ... A kinetic energy penetrator, long-rod penetrator, or APFSDS (Armour Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot) is a type of ammunition which, like a bullet, does not contain explosives, but uses kinetic energy to penetrate the target. ... Nuclear reprocessing ... These pie-graphs showing the relative proportions of uranium-238 (blue) and uranium-235 (red) at different levels of enrichment. ...


Back end

The back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, mostly spent fuel rods, contains fission products that emit beta and gamma radiation, and actinides that emit alpha particles, such as uranium-234, neptunium-237, plutonium-238 and americium-241, and even sometimes some neutron emitters such as californium (Cf). These isotopes are formed in nuclear reactors. Nuclear power station at Leibstadt, Switzerland. ... Fission products are the residues of fission processes. ... The actinide (or actinoid) series encompasses the 15 chemical elements that lie between actinium and lawrencium on the periodic table, with atomic numbers 89 - 103[1]. The actinide series derives its name from the first element in the series, actinium. ... An alpha particle is deflected by a magnetic field Alpha radiation consists of helium-4 nuclei and is readily stopped by a sheet of paper. ... U-234 is an isotope of uranium. ... General Name, Symbol, Number neptunium, Np, 93 Chemical series actinides Group, Period, Block n/a, 7, f Appearance silvery metallic Atomic mass (237) g/mol Electron configuration [Rn] 5f4 6d1 7s2 Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 32, 22, 9, 2 Physical properties Phase solid Density (near r. ... Plutonium 238, is an isotope of plutonium with a half-life of 86. ... General Name, Symbol, Number americium, Am, 95 Chemical series actinides Group, Period, Block n/a, 7, f Appearance silvery white Atomic mass (243) g/mol Electron configuration [Rn] 5f7 7s2 Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 32, 25, 8, 2 Physical properties Phase solid Density (near r. ... General Name, Symbol, Number californium, Cf, 98 Chemical series actinides Group, Period, Block n/a, 7, f Appearance unknown, probably silvery white or metallic gray Atomic mass (251) g·mol−1 Electron configuration [Rn] 5f10 7s2 Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 32, 28, 8, 2 Physical properties Phase solid... Core of a small nuclear reactor used for research. ...


It is important to distinguish the processing of uranium to make fuel from the reprocessing of used fuel. Used fuel contains the highly radioactive products of fission (see high level waste below). Many of these are neutron absorbers called neutron poisons in this context. These eventually build up to a level where they absorb so many neutrons that the chain reaction stops, even with the control rods completely removed. At that point the fuel has to be replaced in the reactor with fresh fuel, even though there is still a substantial quantity of uranium-235 and plutonium present. Currently, in the U.S., this used fuel is stored. In other countries, such as the United Kingdom, France, and Japan, the fuel is reprocessed to remove the fission products, and the fuel can then be re-used. This reprocessing involves handling highly radioactive materials, and the fission products removed from the fuel are a concentrated form of High Level Waste as are the chemicals used in the process. // Nuclear reprocessing separates any usable elements (e. ... A nuclear poison, also called a neutron poison is a substance with a large neutron absorption cross-section in applications, such as nuclear reactors, when absorbing neutrons is an undesirable effect. ... Uranium-235 is an isotope of uranium that differs from the elements other common isotope, uranium-238, by its ability to cause a rapidly expanding fission chain reaction. ... This article is about the radioactive element. ...


Proliferation concerns

Main article: nuclear proliferation

When dealing with uranium and plutonium, the possibility that they may be used to build nuclear weapons is often a concern. Active nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons stockpiles are very carefully safeguarded and controlled. However, high-level waste from nuclear reactors may contain plutonium. Ordinarily, this plutonium is reactor-grade plutonium, containing a mixture of plutonium-239 (highly suitable for building nuclear weapons), plutonium-240 (an undesirable contaminant and highly radioactive), plutonium-241, and plutonium-238; these isotopes are difficult to separate. Moreover, high-level waste is full of highly radioactive fission products. However, most fission products are relatively short-lived. This is a concern since if the waste is stored, perhaps in deep geological storage, over many years the fission products decay, decreasing the radioactivity of the waste and making the plutonium easier to access. Moreover, the undesirable contaminant Pu-240 decays faster than the Pu-239, and thus the quality of the bomb material increases with time (although its quantity decreases). Thus, some have argued, as time passes, these deep storage areas have the potential to become "plutonium mines", from which material for nuclear weapons can be acquired with relatively little difficulty. Critics of the latter idea point out that the half-life of Pu-240 is 6,560 years and Pu-239 is 24,110 years, and thus the relative enrichment of one isotope to the other with time occurs with a half-life of 9,000 years (that is, it takes 9000 years for the fraction of Pu-240 in a sample of mixed plutonium isotopes, to spontaneously decrease by half-- a typical enrichment needed to turn reactor-grade into weapons-grade Pu). Thus "weapons grade plutonium mines" would be a problem for the very far future (>9,000 years from now), so that there remains a great deal of time for technology to advance to solve this problem, before it becomes acute. World map with nuclear weapons development status represented by color. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 kilometers (11 mi) above the hypocenter A nuclear weapon derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions of fusion or fission. ... This article is about the radioactive element. ... General Name, Symbol, Number plutonium, Pu, 94 Chemical series actinides Group, Period, Block ?, 7, f Appearance silvery white Atomic mass (244) g/mol Electron configuration [Rn] 5f6 7s2 Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 32, 24, 8, 2 Physical properties Phase solid Density (near r. ... General Name, Symbol, Number plutonium, Pu, 94 Chemical series actinides Group, Period, Block n/a, 7, f Appearance silvery white Atomic mass (244) g/mol Electron configuration [Rn] 5f6 7s2 Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 32, 24, 8, 2 Physical properties Phase solid Density (near r. ... Plutonium-241 (Pu-241) is an isotope of plutonium formed when plutonium-240 captures a neutron. ... Plutonium 238, is an isotope of plutonium with a half-life of 86. ... Fission products are the residues of fission processes. ... The deep geological repository concept involves the encapsulation of used nuclear fuel in long-lived engineered casks which are then placed and sealed within excavated rooms in a naturally occurring geological formation at a design depth of 500 to 1000 metres below ground surface. ...


Pu-239 decays to U-235 which is suitable for weapons and which has a very long half life (roughly 109 years). Thus plutonium may decay and leave uranium-235. However, modern reactors are only moderately enriched with U-235 relative to U-238, so the U-238 continues to serve as denaturation agent for any U-235 produced by plutonium decay. Uranium-235 is an isotope of uranium that differs from the elements other common isotope, uranium-238, by its ability to cause a rapidly expanding fission chain reaction. ...


One solution to this problem is to recycle the plutonium and use it as a fuel e.g. in fast reactors. But in the minds of some, the very existence of the nuclear fuel reprocessing plant needed to separate the plutonium from the other elements represents a proliferation concern. In pyrometallurgical fast reactors, the waste generated is an actinide compound that cannot be used for nuclear weapons. A fast neutron reactor or simply a fast reactor is a category of nuclear reactor in which the fission chain reaction is sustained by fast neutrons. ... Nuclear reprocessing separates any usable nuclear fuels (e. ... The Integral Fast Reactor or Advanced Liquid-Metal Reactor is a design for a nuclear fast reactor with a specialized nuclear fuel cycle. ...


Nuclear weapons reprocessing

Waste from nuclear weapons reprocessing (as opposed to production, which requires primary processing from reactor fuel) is unlikely to contain much beta or gamma activity other than tritium and americium. It is more likely to contain alpha emitting actinides such as Pu-239 which is a fissile material used in bombs, plus some material with much higher specific activities, such as Pu-238 or Po. The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 kilometers (11 mi) above the hypocenter A nuclear weapon derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions of fusion or fission. ... Tritium (symbol T or ³H) is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. ... General Name, Symbol, Number americium, Am, 95 Chemical series actinides Group, Period, Block n/a, 7, f Appearance silvery white sometimes yellow Standard atomic weight (243) g·mol−1 Electron configuration [Rn] 5f7 7s2 Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 32, 25, 8, 2 Physical properties Phase solid Density (near...


In the past the neutron trigger for a bomb tended to be beryllium and a high activity alpha emitter such as polonium; an alternative to polonium is Pu-238. For reasons of national security, details of the design of modern bombs are normally not released to the open literature. It is likely however that a D-T fusion reaction in either an electrically driven device or a D-T fusion reaction driven by the chemical explosives would be used to start up a modern device. General Name, symbol, number beryllium, Be, 4 Chemical series alkaline earth metals Group, period, block 2, 2, s Appearance white-gray metallic Standard atomic weight 9. ... General Name, Symbol, Number polonium, Po, 84 Chemical series metalloids Group, Period, Block 16, 6, p Appearance silvery Standard atomic weight (209) g·mol−1 Electron configuration [Xe] 4f14 5d10 6s2 6p4 Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 32, 18, 6 Physical properties Phase solid Density (near r. ... Plutonium-238 glowing from its own heat Plutonium 238, is a radioactive isotope of plutonium with a half-life of 86. ... The deuterium-tritium (D-T) fusion reaction is considered the most promising for producing fusion power. ...


Some designs might well contain a radioisotope thermoelectric generator using Pu-238 to provide a longlasting source of electrical power for the electronics in the device. // A radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) is a simple electrical generator which obtains its power from radioactive decay. ...


It is likely that the fissile material of an old bomb which is due for refitting will contain decay products of the plutonium isotopes used in it, these are likely to include alpha-emitting Np-236 from Pu-240 impurities, plus some U-235 from decay of the Pu-239; however, due to the relatively long half-life of these Pu isotopes, these wastes from radioactive decay of bomb core material would be very small, and in any case, far less dangerous (even in terms of simple radioactivity) than the Pu-239 itself.


The beta decay of Pu-241 forms Am-241; the in-growth of americium is likely to be a greater problem than the decay of Pu-239 and Pu-240 as the americium is a gamma emitter (increasing external-exposure to workers) and is an alpha emitter which can cause the generation of heat. The plutonium could be separated from the americium by several different processes; these would include pyrochemical processes and aqueous/organic solvent extraction. A truncated PUREX type extraction process would be one possible method of making the separation. Plutonium-241 (Pu-241) is an isotope of plutonium formed when plutonium-240 captures a neutron. ... Americium (Am) has no stable isotopes. ... For other uses, see Heat (disambiguation) In physics, heat, symbolized by Q, is energy transferred from one body or system to another due to a difference in temperature. ... // Nuclear reprocessing separates any usable elements (e. ... In chemistry, liquid-liquid extraction (or more briefly, solvent extraction) is a useful method to separate components (compounds) of a mixture. ... The PUREX process is used to reprocess spent nuclear fuel, in order to extract uranium and plutonium, independent of each other, from the fission products. ...


Medical

Radioactive medical waste tends to contain beta particle and gamma ray emitters. It can be divided into two main classes. In diagnostic nuclear medicine a number of short-lived gamma emitters such as technetium-99m are used. Many of these can be disposed of by leaving it to decay for a short time before disposal as normal trash. Other isotopes used in medicine, with half-lives in parentheses: See drugs, medication, and pharmacology for substances that are used to treat patients. ... Alpha radiation consists of helium nuclei and is readily stopped by a sheet of paper. ... This article is about electromagnetic radiation. ... Shown above is the bone scintigraphy of a young woman. ... Technetium-99m is a metastable nuclear isomer of technetium-99, symbolized as 99mTc. ...

General Name, Symbol, Number yttrium, Y, 39 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 3, 5, d Appearance silvery white Standard atomic weight 88. ... This article is about lymphoma in humans. ... Radioiodine is the common name for iodine-131, a radioisotope of iodine. ... Thyroid cancer is malignant growth of the thyroid gland. ... General Name, Symbol, Number strontium, Sr, 38 Chemical series alkaline earth metals Group, Period, Block 2, 5, s Appearance silvery white metallic Standard atomic weight 87. ... A sarcoma is a cancer of the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue. ... In pharmacology and toxicology, a route of administration is the path by which a drug, fluid, poison or other substance is brought into contact with the body 1. ... This article is about the chemical element. ... Brachytherapy for prostate cancer is administered using seeds, small radioactive rods implanted directly into the tumour. ... For other uses, see Cobalt (disambiguation). ... Caesium-137 is a radioactive isotope which is formed mianly by nuclear fission (half life is about 27 years). ...

Industrial

Industrial source waste can contain alpha, beta, neutron or gamma emitters. Gamma emitters are used in radiography while neutron emitting sources are used in a range of applications, such as oil well logging.[1] Alpha decay Alpha decay is a type of radioactive decay in which an atom emits an alpha particle (two protons and two neutrons bound together into a particle identical to a helium nucleus) and transforms (or decays) into an atom with a mass number 4 less and atomic number 2... In nuclear physics, beta decay (sometimes called neutron decay) is a type of radioactive decay in which a beta particle (an electron or a positron) is emitted. ... Neutron emission is a type of radioactive decay in which an atom contains excess neutrons and a neutron is simply ejected from the nucleus. ... A radiograph of a right elbow-joint Radiography is the use of certain types of electromagnetic radiation—usually ionizing—to view objects. ... An oil well is seen in Texas. ...


Naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM)

Processing of substances containing natural radioactivity; this is often known as NORM. A lot of this waste is alpha particle-emitting matter from the decay chains of uranium and thorium. The main source of radiation in the human body is potassium-40 (40K). An alpha particle is deflected by a magnetic field Alpha radiation consists of helium-4 nuclei and is readily stopped by a sheet of paper. ... This article is about the chemical element. ... General Name, Symbol, Number thorium, Th, 90 Chemical series Actinides Group, Period, Block n/a, 7, f Appearance silvery white Standard atomic weight 232. ... General Name, symbol, number potassium, K, 19 Chemical series alkali metals Group, period, block 1, 4, s Appearance silvery white Standard atomic weight 39. ... Potassium (K) has 24 known isotopes. ...


Coal

Coal contains a small amount of radioactive uranium, barium and thorium, around or slightly more than the average concentration of those elements in the Earth's crust[5][6]. They become more concentrated in the fly ash because they do not burn well [6]. However, the radioactivity of fly ash is still very low. It is about the same as black shale and is less than phosphate rocks, but is more of a concern because a small amount of the fly ash ends up in the atmosphere where it can be inhaled.[7] Coal Example chemical structure of coal Coal (pronounced ) is a fossil fuel formed in swamp ecosystems where plant remains were saved by water and mud from oxidization and biodegradation. ... Earth cutaway from core to exosphere. ... Fly ash (one of several coal combustion products, or CCPs) is the finely divided mineral residue resulting from the combustion of coal in electric generating plants. ... Shale Shale is a fine-grained sedimentary rock whose original constituents were clays or muds. ... A phosphate, in inorganic chemistry, is a salt of phosphoric acid. ...


Oil and gas

Residues from the oil and gas industry often contain radium and its daughters. The sulphate scale from an oil well can be very radium rich, while the water, oil and gas from a well often contains radon. The radon decays to form solid radioisotopes which form coatings on the inside of pipework. In an oil processing plant the area of the plant where propane is processed is often one of the more contaminated areas of the plant as radon has a similar boiling point as propane.[8] Petro redirects here. ... For other uses, see Natural gas (disambiguation). ... General Name, Symbol, Number radium, Ra, 88 Chemical series alkaline earth metals Group, Period, Block 2, 7, s Appearance silvery white metallic Standard atomic weight (226) g·mol−1 Electron configuration [Rn] 7s2 Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 32, 18, 8, 2 Physical properties Phase solid Density (near r. ... For other uses, see Radon (disambiguation). ... Propane is a three-carbon alkane, normally a gas, but compressible to a liquid that is transportable. ...


Types of radioactive waste

Removal of very low-level waste
Removal of very low-level waste

Although not significantly radioactive, uranium mill tailings are waste. They are byproduct material from the rough processing of uranium-bearing ore. They are sometimes referred to as 11(e)2 wastes, from the section of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act that defines them. Uranium mill tailings typically also contain chemically-hazardous heavy metals such as lead and arsenic. Vast mounds of uranium mill tailings are left at many old mining sites, especially in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Removal of 1500 cubic yards of soil contaminated with extremely low levels of nuclear waste from the former Fort Greely Nuclear Power Plant. ... Removal of 1500 cubic yards of soil contaminated with extremely low levels of nuclear waste from the former Fort Greely Nuclear Power Plant. ... This article is about the metal. ... General Name, Symbol, Number arsenic, As, 33 Chemical series metalloids Group, Period, Block 15, 4, p Appearance metallic gray Standard atomic weight 74. ... Official language(s) English Capital Denver Largest city Denver Largest metro area Denver-Aurora Metro Area Area  Ranked 8th  - Total 104,185 sq mi (269,837 km²)  - Width 280 miles (451 km)  - Length 380 miles (612 km)  - % water 0. ... Capital Santa Fe Largest city Albuquerque Largest metro area Albuquerque metropolitan area Area  Ranked 5th  - Total 121,665 sq mi (315,194 km²)  - Width 342 miles (550 km)  - Length 370 miles (595 km)  - % water 0. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ...


Low level waste (LLW) is generated from hospitals and industry, as well as the nuclear fuel cycle. It comprises paper, rags, tools, clothing, filters, etc., which contain small amounts of mostly short-lived radioactivity. Commonly, LLW is designated as such as a precautionary measure if it originated from any region of an 'Active Area', which frequently includes offices with only a remote possibility of being contaminated with radioactive materials. Such LLW typically exhibits no higher radioactivity than one would expect from the same material disposed of in a non-active area, such as a normal office block. Some high activity LLW requires shielding during handling and transport but most LLW is suitable for shallow land burial. To reduce its volume, it is often compacted or incinerated before disposal. Low level waste is divided into four classes, class A, B, C and GTCC, which means "Greater Than Class C". Low-level waste (LLW) is a term used to describe nuclear waste that does not fit into the categorical definitions for high-level waste (HLW), spent nuclear fuel (SNF), transuranic waste (TRU), or certain byproduct materials known as 11e(2) wastes, such as uranium mill tailings. ... The nuclear fuel cycle, also called nuclear fuel chain, is the progression of nuclear fuel through a series of differing stages. ...


Intermediate level waste (ILW) contains higher amounts of radioactivity and in some cases requires shielding. ILW includes resins, chemical sludge and metal reactor fuel cladding, as well as contaminated materials from reactor decommissioning. It may be solidified in concrete or bitumen for disposal. As a general rule, short-lived waste (mainly non-fuel materials from reactors) is buried in shallow repositories, while long-lived waste (from fuel and fuel-reprocessing) is deposited in deep underground facilities. U.S. regulations do not define this category of waste; the term is used in Europe and elsewhere. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... SLUDGE (Scripting Language for Unhindered Development of a Gaming Environment) is a shareware adventure game engine developed by Hungry Software. ... Nuclear Fuel Process A graph comparing nucleon number against binding energy Nuclear fuel is any material that can be consumed to derive nuclear energy, by analogy to chemical fuel that is burned to derive energy. ... The deep geological repository concept involves the encapsulation of used nuclear fuel in long-lived engineered casks which are then placed and sealed within excavated rooms in a naturally occurring geological formation at a design depth of 500 to 1000 metres below ground surface. ...

High Level Waste flasks are transported by train in the United Kingdom. Each flask is constructed of 3ft thick solid steel and weighs in excess of 50 tons
High Level Waste flasks are transported by train in the United Kingdom. Each flask is constructed of 3ft thick solid steel and weighs in excess of 50 tons

High Level Waste (HLW) is produced by nuclear reactors. It contains fission products and transuranic elements generated in the reactor core. It is highly radioactive and often thermally hot. HLW accounts for over 95% of the total radioactivity produced in the process of nuclear electricity generation. The amount of HLW worldwide is currently increasing by about 12,000 metric tons every year, which is the equival to about 100 double-decker busses or a two-story structure built on top of a basketball court[9]. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1600x1200, 887 KB) Please see User:Thryduulf/Relicensing if you wish to use this image under a different license. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1600x1200, 887 KB) Please see User:Thryduulf/Relicensing if you wish to use this image under a different license. ... High level Waste (HLW) arises from the use of uranium fuel in a nuclear reactor and nuclear weapons processing. ... Core of a small nuclear reactor used for research. ... Fission products are the residues of fission processes. ... In chemistry, transuranium elements (also known as transuranic elements) are the chemical elements with atomic numbers greater than 92, the atomic number of Uranium. ... A nuclear reactor core is that portion of a nuclear reactor containing the fuel components where the nuclear reactions take place. ... World-wide electricity production for 1980 to 2005. ...


Transuranic waste (TRUW) as defined by U.S. regulations is, without regard to form or origin, waste that is contaminated with alpha-emitting transuranic radionuclides with half-lives greater than 20 years, and concentrations greater than 100 nCi/g (3.7 MBq/kg), excluding High Level Waste. Elements that have an atomic number greater than uranium are called transuranic ("beyond uranium"). Because of their long half-lives, TRUW is disposed more cautiously than either low level or intermediate level waste. In the U.S. it arises mainly from weapons production, and consists of clothing, tools, rags, residues, debris and other items contaminated with small amounts of radioactive elements (mainly plutonium). The curie (symbol Ci) is a former unit of radioactivity, defined as 3. ... For other uses, see Becquerel (disambiguation). ... See also: List of elements by atomic number In chemistry and physics, the atomic number (also known as the proton number) is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom. ...


Under U.S. law, TRUW is further categorized into "contact-handled" (CH) and "remote-handled" (RH) on the basis of radiation dose measured at the surface of the waste container. CH TRUW has a surface dose rate not greater than 200 mrem per hour (2 mSv/h), whereas RH TRUW has a surface dose rate of 200 mrem per hour (2 mSv/h) or greater. CH TRUW does not have the very high radioactivity of high level waste, nor its high heat generation, but RH TRUW can be highly radioactive, with surface dose rates up to 1000000 mrem per hour (10000 mSv/h). The United States currently permanently disposes of TRUW generated from nuclear power plants and military facilities at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.[10] The röntgen (roentgen) equivalent in man or rem (symbol rem) is a unit of radiation dose. ... The sievert (symbol: Sv) is the SI derived unit of dose equivalent. ... The röntgen (roentgen) equivalent in man or rem (symbol rem) is a unit of radiation dose. ... The röntgen (roentgen) equivalent in man or rem (symbol rem) is a unit of radiation dose. ... The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP, is the worlds first underground repository licensed to safely and permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste that is left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. ...


Management of waste

Nuclear waste locations in USA
Nuclear waste locations in USA

Nuclear waste requires sophisticated treatment and management in order to successfully isolate it from interacting with the biosphere. This usually necessitates treatment, followed by a long-term management strategy involving storage, disposal or transformation of the waste into a non-toxic form[11]. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1909x1315, 357 KB) Map of current nuclear waste storage locations in the United States. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1909x1315, 357 KB) Map of current nuclear waste storage locations in the United States. ... For other uses, see Biosphere (disambiguation). ...


Initial treatment of waste

Vitrification

Long-term storage of radioactive waste requires the stabilization of the waste into a form which will not react, nor degrade, for extended periods of time. One way to do this is through vitrification. Currently at Sellafield, England the high-level waste (PUREX first cycle raffinate) is mixed with sugar and then calcined. Calcination involves passing the waste through a heated, rotating tube. The purposes of calcination are to evaporate the water from the waste, and de-nitrate the fission products to assist the stability of the glass produced. A vitrification experiment for the study of nuclear waste disposal at Pacific Northwest National Labs Vitrification is a process of converting a material into a glass-like amorphous solid which is free of any crystalline structure, either by the quick removal or addition of heat, or by mixing with an... The Sellafield facility on the Cumbrian coast, United Kingdom Sellafield is the name of a nuclear site, close to the village and railway station of Seascale, operated by Sellafield Ltd, but owned since 1 April 2005 by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. ... The PUREX process is used to reprocess spent nuclear fuel, in order to extract uranium and plutonium, independent of each other, from the fission products. ... Raffinate is a term in solvent extraction to describe a liquid stream which remains after the extraction with the immisible liquid to remove solutes from the original liquor. ... This article is about sugar as food and as an important and widely traded commodity. ... Calcination is the process of heating a substance to a high temperature, but below its melting or fusing point, to bring about thermal decomposition or a phase transition in its physical or chemical constitution. ...


The 'calcine' generated is fed continuously into an induction heated furnace with fragmented glass[2]. The resulting glass is a new substance in which the waste products are bonded into the glass matrix when it solidifies. This product, as a molten fluid, is poured into stainless steel cylindrical containers ("cylinders") in a batch process. When cooled, the fluid solidifies ("vitrifies") into the glass. Such glass, after being formed, is very highly resistant to water. [3] According to the ITU, it will require about 1 million years for 10% of such glass to dissolve in water. This article is about the material. ... The 630 foot (192 m) high, stainless-clad (type 304) Gateway Arch defines St. ...


After filling a cylinder, a seal is welded onto the cylinder. The cylinder is then washed. After being inspected for external contamination, the steel cylinder is stored, usually in an underground repository. In this form, the waste products are expected to be immobilized for a very long period of time (many thousands of years). Welding is a joining process that produces coalescence of materials (typically metals or thermoplastics) by heating them to welding temperature, with or without the application of pressure or by the application of pressure alone, and with or without the use of filler material. ...


The glass inside a cylinder is usually a black glossy substance. All this work (in the United Kingdom) is done using hot cell systems. The sugar is added to control the ruthenium chemistry and to stop the formation of the volatile RuO4 containing radioruthenium. In the west, the glass is normally a borosilicate glass (similar to Pyrex {NB Pyrex is a trade name}), while in the former Soviet bloc it is normal to use a phosphate glass. The amount of fission products in the glass must be limited because some (palladium, the other Pt group metals, and tellurium) tend to form metallic phases which separate from the glass. In Germany a vitrification plant is in use; this is treating the waste from a small demonstration reprocessing plant which has since been closed down. A robotic manipulator for a Hot cell A Hot Cell is a heavily shielded room in which radioactive materials can be handled remotely using robotic manipulators (see picture) and viewed through shielded windows. ... General Name, Symbol, Number Ruthenium, Ru, 44 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 8, 5, d Appearance silvery white metallic Atomic mass 101. ... Ruthenium-106 has a halflife of 373. ... It has been suggested that Kimax be merged into this article or section. ... // For the programming language, see Pyrex (programming language). ... Soviet redirects here. ... A phosphate, in inorganic chemistry, is a salt of phosphoric acid. ... For other uses, see Palladium (disambiguation). ... General Name, Symbol, Number tellurium, Te, 52 Chemical series metalloids Group, Period, Block 16, 5, p Appearance silvery lustrous gray Standard atomic weight 127. ...


Ion exchange

It is common for medium active wastes in the nuclear industry to be treated with ion exchange or other means to concentrate the radioactivity into a small volume. The much less radioactive bulk (after treatment) is often then discharged. For instance, it is possible to use a ferric hydroxide floc to remove radioactive metals from aqueous mixtures [4]. After the radioisotopes are absorbed onto the ferric hydroxide, the resulting sludge can be placed in a metal drum before being mixed with cement to form a solid waste form.[12] In order to get better long-term performance (mechanical stability) from such forms, they may be made from a mixture of fly ash, or blast furnace slag, and portland cement, instead of normal concrete (made with portland cement, gravel and sand). Ion exchange is defined as an exchange of ions between two electrolytes. ... Ferric is a term used for the iron with the oxidation number +3. ... Hydroxide is a polyatomic ion consisting of oxygen and hydrogen: OH− It has a charge of −1. ... The introduction of this article does not provide enough context for readers unfamiliar with the subject. ... Fly ash (one of several coal combustion products, or CCPs) is the finely divided mineral residue resulting from the combustion of coal in electric generating plants. ... Blast furnace in Sestao, Spain. ... Slag is also an early play by David Hare. ... Sampling fast set Portland cement Portland cement is the most common type of cement in general usage, as it is a basic ingredient of concrete, mortar and plaster. ... This article is about the construction material. ... Sampling fast set Portland cement Portland cement is the most common type of cement in general usage, as it is a basic ingredient of concrete, mortar and plaster. ...


Synroc

The Australian Synroc (synthetic rock) is a more sophisticated way to immobilize such waste, and this process may eventually come into commercial use for civil wastes (it is currently being developed for U.S. military wastes). Synroc was invented by the late Prof Ted Ringwood (a geochemist) at the Australian National University.[13] The Synroc contains pyrochlore and cryptomelane type minerals. The original form of Synroc (Synroc C) was designed for the liquid high level waste (PUREX raffinate) from a light water reactor. The main minerals in this Synroc are hollandite (BaAl2Ti6O16), zirconolite (CaZrTi2O7) and perovskite (CaTiO3). The zirconolite and perovskite are hosts for the actinides. The strontium and barium will be fixed in the perovskite. The caesium will be fixed in the hollandite. Synroc, a portmanteau from synthetic rock, is a possible means of safely storing and disposing of radioactive waste. ... The field of geochemistry involves study of the chemical composition of the Earth and other planets, chemical processes and reactions that govern the composition of rocks and soils, and the cycles of matter and energy that transport the Earths chemical components in time and space. ... The Australian National University, or ANU, is a public university located in Canberra, Australia. ... Pyrochlore (Na,Ca)2Nb2O6(OH,F) is a niobate of calcium, cerium, and other bases, occurring usually in octahedrons of a yellowish or brownish color and resinous luster. ... A light water reactor or LWR is a thermal nuclear reactor that uses ordinary water, also called light water, as its neutron moderator. ... Zirconolite is a mineral, calcium zirconium titanate; formula CaZrTi2O7. ... Perovskite (calcium titanium oxide, CaTiO3) is a relatively rare mineral occurring in orthorhombic (pseudocubic) crystals. ... The actinide series encompasses the 14 chemical elements that lie between actinium and nobelium on the periodic table with atomic numbers 89 - 102 inclusive. ... General Name, Symbol, Number strontium, Sr, 38 Chemical series alkaline earth metals Group, Period, Block 2, 5, s Appearance silvery white metallic Standard atomic weight 87. ... For other uses, see Barium (disambiguation). ... General Name, Symbol, Number caesium, Cs, 55 Chemical series alkali metals Group, Period, Block 1, 6, s Appearance silvery gold Standard atomic weight 132. ...


Long term management of waste

Storage

High-level radioactive waste is stored temporarily in spent fuel pools and in dry cask storage facilities. This allows the shorter-lived isotopes to decay before further handling. Spent fuel pool (SFP) are storage pools for spent fuel from nuclear reactors. ... A typical dry cask storage system with vertical cylinders Dry cask storage is a method of storing high-level radioactive waste, such as spent nuclear fuel that has already been cooled in the spent fuel pool for at least one year. ...


In 1997, in the 20 countries which account for most of the world's nuclear power generation, spent fuel storage capacity at the reactors was 148,000 tonnes, with 59% of this utilized. However, a number of nuclear power plants in countries that do not reprocess had nearly filled their spent fuel pools, and resorted to Away-from-reactor storage (AFRS). AFRS capacity in 1997 was 78,000 tonnes, with 44% utilized, and annual additions of about 12,000 tonnes. AFRS cannot be expanded forever, and the lead times for final disposal sites have proven to be unpredictable (see below).


In 1989 and 1992, France commissioned commercial plants to vitrify HLW left over from reprocessing oxide fuel, although there are adequate facilities elsewhere, notably in the United Kingdom and Belgium. The capacity of these western European plants is 2,500 canisters (1000 t) a year, and some have been operating for 18 years. A vitrification experiment for the study of nuclear waste disposal at Pacific Northwest National Labs Vitrification is a process of converting a material into a glass-like amorphous solid which is free of any crystalline structure, either by the quick removal or addition of heat, or by mixing with an...


Geological disposal

The process of selecting appropriate deep final repositories is now under way in several countries with the first expected to be commissioned some time after 2010. However, many people remain uncomfortable with the immediate stewardship cessation of this management system. In Switzerland, the Grimsel Test Site is an international research facility investigating the open questions in radioactive waste disposal ([5]). Sweden is well advanced with plans for direct disposal of spent fuel, since its Parliament decided that this is acceptably safe, using the KBS-3 technology. In Germany, there is a political discussion about the search for an Endlager (final repository) for radioactive waste, accompanied by loud protests especially in the Gorleben village in the Wendland area, which was seen ideal for the final repository until 1990 because of its location next to the border to the former German Democratic Republic. Gorleben is presently being used to store radioactive waste non-permanently, with a decision on final disposal to be made at some future time. The U.S. has opted for a final repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, but this project is widely opposed and is a hotly debated topic, with some of the main concerns being the long distance transportation of the waste from across the United States to this area, and the possibility of accidents over time that could occur. There is also a proposal for an international HLW repository in optimum geology, with Australia or Russia as possible locations, although the proposal for a global repository for Australia has raised fierce domestic political objections. The deep geological repository concept involves the encapsulation of used nuclear fuel in long-lived engineered casks which are then placed and sealed within excavated rooms in a naturally occurring geological formation at a design depth of 500 to 1000 metres below ground surface. ... KBS-3 (an abbreviation of kärnbränslesäkerhet, nuclear fuel safety) is a technology for disposal of high-level radioactive waste developed in Sweden by Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB by appointment from Statens Strålskyddsinstitut (the radiation protection agency). ... Gorleben is a small municipality (Gemeinde) in the Gartow region of the Lüchow-Dannenberg district in the far north-east of Lower Saxony, Germany, a region also known as the Wendland. ... Lüchow-Dannenberg is a district in Lower Saxony, Germany. ... “East Germany” redirects here. ... Yucca Mountain Yucca Mountain is a ridge line in Nye County, in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Nevada. ...


The Canadian government, for example, is seriously considering this method of disposal, known as the Deep Geological Disposal concept. Under the current plan, a vault is to be dug 500 to 1000 meters below ground, under the Canadian Shield, one of the most stable landforms on the planet. The vaults are to be dug inside geological formations known as batholiths, formed about a billion years ago. The used fuel bundles will be encased in a corrosion-resistant container, and further surrounded by a layer of buffer material, possibly of a special kind of clay (bentonite clay). The case itself is designed to last for thousands of years, while the clay would further slow the corrosion rates of the container. The batholiths themselves are chosen for their low ground-water movement rates, geological stability, and low economic value.[14] Canadian Shield Canadian Shield Landform. ... Half Dome, a granite monolith in Yosemite National Park and part of the Sierra Nevada batholith. ... Bentonite - USGS Bentonite is an absorbent aluminium phyllosilicate generally impure clay consisting mostly of montmorillonite, (Na,Ca)0. ...


The Finnish government has already started building a vault to store nuclear waste 500 to 1000 meters below ground, not far from the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant. The Olkiluoto island with two existing nuclear power plants and one under construction Olkiluoto is an island located in western Finland in the municipality of Eurajoki. ...


In the EU, Covra is negotiating about a European-wide waste disposal system with single disposal sites that can be used by several EU-countries.[15] This EU-wide storage possibility is being researched under the SAPIERR-2 program.[16]


Storing high level nuclear waste above ground for a century or so is considered appropriate by many scientists. This allows for the material to be more easily observed and any problems detected and managed, while the decay over this time period significantly reduces the level of radioactivity and the associated harmful effects to the container material. It is also considered likely that over the next century newer materials will be developed which will not break down as quickly when exposed to a high neutron flux thus increasing the longevity of the container once it is permanently buried.


Sea-based options for disposal of radioactive waste [6] include burial beneath a stable abyssal plain, burial in a subduction zone that would slowly carry the waste downward into the Earth's mantle, and burial beneath a remote natural or human-made island. While these approaches all have merit and would facilitate an international solution to the vexing problem of disposal of radioactive waste, they are currently not being seriously considered because of the legal barrier of the Law of the Sea and because in North America and Europe sea-based burial has become taboo from fear that such a repository could leak and cause widespread damage. Dumping of radioactive waste from ships has reinforced this concern, as has contamination of islands in the Pacific. However, sea-based approaches might come under consideration in the future by individual countries or groups of countries that cannot find other acceptable solutions. Abyssal plains are flat or very gently sloping areas of the deep ocean basin floor. ... Geometry of a subduction zone - insets to show accretionary prism and partial melting of hydrated asthenosphere. ... Earth cutaway from core to exosphere. ... United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Opened for signature December 10, 1982 in Montego Bay (Jamaica) Entered into force November 16, 1994[1] Conditions for entry into force 60 ratifications Parties 149[2] For maritime law in general see Admiralty law. ... North America North America is a continent [1] in the Earths northern hemisphere and (chiefly) western hemisphere. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ...


A more feasible approach termed Remix & Return [7] would blend high-level waste with uranium mine and mill tailings down to the level of the original radioactivity of the uranium ore, then replace it in empty uranium mines. This approach has the merits of totally eliminating the problem of high-level waste, of providing jobs for miners who would double as disposal staff, and of facilitating a cradle-to-grave cycle for all radioactive materials. The Ranger Uranium Mine in Australia. ... For the band, see Pitchblende (band). ...


Transmutation

There have been proposals for reactors that consume nuclear waste and transmute it to other, less-harmful nuclear waste. In particular, the Integral Fast Reactor was a proposed nuclear reactor with a nuclear fuel cycle that produced no transuranic waste and in fact, could consume transuranic waste. It proceeded as far as large-scale tests but was then canceled by the U.S. Government. Another approach, considered safer but requiring more development, is to dedicate subcritical reactors to the transmutation of the left-over transuranic elements. The Integral Fast Reactor or Advanced Liquid-Metal Reactor is a design for a nuclear fast reactor with a specialized nuclear fuel cycle. ... The nuclear fuel cycle, also called nuclear fuel chain, is the progression of nuclear fuel through a series of differing stages. ... A subcritical reactor is a nuclear fission reactor that produces fission without achieving criticality. ... // Transmutation is the conversion of one object into another. ...


While transmutation has been banned in the US since 1977 due to the danger of plutonium proliferation [17], work on the method continues in the EU. This has resulted in a practical nuclear research reactor called Myrrha in which transmutation is possible. Additionally, a new research program called ACTINET has been started in the EU to make transmutation possible on a large, industrial scale. United States may refer to: Places: United States of America SS United States, the fastest ocean liner ever built. ...


There have also been theoretical studies involving the use of fusion reactors as so called "actinide burners" where a fusion reactor plasma such as in a tokamak, could be "doped" with a small amount of the "minor" transuranic atoms which would be transmuted (meaning fissioned in the actinide case) to lighter elements upon their successive bombardment by the very high energy neutrons produced by the fusion of deuterium and tritium in the reactor. It was recently found by a study done at MIT, that only 2 or 3 fusion reactors with parameters similar to that of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) could transmute the entire annual minor actinide production from all of the light water reactors presently operating in the United States fleet while simultaneously generating approximately 1 gigawatt of power from each reactor[8]. Also try: fusion power This article is about a fictional warship in the game Halo. ... For other uses, see Plasma. ... This article is about the fusion reactor device. ... Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, is a stable isotope of hydrogen with a natural abundance in the oceans of Earth of approximately one atom in 6500 of hydrogen (~154 PPM). ... Tritium (symbol T or ³H) is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. ... Mapúa Institute of Technology (MIT, MapúaTech or simply Mapúa) is a private, non-sectarian, Filipino tertiary institute located in Intramuros, Manila. ... ITER is a proposed international experiment designed to show the scientific and technological feasibility of a fusion power reactor. ... The minor actinides are the actinide elements in used nuclear fuel other than uranium and plutonium, which are termed the major actinides. ... A light water reactor or LWR is a thermal nuclear reactor that uses ordinary water, also called light water, as its neutron moderator. ... List of nuclear reactors is a comprehensive annotated list of all the nuclear reactors of the world, sorted by country. ... The gigawatt (symbol: GW) is a unit for measuring power corresponding to one billion (109) watts. ...


Reuse of waste

Another option is to find applications of the isotopes in nuclear waste so as to reuse them. [9] . Already, caesium-137, strontium-90 and a few other isotopes are extracted for certain industrial applications such as food irradiation and radioisotope thermoelectric generators. While re-use does not eliminate the need to manage radioisotopes, it may reduce the quantity of waste produced. Reuse is using an item more than once. ... Caesium-137 is a radioactive isotope which is formed mainly by nuclear fission. ... General Name, Symbol, Number Strontium, Sr, 38 Series Alkaline earth metal Group, Period, Block 2 (IIA), 5, s Density, Hardness 2630 kg/m3, 1. ... The Radura logo, used to show a food has been treated with radiation. ... A radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) is a simple electrical generator which obtains its power from radioactive decay. ...


Space disposal

Space disposal is an attractive notion because it permanently removes nuclear waste from the environment. However, it has significant disadvantages, not least of which is the potential for catastrophic failure of a launch vehicle. Furthermore, the high number of launches that would be required — due to the fact that no individual rocket would be able to carry very much of the material relative to the material needed to be disposed of—makes the proposal impractical (for both economic and risk-based reasons). To further complicate matters, international agreements on the regulation of such a program would need to be established.[10] A Saturn V launch vehicle sends Apollo 15 on its way to the moon. ...


It has been suggested that through the use of a stationary launch system many of the risks of catastrophic launch failure could be avoided. A promising concept is the use of high power lasers to launch "indestructible" containers from the ground into space. Such a system would require no rocket propellant, with the launch vehicle's payload making up a near entirety of the vehicle's mass. Without the use of rocket fuel on board there would be little chance of the vehicle exploding.[11]


Accidents involving radioactive waste

A number of incidents have occurred when radioactive material was disposed of improperly, shielding during transport was defective, or when it was simply abandoned or even stolen from a waste store.[18] In the former Soviet Union (a nation possessing a high level of technical expertise and experience with nuclear issues), waste stored in Lake Karachay was blown over the area during a dust storm after the lake had partly dried out.[19] In other cases lakes or ponds with radioactive waste accidentally overflowed into the rivers during exceptional storms.[citation needed] Lake Karachay (Russian: ), sometimes spelled Karachai is a small lake in the southern Ural mountains in eastern Russia. ...


Scavenging of abandoned radioactive material has been the cause of several other cases of radiation exposure, mostly in developing nations, which may have less regulation of dangerous substances (and sometimes less general education about radioactivity and its hazards) and a market for scavenged goods and scrap metal. The scavengers and those who buy the material are almost always unaware that the material is radioactive and it is selected for its aesthetics or scrap value.[20] Irresponsibility on the part of the radioactive material's owners, usually a hospital, university or military, and the absence of regulation concerning radioactive waste, or a lack of enforcement of such regulations, have been significant factors in radiation exposures. For an example of an accident involving radioactive scrap originating from a hospital see the Goiânia accident.[21] The radiation warning symbol (trifolium). ... A developing country is a country with low average income compared to the world average. ... The Parthenons facade showing an interpretation of golden rectangles in its proportions. ... The Goiânia accident was an incident of radioactive contamination in central Brazil that killed several people and injured many others. ...


Transportation accidents involving spent nuclear fuel from power plants are unlikely to have serious consequences due to the strength of the spent nuclear fuel shipping casks. A typical SNF shipping cask mounted on a railroad car. ...


Radioactive waste in fiction and popular culture

In fiction, radioactive waste is often cited as the reason for gaining super-human powers and abilities. An example of this fictional scenario is the 1981 movie "Modern Problems" in which actor Chevy Chase portrays a jealous, harried air traffic controller Max Fiedler; Max Fiedler, recently dumped by his girlfriend, comes into contact with nuclear waste and is granted the power of telekinesis, which he uses to not only win her back, but to gain a little revenge. A more widely known character affected by a bite from a radioactive spider is Spider-man. For other uses, see Fiction (disambiguation). ... A superhuman is something exceeding normal human standards. ... Modern Problems is a 1981 comedy film written and directed by Ken Shapiro and starring Chevy Chase, Patti DArbanville and Dabney Coleman. ... For other uses, see Chevy Chase (disambiguation). ... Spider-Man swinging around his hometown, New York City. ...


In reality, of course, exposure to radioactive waste instead would lead to illness and/or death.


See also

Energy Portal

Image File history File links Crystal_128_energy. ... The Agency of Nuclear Projects (Nuclear Waste Project Office) is a part of the Nevada state government, under the administration of the Governor of Nevada. ... Geomelting is a process whereby nuclear waste is transformed into glass, allowing it to be stored safely for 200,000 years. ... The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, announced by U.S. Department of Energy secretary Samuel Bodman on February 6, 2006, is a plan to form an international partnership to see spent nuclear fuel reprocessed in a way that renders the plutonium in it usable for nuclear fuel but not for nuclear... A robotic manipulator for a Hot cell A Hot Cell is a heavily shielded room in which radioactive materials can be handled remotely using robotic manipulators (see picture) and viewed through shielded windows. ... Pathways from airborne radioactive contamination to man This article covers notable accidents involving nuclear material. ... The following page contains a list of different forms of waste treatment Anaerobic digestion ArrowBio Composting Gasification Incineration In-vessel composting Landfill Mechanical biological treatment Mechanical heat treatment Plasma Pyrolysis Recycling Sewage treatment Tunnel composting UASB Windrow composting Categories: | ... Lists of Superfund sites in the United States designated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) environmental law. ... This is a page listing articles relating to debate and controversy over environmentalism and issues of concern to environmentalists. ... This article or section is incomplete and may require expansion and/or cleanup. ... This page has a list of waste management topics. ... This article is about applications of nuclear fission reactors as power sources. ... Air pollution Pollution is the introduction of pollutants (whether chemical substances, or energy such as noise, heat, or light) into the environment to such a point that its effects become harmful to human health, other living organisms, or the environment. ... Radioactive scrap metal is the situation when radioactive material enters the metal recycling process known as the scrap metal trade // A lost source accident[1][2] is one where a radioactive object is lost or stolen. ... The international recycling symbol. ... Generally, remediation means giving a remedy. ... The Stored Waste Examination Pilot Plant (SWEPP) is a facility at the Idaho National Laboratory for nondestructively examining containers of radioactive waste to determine if they meet criteria to be stored at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. ... Checking the status of a cleanup site Superfund is the common name for the United States environmental law that is officially known as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601 to 9675, which was enacted by the United States Congress on December 11... Toxic waste is waste material, often in chemical form, that can cause death or injury to living creatures. ... Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Waste For the company, see Waste Management, Inc. ... There are many different waste types or waste streams which are produced by a variety of processes. ... Yucca Mountain Yucca Mountain is a ridge line in Nye County, in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Nevada. ...

References

  1. ^ Krivtsov, A.I., 2006, Geoenvironmental Problems of Mineral Resources Development, in Geology and Ecosystems, Zekster (Ru), Marker (UK), Ridgeway (UK), Rogachevskaya (Ru), & Vartanyan (Ru), 2006 Springer Inc.,
  2. ^ a b c d e f g U.S. Department of Energy Environmental Management - "Department of Energy Five Year Plan FY 2007-FY 2011 Volume II." Retrieved on 8 April 2007.
  3. ^ American Scientist Jan/Feb 2007
  4. ^ Nuclear Information and Resource Service,Radioactive Waste Project, retrieved September 2007
  5. ^ http://www.uic.com.au/nip78.htm
  6. ^ a b http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html
  7. ^ U.S. Geological Survey, Radioactive Elements in Coal and Fly Ash: Abundance, Forms, and Environmental Significance, Fact Sheet FS-163-1997, October 1997, retrieved September 2007
  8. ^ Survey & Identification of NORM Contaminated Equipment
  9. ^ http://www.marathonresources.com.au/nuclearwaste.php
  10. ^ Why WIPP?
  11. ^ M. I. Ojovan, W.E. Lee. An Introduction to Nuclear Waste Immobilisation, Elsevier Science Publishers B.V., Amsterdam, 315pp. (2005)
  12. ^ Removal of Silicon from High Level Waste Streams via Ferric Flocculation
  13. ^ Uranium Information Centre, Synroc, Nuclear Issues Briefing Paper 21, retrieved September 2007
  14. ^ How is high-level nuclear waste managed in Canada?. The Canadian Nuclear FAQ. Retrieved on June 28, 2006.
  15. ^ EU-wide centralised geological waste disposal sites
  16. ^ SAPIERR-2 program
  17. ^ Transmutation being banned in the US since 1977
  18. ^ http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Magazines/Bulletin/Bull413/article1.pdf
  19. ^ GlobalSecurity.org, Chelyabinsk-65/Ozersk, retrieved September 2007
  20. ^ International Atomic Energy Agency, The radiological accident in Goiânia, 1988, retrieved September 2007
  21. ^ International Atomic Energy Agency, The radiological accident in Goiânia, 1988, retrieved September 2007

Fentiman, Audeen W. and James H. Saling. Radioactive Waste Management. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2002. Second ed. An overview of waste from the nuclear fuel cycle was written by B.V. Babu and S. Karthik, Energy Education Science and Technology, 2005, 14, 93-102. April 8 is the 98th day of the year (99th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 179th day of the year (180th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


External links

  • Key Radionuclides and Generation Processes (DOE)
  • Alsos Digital Library - Radioactive Waste (bibliography)
  • Belgian Nuclear Research Centre - Activities (documents and links)
  • Belgian Nuclear Research Centre - Scientific Reports (documents)
  • Critical Hour: Three Mile Island, The Nuclear Legacy, And National Security (PDF)
  • Environmental Protection Agency - Yucca Mountain (documents)
  • Grist.org - How to tell future generations about nuclear waste (article)
  • A discussion on the secrecy surrounding plans for radioactive waste in the UK (article)
  • International Atomic Energy Agency - Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology Program (program objectives)
  • International Atomic Energy Agency - Internet Directory of Nuclear Resources (links)
  • Nuclear Files.org - Yucca Mountain (documents)
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Radioactive Waste (documents)
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Spent Fuel Heat Generation Calculation (guide)
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Coal Combustion: Nuclear Resource or Danger (document)
  • Radwaste.org (links)
  • Radwaste Blog (weblog)
  • Radwaste Solutions (magazine)
  • Surviving on Nuclear Waste (book)
  • The Nuclear Energy Option - Hazards of High-Level Radioactive Waste (book)
  • UNEP Earthwatch - Radioactive Waste (documents and links)
  • Uranium Information Center - Radioactive Waste (briefing papers)
  • United States Geological Survey - Radioactive Elements in Coal and Fly Ash (document)
  • World Nuclear Association - Radioactive Waste (briefing papers)
  • Radioactive Waste Management, by UIC
  • [http://www.plazm.com/magazine/features/archive/nuclear-time; Nuclear Time:

On Markers to Deter Inadvertent Human Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Storage Facility; Plazm magazine] The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government responsible for energy policy and nuclear safety. ...


Accidents

  • Nuclear Waste Drums Lose Lids in Japan Quake - Kyodo.

  Results from FactBites:
 
IEER On-Line Classroom: Classifications of Nuclear Waste (804 words)
Radioactive Waste: In general, radioactive waste classes are based on the waste's origin, not on the physical and chemical properties of the waste that could determine its safe management.
Radioactive waste is produced by a number of sources, but by far the largest quantities -- in terms of both radioactivity and volume -- are generated by the commercial nuclear power and military nuclear weapons production industries, and by nuclear fuel cycle activities to support these industries such as uranium mining and processing.
Since "low-level" radioactive waste is defined by what it is not, it thus includes everything from slightly radioactive trash (such as mops, gloves, and booties) to highly radioactive activated metals from inside nuclear reactors.
Radioactive waste - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4454 words)
Radioactive waste is waste type containing radioactive chemical elements that does not have a practical purpose.
Waste from the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle is usually alpha emitting waste from the extraction of uranium.
While radioactive waste is not as sensitive to disruption as an active nuclear reactor, it is often treated as regular waste and forgotten.
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