Don't Eat Fission Chips

Nuclear Waste Disposal

Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy

  • Less Carbon dioxide emissions
  • Once a reactor is finished, operating costs are relatively low
  • The amount of energy generated is enough to power whole cities
  • Accidents can be catastrophic
  • Construction time is long
  • May be a target for terrorism
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What is Nuclear Waste?

Nuclear waste is the material which comes out of a reactor, which has already been used. As you can see in the picture below nuclear waste looks just like a bunch of metal rods however, exposure for even a few seconds can mean certain death.
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Methods For Disposing of Nuclear Waste

  • Geological Disposal
This method of disposal essentially involves burying the waste deep underground, this could be potentially hazardous if waste were to leak out into the environment however, this is generally considered the safest method of disposal.

  • Reprocessing
Reprocessing is a method in which the still useful Uranium is separated from all other metals which result when nuclear fusion occurs.

  • Transmutation
Transmutation is when harmful elements are changed into less harmful ones. A common conversion is from Chlorine to Argon.

  • Space Disposal
As the name would suggest this method basically involves loading as much waste as possible onto a rocket and sending it into space or at the sun. The obvious issue with this is that if the rocket were to malfunction massive areas could potentially get showered with radiation.
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Effects Nuclear Waste Has On Our Environment

A potentially large issue is the radiation which can be leaked into the environment. While not common it is possible that radiation can be leaked into the air with the steam given off when cooling a reactor, or into a nearby river, also used for cooling. The result of this would be the death and mutation of many surrounding species, some of which are consumed by humans.
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What Makes Nuclear Waste Unique?

Nuclear waste is different than other waste as it may not be chemically harmful but the radiation given off can destroy environments. Furthermore, radioactive materials can take billions of years to become safe.

Nuclear Waste Management

Nuclear power is the only power that fully accounts for all of its waste. You can treat the waste to the point where it can be used as any regular waste. The amount of radioactive waste is much less compared to the radioactive waste of fossil fuels.