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Thread: Why don't we dump nuclear waste in Death Valley?

  1. #1 Why don't we dump nuclear waste in Death Valley? 
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    I've been thinking about this a while. What safer place could you imagine to put nuclear waste than a desert below sea level? Even in the worst case of a leak, the waste can't possibly get into ground water and flow to any other region, because it would have to flow uphill. I don't know about the winds, but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be very effective at spreading an airborne leak. The flat terrain makes it easy to defend militarily, in case some terrorists wanted to try to break in and steal nuclear material.


    So, we've got this incredibly safe place we can put all the waste we want. Since Uranium is only 5 times as plentiful as gold, it's impossible that we would ever generate more waste than we can store there.


     

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  3. #2 Re: Why don't we dump nuclear waste in Death Valley? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I've been thinking about this a while. What safer place could you imagine to put nuclear waste than a desert below sea level? Even in the worst case of a leak, the waste can't possibly get into ground water and flow to any other region, because it would have to flow uphill. I don't know about the winds, but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be very effective at spreading an airborne leak. The flat terrain makes it easy to defend militarily, in case some terrorists wanted to try to break in and steal nuclear material.


    So, we've got this incredibly safe place we can put all the waste we want. Since Uranium is only 5 times as plentiful as gold, it's impossible that we would ever generate more waste than we can store there.
    Well first off theres totally messing up the ecosystem of the valley, and there is a unique ecosystem there. Then there is the problem of the elements, blistering day temps, and feeezing night temps wreak havoc with containers of all sorts, there is the fact that its the lowest place in north America so water will drain into the valley any time there is precipitation, then evaporate and/see into the ground water systems spreading trace radioactive material.


     

  4. #3 Re: Why don't we dump nuclear waste in Death Valley? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I've been thinking about this a while. What safer place could you imagine to put nuclear waste than a desert below sea level? Even in the worst case of a leak, the waste can't possibly get into ground water and flow to any other region, because it would have to flow uphill. I don't know about the winds, but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be very effective at spreading an airborne leak. The flat terrain makes it easy to defend militarily, in case some terrorists wanted to try to break in and steal nuclear material.


    So, we've got this incredibly safe place we can put all the waste we want. Since Uranium is only 5 times as plentiful as gold, it's impossible that we would ever generate more waste than we can store there.
    Well first off theres totally messing up the ecosystem of the valley, and there is a unique ecosystem there. Then there is the problem of the elements, blistering day temps, and feeezing night temps wreak havoc with containers of all sorts, there is the fact that its the lowest place in north America so water will drain into the valley any time there is precipitation, then evaporate and/see into the ground water systems spreading trace radioactive material.

    How can it seep into a ground water system other than just its own? I mean, how would water ever flow out of death valley? I see your point about evaporation, though.
     

  5. #4  
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    Death Valley will likely be partially covered by farmland and housing developments over the next several decades, leaving some ecological reserve as Paleoichneum said.

    The Russians formed some cool glass-walled chambers with underground nukes. I'm unsure if they're used for anything.
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  6. #5  
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    Not too crazy about making a National Park into a nuke waste land.

    It's actually a rich ecosystem with unique species highly specialize for the conditions there such as the various pupfish which live in it warm briny waters.
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    I don't think there would be any issues with dropping it in an undersea volcano vent. Let the earth recycle it.

    As for the desert, I say absolutely no. I am personally in favor of either developing Solar Cell farms there, or building a large aquaduct system from both fresh water and sea water, have a large inland sea, and develop communities. Maybe both.

    Any dowsides?
     

  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojax
    How can it seep into a ground water system other than just its own? I mean, how would water ever flow out of death valley? I see your point about evaporation, though.
    The valley is intersected by at least two major strike slip faults, the Death Valley Fault and the Furnace Creek Faults. These combined with inflowing water from sources such as the Amargosa River result in a fair amount of water cycling though the area that would transport radioactive material out of the valley and into underground water systems.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    I don't think there would be any issues with dropping it in an undersea volcano vent. Let the earth recycle it.
    How does one get the material into an undersea volcanic vent? The geologic conditions result in the lava cooling as soon as it hits the water so there is no way to get it into the vent. even if you did all that you accomplish is that the material is trapped in a layer of rock on the surface of the seafloor and very easily disrupted releasing the material to the currents.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    As for the desert, I say absolutely no. I am personally in favor of either developing Solar Cell farms there, or building a large aquaduct system from both fresh water and sea water, have a large inland sea, and develop communities. Maybe both.

    Any dowsides?
    There are some small solar developments in the area already I think.

    Filling the valley with water again results in the complete loss of a unique ecosystem and National Park.
     

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    Dead valley aint that dead. There is life present over there. So if nuclear waste is put there the ecosystem tthere will be destroyed.
     

  10. #9  
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    There are three qualities needed for a nuclear waste dumping ground.

    1. No people living nearby.
    2. Geologically stable. We need some assurance that no volcano or earthquake is likely to spread the waste in the roughly 10,000 years needed for it to decay to safe levels.
    3. Ultra arid. We need next to no rainfall to corrode containers and spread the waste.

    Death valley meets items 1 and 3. Its geological stability is a little more problematic.

    I have always said that the ideal is the Simpson Desert in Australia.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson_Desert
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by kakarot
    Dead valley aint that dead. There is life present over there. So if nuclear waste is put there the ecosystem tthere will be destroyed.
    In what way do you think the ecosystem will be destroyed?
     

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    I agree with Harold. Dumping nuclear waste will not kill off ecosystems. There are enormous deposits of radioactive material around the Earth right now, and they do not kill anything. Some of these, we mine for uranium.

    If nuclear waste is dumped in a responsible manner, it will have no effect on local ecosystems above and beyond that of natural deposits of radioactive ores.
     

  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    I agree with Harold. Dumping nuclear waste will not kill off ecosystems. There are enormous deposits of radioactive material around the Earth right now, and they do not kill anything. Some of these, we mine for uranium.

    If nuclear waste is dumped in a responsible manner, it will have no effect on local ecosystems above and beyond that of natural deposits of radioactive ores.
    Two points on that:

    The deposits that are mined are underground, and found by the stringers of ore that reach the surface, thus the radioactivity is insulated from reaching the surface by the enclosing wallrock of the ore systems.

    one is that the deposits that are mined are , for the majority, of much, much lower radioactive levels then what radioactive waste is. Thus the exposure level is much greater with waste then with almost any naturally occuring deposit.

    Any large scale depositing of anything will disrupt the ecosystem that is present in the valley, and depositing waste even more so with the real possibility of breach an contamination from the containment vessels.
     

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    Death Valley is a National Park. Whatever the ecological pros and cons, it would take a major change in the law which would set a terrible precedent. Once we change the law to allow a nuclear waste dump there we could move on to dam Yosemite Valley to provide much-needed water for LA; next we could log out all the pine trees in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a terrible idea.

    Also I don’t think any posters have yet mentioned the timescale involved in nuclear waste storage. Death Valley may be dry now, but who knows what it will be like in 1,000 years or 10,000 years. Do we care?
     

  15. #14  
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    Paleo

    Dumping nuclear waste in the Simpson Desert (or wherever) would also be underground. It is well within human capability to dig a hole one kilometre deep, and perhaps several kilometres in diameter - enough for all humankind's nuclear waste for 1000 years. As we place the waste down deep, we back fill. In fact, there are a number of pre-existing holes like that, from worked out mines, that could be used.

    And the greater levels of radioactivity are short term. High radiation comes from isotopes with short half lives. Normally, this is taken care of by placing the waste in storage ponds for a few years, till those isotopes have decayed. After that, the level of radioactivity is way down. If it needs to be reduced still further for storage, that can easily be accomplished by diluting the waste with inert material.

    As far as disturbing ecosystems is concerned, the only disturbance will come from the digging of the hole. And that will be no worse than a million other human activities that involve disturbing the ground. Once the hole is back filled, the radioactive meterial will be 500 metres plus below the surface, and will have zero effect on surface ecologies.

    No, the real reason why this method of disposing of waste is not used is human stupidity, and idiotic politics. For example : Australia has the incredible opportunity of charging billions of dollars to nuclear power users by burying their waste in a place, and under conditions that cause no harm. And the least suggestion of such an act will have them out protesting on the streets in their thousands! In this, the Ozzies are being no worse than anyone else. The world is full of ignorant politicos.
     

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    Of course, the nuclear waste right now is stored in fuel pools at nuclear stations all around the country. The ecosystems are doing fine there. People too.
     

  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    I agree with Harold. Dumping nuclear waste will not kill off ecosystems. There are enormous deposits of radioactive material around the Earth right now, and they do not kill anything. Some of these, we mine for uranium.
    This id true.

    At times, I have wondered, why don't we just make it back into an ore, or dilute it with other metals and scatter it in places where it causes no harm. Now Iunderstand the differing elements being made as it breaks down, but if it's diluted enough, shouldn't ity's toxicity be like it was before we mine it?
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Of course, the nuclear waste right now is stored in fuel pools at nuclear stations all around the country. The ecosystems are doing fine there. People too.
    Agreed. And now we understand why the containers of the older waste would break down, and can stop that from happening too.
     

  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    There are three qualities needed for a nuclear waste dumping ground.

    1. No people living nearby.
    2. Geologically stable. We need some assurance that no volcano or earthquake is likely to spread the waste in the roughly 10,000 years needed for it to decay to safe levels.
    3. Ultra arid. We need next to no rainfall to corrode containers and spread the waste.

    Death valley meets items 1 and 3. Its geological stability is a little more problematic.

    I have always said that the ideal is the Simpson Desert in Australia.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson_Desert
    I do not know that condition 1 is necessary. Why not just properly safeguard the site.
     

  20. #19  
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    free radical

    Technically, you are correct. I was thinking politically.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Death Valley is a National Park. Whatever the ecological pros and cons, it would take a major change in the law which would set a terrible precedent. Once we change the law to allow a nuclear waste dump there we could move on to dam Yosemite Valley to provide much-needed water for LA; next we could log out all the pine trees in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a terrible idea.

    Also I don’t think any posters have yet mentioned the timescale involved in nuclear waste storage. Death Valley may be dry now, but who knows what it will be like in 1,000 years or 10,000 years. Do we care?
    In recent geologic times that entire valley was flooded.
    Even now parts of the valley become flooded during heavy rain years, as it did during 2005. We certainly can't predict the rainfall of the surrounding high terrain for the next few ten thousand years.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/ima...m5_2005040.jpg

    Others already raised the geological instability of the area.
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  22. #21  
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    There are some very deep mines in remote northern Canada proposed as dump sites. But its a service you'd pay for.

    If it's depleted uranium you can quasi-legally wash your hands of it as ordnance in war. The lawyers are happy with this solution.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    If it's depleted uranium you can quasi-legally wash your hands of it as ordnance in war. The lawyers are happy with this solution.
    Not true.

    There are two types of depleated uranium. The type used for warfare is primarily U238 that remains after extracting most the U235 out of it. Depleted uranium from recycling nuclear waste is not used for tank armor or weapons because it has numerous other radioatcive elements in it. It is still "hot" styuff.
     

  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    It is still "hot" styuff.
    So is a nuclear warhead, and that's legal. You could drop your hot potatoes into Cuba.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
     

  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    It is still "hot" styuff.
    So is a nuclear warhead, and that's legal. You could drop your hot potatoes into Cuba.
    Please don't change the subject. It is rather unlikely that nuclear bombs will be dropped again by us, and nuclear waste is not used to make depleted uranium rounds or armor. We are off topic enough with this aspect.

    You cannot get rid of nuclear waste that easily. Some can be separated for medical isotopes, and is, but there is still substantial unusable waste.

    Oh...

    Depleted uranium is also used as counterweights in commercial airliners. That's how safe it is.
     

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    I'm pointing out a legal solution of exporting hazardous waste, or perhaps laundering it through varying definitions as it moves between borders.

    Every country on Earth has ratified the Basel Convention except USA, Haiti, and Afghanistan - why is that? Why is Dell boasting that they don't dump waste in developing countries? And as confession, I should add that Vancouver Canada pays to dump waste to the 'States, and we don't care where it goes once our hands are clean.
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  27. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I'm pointing out a legal solution of exporting hazardous waste, or perhaps laundering it through varying definitions as it moves between borders.
    We don't need such legal solutions. We need real solutions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Every country on Earth has ratified the Basel Convention except USA, Haiti, and Afghanistan
    You like placing us with such company?

    I would suggest that when the Secretary of State (or who ever) signs such an agreement, it isn't law for us until the president and senate signs on to it as Article II of the constitution requires. We are not dictatorial. At least not yet.

    You are also wrong on the pont about radification. There are 192 UN members, only 172 are part of the Basel Convention. Therefore, there are 23 members who have not radified it Not just 3.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    - why is that? Why is Dell boasting that they don't dump waste in developing countries?
    It makes them look good for cunsumers, and maybe they really do think green?
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    And as confession, I should add that Vancouver Canada pays to dump waste to the 'States, and we don't care where it goes once our hands are clean.
    What type of waste? That is important you know. Is it the raw sewage waste that we have facilities for, where we break it down with bacteria and generate power? I think I heard something about that a decade or so ago.

    Now one thing. Why are you interjecting this topic here when it doesn't even address radioactive waste?
     

  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    Why are you interjecting this topic here when it doesn't even address radioactive waste?
    There:
    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    We don't need such legal solutions. We need real solutions.
    Thank you.


    Personally, I like Harold's "solution" best. Status quo. Though maybe better maintain the storage pools apart from potential reactor accident?
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    free radical

    Technically, you are correct. I was thinking politically.
    This is a really big concern. There was an initiative a few years ago to start storing waste in the mountains of Utah State while I was living there. Those people were totally up in arms about it, and I thinking : if not the mountains in Utah, then where? Shall we just not dump it?

    As far as I know, the only alternative is to keep letting it pile up in the power plants where it is generated, often near populated areas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    I don't think there would be any issues with dropping it in an undersea volcano vent. Let the earth recycle it.
    I wonder if Crater Lake in Oregon would be a good place. Of course, like Death Valley, it's a national park in a state that really values its national parks, so I'm sure it would be politically impossible.
     

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    [quote="Pong"]
    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    Personally, I like Harold's "solution" best. Status quo. Though maybe better maintain the storage pools apart from potential reactor accident?
    It wasn't a solution, just an observation that spent fuel is not instantly shriveling all life in its vicinity. Where do these notions come from?

    We have to find a permanent repository. The foolish do-nothing solution is just bequeathing the problem to our grandchildren.
     

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    In my defense I would note that I interpreted the op as having the storage being on the surface and open to the elements...
     

  32. #31  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    We have to find a permanent repository. The foolish do-nothing solution is just bequeathing the problem to our grandchildren.
    Is that really so? If the waste as is, is cheaply manageable relative to ongoing utility of generation, I don't see this as a burden.

    The "permanence" idea is an end as though we need to set up a static future. Am I making no sense? :?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Am I making no sense? :?
    Yes.
     

  34. #33  
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    Your values seem to have shifted:
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Of course, the nuclear waste right now is stored in fuel pools at nuclear stations all around the country. The ecosystems are doing fine there. People too.
    Are you now saying this particular cost is too great for our grandchildren to bear?

    Can you think of better investments in our grandchildren's future, specifically to reduce overhead or increase efficiency of nuclear power?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
     

  35. #34  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    I don't think there would be any issues with dropping it in an undersea volcano vent. Let the earth recycle it.
    I wonder if Crater Lake in Oregon would be a good place. Of course, like Death Valley, it's a national park in a state that really values its national parks, so I'm sure it would be politically impossible.
    Ha. Ha.

    I often wonder if you guys purposly twist what one says, or if you don't know the difference. Am I to think when someone responds this way that they are intentionally trying to piss me off, or that they are ignorant? What should I think when someone responds as you have?

    Do you know what an under sea volcano vent is?

    Is Crater Lake in the sea?

    Sure, there is marine life around these vents, but being as heavy as nuclear waste is, it will sink in the magma. All that needs to be done is that it is incased in somthing that will resist melting until it sinks a reasonable distance in the magma. Now not all vents lead to magma, and if you want to appear smarter than me, then call me on the truth. Not some insinuation of something else, to make points will the ignorant.

    Wiki: Submarine Volcano

    The presence of water can greatly alter the characteristics of a volcanic eruption and the explosions made by these. For instance, the increased thermal conductivity of water causes magma to cool and solidify much more quickly than in a terrestrial eruption, often turning it into a volcanic glass. Below ocean depths of about 2243 meters where the pressure exceeds 218 atmospheres, the critical pressure of water, it can no longer boil; it becomes a supercritical fluid. Without boiling sounds, deep-sea volcanoes are difficult to detect at great distances using hydrophones.
    To clarify, I mean to drop in in magma where it can sink back into the earth's core for recycling.

    Crater lake:

     

  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    but being as heavy as nuclear waste is, it will sink in the magma. All that needs to be done is that it is incased in somthing that will resist melting until it sinks a reasonable distance in the magma. Now not all vents lead to magma, and if you want to appear smarter than me, then call me on the truth. Not some insinuation of something else, to make points will the ignorant.
    Im still wanting to know how you are getting the material through the thick shell of rock covering the vent.

    And how do you force the material to go against the outward flow of liquid magma/lava and "sink".
     

  37. #36  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Your values seem to have shifted:
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Of course, the nuclear waste right now is stored in fuel pools at nuclear stations all around the country. The ecosystems are doing fine there. People too.
    Are you now saying this particular cost is too great for our grandchildren to bear?
    I don't know Harold's thoughts on the topic, but has science yet come up with a solution where we can encapsulate it, modify it, or something else, then just leave it alone someplace? I haven't followed this area of science, but there are so many potential problems. If we cannot dump it someplace that we know will not harm the ecosystem, then the best we have is to store it somplace where it can be monitored.

    What would you store it it? As the isotopes each break down, we get so many combination of chemicals. I don't think there is anything that can resist all the chemicals made. One of the different chemicals created during storage is HF It is a weak acids when mixed with water. Ever deal with HydroFlouric Acid? Though a weak acid, there are serious health concerns with it, and it dissolves glass. If you get it in your body, it leached the calcium out or your bones. I've delt with this nasty stuff in the semiconductor industry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Can you think of better investments in our grandchildren's future, specifically to reduce overhead or increase efficiency of nuclear power?
    Why take away the jobs for them of monitoring the containment?

    If you know of a viable solution, I'm all ears. Even beyond the politics of this, there isn't any easy solution. My though of dropping it in the magma of under sea volcanos would be a costly venture as well. How many trips would it take. Then we could only do it once with a small amount until we monitored the area to see that it actually sank in the magma and didn't make it back up to the ocean floor. We wouldn't want to continue doing this if it harmed the marine life. On test site, then a wait for at least a year, with the cost of undersea expeditions to monitor it.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Are you now saying this particular cost is too great for our grandchildren to bear?
    What I'm saying is, put it in Yucca mountain and stop the politicking. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Yucca mountain. It was just a victim of politics. Onsite storage is not a permanent solution, it just puts the permanent solution off until some time in the future. It is gutless.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    but being as heavy as nuclear waste is, it will sink in the magma. All that needs to be done is that it is incased in somthing that will resist melting until it sinks a reasonable distance in the magma. Now not all vents lead to magma, and if you want to appear smarter than me, then call me on the truth. Not some insinuation of something else, to make points will the ignorant.
    Im still wanting to know how you are getting the material through the thick shell of rock covering the vent.

    And how do you force the material to go against the outward flow of liquid magma/lava and "sink".
    Well, maybe vent isn't the right place. I am assuming that some vents are large enough to do this, that there is no need to break through anything. Yes, I could be wrong. If not a vent, there are placed in the ocean where lava does flow out. even if a vent isn't the right solution, my thought is to find a place deep enough with magma that it ends up going deeper because of specific gravity.

    Not an easy venture to find the right place.

    Would you consider this an idea to possible modify and persue?
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    I don't know Harold's thoughts on the topic, but has science yet come up with a solution where we can encapsulate it, modify it, or something else, then just leave it alone someplace?
    Yes. It's called vitrification. After 10,000 years or so, it becomes essentially no more toxic than the ore it was mined from. That's not good enough, apparently, and the Supreme Court ruled that it had to be essentially harmless. That takes about a million years. So it seems that we expect nuclear power to actually leave the environment cleaner than it started.

    I don't get the concern for the "ecosystem." The only concern with high level nuclear waste is possible ingestion by humans, increasing the risk of cancer, etc. The wildlife is thriving in the so-called "dead zone" of Chernobyl, where humans are not allowed to go. You can't find a worse way than that to "dispose" of spent fuel.
     

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    Any site chosen for nuclear waste disposal will require a transportation infrastructure and very extensive surface facilities. The surface facilities planned (but not built as far as I know) at Yucca Mountain comprise five or six large buildings, and several smaller buildings. Quoting from the DOE "Some of these buildings will be the size of a sports arena — 400 feet long and several stories high. Buildings in which nuclear materials are processed will be designed to withstand major earthquakes, tornadoes, and acts of sabotage."

    Additionally, roads and/or rail access will be required.

    The suggestions above that we could simply drop it in a lake or bury it in a national park bear no relation to what is required in the real world.
     

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    Well, the vitrification process appears to be good, but with the expected "thousands of years" containment... I think that might be hyped. they took all the water out, but hydrogen is still produced. Other gasses will be produced too. Just how long until a perfectly sealed contained has too mush pressure? Mybe they are thick enough, but now, how many will not tolerate this?

    I don't see it as a process we can do, and forget about afterawrds.

    Maybe encapsulate them with the vitrification, then drop them in undersea magma?

    Hell, for that matter, if they really will last thousands of years, what harm would it be to drop them on the ocean floor, in the deepest tranches?
     

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    Cobra

    The problem with the ocean floor is that containers lose their integrity over time, and the contents leak out. As I said before, if we want to dispose of waste in the ocean, much better to dissolve in acid, dilute massively, and spread it over the ocean, so that it ends up in extreme dilution. If, over a thousand years, we dumped a million tonnes of radio-isotopes in the ocean, the final concentration would be one part per trillion, which is harmless.

    As Harold pointed out, in 10,000 years, the waste would be of low level radioactivity, and no longer a cause for concern. As I pointed out earlier, low levels of radioactivity are harmless. If you live in those parts of Colorado where you are surrounded by granite mountains, you will be exposed to 100 times the background radioactivity compared to living away from granite. And guess what? The people living in the mountains, on average, live several years longer!

    However, I still suggest the best method is to bury waste in a very deep hole in an area away from people, ultra arid, and geologically stable. The best places are certain parts of southern Africa, and a whole lot of Australia. I prefer Australia, since some areas are almost lifeless, and a thousand kms from the nearest large population centre. It is also, away from the eastern seacoast, extremely geologically stable. To be sure the waste will be undisturbed for 10,000 years is easy in those parts of Australia, such as the Simpson Desert, where even the desert dwelling aboriginals avoid.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    Im still wanting to know how you are getting the material through the thick shell of rock covering the vent.

    And how do you force the material to go against the outward flow of liquid magma/lava and "sink".
    Well, maybe vent isn't the right place. I am assuming that some vents are large enough to do this, that there is no need to break through anything. Yes, I could be wrong. If not a vent, there are placed in the ocean where lava does flow out. even if a vent isn't the right solution, my thought is to find a place deep enough with magma that it ends up going deeper because of specific gravity.

    Not an easy venture to find the right place.

    Would you consider this an idea to possible modify and pursue?
    I think you are missing an essential part of the problem I am looking at. ANY liquid rock which comes to the surface is immediately quenched and cooled by the much colder ocean water. Thus there will never be liquid lava in contact with ocean waters. Thus you would have to drill through the rock and insert the material in the very short time before the liquid, and thus dense, melt is quenched.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    if we want to dispose of waste in the ocean, much better to dissolve in acid, dilute massively, and spread it over the ocean, so that it ends up in extreme dilution. If, over a thousand years, we dumped a million tonnes of radio-isotopes in the ocean, the final concentration would be one part per trillion, which is harmless.
    That is "so crazy it might just work". Genius.

    We have way too many ships sailing empty to load at distant ports. These could carry waste diluted with seawater, in the bilges, and steadily eject that along their routes though international waters. They could even run a hose to inject the water hundreds of meters down.

    Your plan is very do-able - practically, politically, economically.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    you would have to drill through the rock and insert the material in the very short time before the liquid, and thus dense, melt is quenched.
    Ah, but what if you do this on land? Say Hawaii. Open lava there, or, excavate nearby for stable opening. The nuclear waste we drop in should sink like a brick in a lake... a very deep lake.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Cobra

    The problem with the ocean floor is that containers lose their integrity over time, and the contents leak out. As I said before, if we want to dispose of waste in the ocean, much better to dissolve in acid, dilute massively, and spread it over the ocean, so that it ends up in extreme dilution. If, over a thousand years, we dumped a million tonnes of radio-isotopes in the ocean, the final concentration would be one part per trillion, which is harmless.
    The extreme dilute method works for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    As Harold pointed out, in 10,000 years, the waste would be of low level radioactivity, and no longer a cause for concern. As I pointed out earlier, low levels of radioactivity are harmless. If you live in those parts of Colorado where you are surrounded by granite mountains, you will be exposed to 100 times the background radioactivity compared to living away from granite. And guess what? The people living in the mountains, on average, live several years longer!
    I was thinking about that overnight. I would like to agree with that, but it is wrong. The half-life for Uranium 235 is 703,800,000 years. If we are to dispose of these on the open nature, then we need to dilute them dramatically.

    Now maybe the application for this method would be to contain the elements that U235 breaks down to. The waste to reuse the U235. These are shorter lived elements, and if most the U235 is removed and reused, leaving only trace levels, then I like this method. Otherwise, an expected 10,000 years containment is too short a period in my opinion.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    However, I still suggest the best method is to bury waste in a very deep hole in an area away from people, ultra arid, and geologically stable. The best places are certain parts of southern Africa, and a whole lot of Australia. I prefer Australia, since some areas are almost lifeless, and a thousand kms from the nearest large population centre. It is also, away from the eastern seacoast, extremely geologically stable. To be sure the waste will be undisturbed for 10,000 years is easy in those parts of Australia, such as the Simpson Desert, where even the desert dwelling aboriginals avoid.
    Well, even in semingly lifeless environments, there can be important ecosystems. I still think the best method if to find an open place to the earths core, like an undersea magma flow, where gravity and molten lava will take care of it for us to get it away from us, and dilute it.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    I think you are missing an essential part of the problem I am looking at. ANY liquid rock which comes to the surface is immediately quenched and cooled by the much colder ocean water. Thus there will never be liquid lava in contact with ocean waters. Thus you would have to drill through the rock and insert the material in the very short time before the liquid, and thus dense, melt is quenched.
    This is true, but there are also places where it stays molten. It is in the deeper places where the water still remains a liquid, but heats up dramatically.

    Like I said, it's difficult to get that deep. Have to use robotic submersibles and a very long cable for power and control.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Ah, but what if you do this on land? Say Hawaii. Open lava there, or, excavate nearby for stable opening. The nuclear waste we drop in should sink like a brick in a lake... a very deep lake.
    That may work rather well, until the magma decides to have a hiccup, eruption, etc. I don't like that even with slim odds of occuring. It only takes once. That's why I prefer the deep ocean magma.
     

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    For those dreaming up unconventional solutions for high level waste disposal, I wonder what you think is wrong with the conventional solutions. What is your nightmare scenario, and why do you think said nightmare scenario is credible?
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    [I was thinking about that overnight. I would like to agree with that, but it is wrong. The half-life for Uranium 235 is 703,800,000 years. If we are to dispose of these on the open nature, then we need to dilute them dramatically.
    U-235 is the fuel, not the waste product. It looks like you want to clean up the existing radioactive materials that are already in the earth.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    I think you are missing an essential part of the problem I am looking at. ANY liquid rock which comes to the surface is immediately quenched and cooled by the much colder ocean water. Thus there will never be liquid lava in contact with ocean waters. Thus you would have to drill through the rock and insert the material in the very short time before the liquid, and thus dense, melt is quenched.
    This is true, but there are also places where it stays molten. It is in the deeper places where the water still remains a liquid, but heats up dramatically.

    Like I said, it's difficult to get that deep. Have to use robotic submersibles and a very long cable for power and control.
    HUH?! The deeper the water the colder the water, and as such the quicker any molten rock that comes to the surface in those places will cool and solidify!

    Please provide a reference for liquid lava in direct contact with water not quickly solidifying.
     

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    Cobra said :

    "I was thinking about that overnight. I would like to agree with that, but it is wrong."

    I think you read something into my comment that was not there. I did not mentiona half lives. My point was simply to illustrate the fact that a small increase in background radioactivity was harmless to people.

    Generally speaking, a long half life isotope spits out less radioactivity than a short half life one, but it does it for a much longer period. Short half life isotopes are more radioactive per gram of substance. That is why nuclear waste is kept underwater for some years before any serious attempt at disposal. The level of radioactivity drops quite quickly. Of course, it still takes 10,000 years to get to a harmless level.

    In relation to disposal in magma below the Earth's crust.

    Absolutely. If we could do it, that would be by far the best disposal method. The problem is that we cannot, at this point in time, do it. Perhaps in 100 years or so, we will be able to dig a hole down 20 kms and inject waste into the magma???? There is no way it can be accomplished by simply dropping it onto a natural feature, such as a volcano or tectonic plate junction. We would simply get our waste returned to us, and probably scattered to the point where we could not dispose of it harmlessly.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    For those dreaming up unconventional solutions for high level waste disposal, I wonder what you think is wrong with the conventional solutions. What is your nightmare scenario, and why do you think said nightmare scenario is credible?
    Harold, I agree. Salt domes are one possible approach. The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico is already in operation for military nuclear waste. Germany is using salt domes too I believe. No new technology needed and the risks can be evaluated rather than guessed at. What do you think?
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    This is true, but there are also places where it stays molten. It is in the deeper places where the water still remains a liquid, but heats up dramatically.

    Like I said, it's difficult to get that deep. Have to use robotic submersibles and a very long cable for power and control.
    HUH?! The deeper the water the colder the water, and as such the quicker any molten rock that comes to the surface in those places will cool and solidify!

    Please provide a reference for liquid lava in direct contact with water not quickly solidifying.
    Well, you get enough hot area, and the water will be super hot rather than cold. I forget how hot it gets, but at the really deep area's, it doesn't boil. It gets hundreds of Celcius easily, and I forget how hot it gets.

    I've see video footage on TLC, Discovery, or some other channel. Yes, red magma.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Generally speaking, a long half life isotope spits out less radioactivity than a short half life one, but it does it for a much longer period. Short half life isotopes are more radioactive per gram of substance. That is why nuclear waste is kept underwater for some years before any serious attempt at disposal. The level of radioactivity drops quite quickly. Of course, it still takes 10,000 years to get to a harmless level.
    OK, I think I see your point of view. May actually be on to something.

    I agree, it's the short lived materials that are the most radioactive. U235 isn't as lethal as some produced in the waste. In reality, U235 isn't real harmful, and takes little to shield it. Would I be correct that it still produces the nastier isotopes, but when placed in the glass form, it reacts more slowly? At least slow compared to the intention rate in a reactor?
     

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    Cobra

    U235 in nature does not produce much in the way of nasty isotopes. That is a function of the high neutron density inside a nuclear reactor. The decay chain is reasonably complex, but the longer lasting isotopes are not particularly nasty. The bad ones do not last long.
    http://hepwww.rl.ac.uk/UKDMC/Radioac...235_chain.html

    And no. Putting it in glass form (vitrification) does not change the speed of decay. There is, as yet, no practical method for changing the rate of decay.

    On salt domes.
    The question is still there. Does the salt dome selected meet the three requirements.
    1. Far from any population centre (for political reasons)
    2. Ultra arid - extreme desert conditions, so that no water can corrode and leach.
    3. Geologically stable, so that no earthquake or volcanic eruption is likely within 10,000 years.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    Would I be correct that it still produces the nastier isotopes, but when placed in the glass form, it reacts more slowly? At least slow compared to the intention rate in a reactor?
    The decay of U-235 with a half-life of 703 million years, pertains to alpha decay, which produces Thorium-231 plus an alpha particle. Thorium-231 in turn decays into a bunch of other isotopes, ending up with Lead-207, which is stable.
    http://www.ead.anl.gov/pub/doc/natural-decay-series.pdf
    Fission is different, and happens when the U-235 nucleus is hit by a neutron, which can happen naturally but much faster in a reactor where there are a lot of neutrons of the right energy level. This produces U-236 which splits into Barium-141 plus Krypton-92 which in turn decay into a bunch of other radioactive isotopes (fission products).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fission
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fission_products
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    This is true, but there are also places where it stays molten. It is in the deeper places where the water still remains a liquid, but heats up dramatically.

    Like I said, it's difficult to get that deep. Have to use robotic submersibles and a very long cable for power and control.
    HUH?! The deeper the water the colder the water, and as such the quicker any molten rock that comes to the surface in those places will cool and solidify!

    Please provide a reference for liquid lava in direct contact with water not quickly solidifying.
    Well, you get enough hot area, and the water will be super hot rather than cold. I forget how hot it gets, but at the really deep area's, it doesn't boil. It gets hundreds of Celsius easily, and I forget how hot it gets.

    I've see video footage on TLC, Discovery, or some other channel. Yes, red magma.
    OK first please use the correct term, its molten rock in the surface of the earth, thus it is lava not magma. Magma is the term for molten rock blow the surface of the earth only.

    Depth of the water will not change the dynamics of the water. As soon as it heats it will rise up in the water column and cold water will move in to replace it creating convection over the heated area. This will cool the lava and it will harden into rock.

    The footage I have see of underwater lava eruptions is of short quickly quenched spurts of lava breaking through crusts forming ropes and pillows of basalt.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    On salt domes.
    The question is still there. Does the salt dome selected meet the three requirements.
    1. Far from any population centre (for political reasons)
    WIPP is 25 miles from Carlsbad and probably much closer to the suburbs and some isolated homes. Roads run nearby. The facility in Germany is 2 miles from a village.

    2. Ultra arid - extreme desert conditions, so that no water can corrode and leach.
    I'm no geologist but I suggest that surface aridity is somewhat irrelevant to the salt domes hundreds of metres underground. Northern Germany is hardly an arid zone. (The German facility has other problems though, and was started under the communists, who probably didn't worry too much about public opinion.) The salt deposits flow plastically around the waste containers and encapsulate them. It doesn't matter if the containers corrode.

    3. Geologically stable, so that no earthquake or volcanic eruption is likely within 10,000 years.
    This exactly describes the Carlsbad facility where in fact the salt deposits have been stable for millions of years.

    The point is by comparison with using remote controlled submarines to stick the stuff down a crack in the seabed with lava flowing out, salt domes are far more manageable and predictable. There are probably other reasonable options that don't involve nonexistent technology or incalculable risk.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Ah, but what if you do this on land? Say Hawaii. Open lava there, or, excavate nearby for stable opening. The nuclear waste we drop in should sink like a brick in a lake... a very deep lake.
    That may work rather well, until the magma decides to have a hiccup, eruption, etc. I don't like that even with slim odds of occuring. It only takes once. That's why I prefer the deep ocean magma.
    I should've said sink like a lead weight in a raging river.

    Density of lava ~2.5. Density of uranium waste ~19. Provided a clear path down, no magma convections are going to play that up faster than it plummets. Even a "rapid" flow of magma feeding nearby lava eruptions. We can truly say bye bye to any uranium dropped into magma.

    Surely we can find a suitable volcanic island. A lot these islands are uninhabited, so no biggy even in event of a spill. Nuclear testing in the Pacific, puts this in perspective.

    We wouldn't have to dig deep. A good site could be 20 meters basalt over magma. Then a hole less than 1m diameter, the Navy could dig that with their new penetrator bombs if we're really scared. A refractory chute plus external heat source will keep the hole open and the magma soft. This is nothing foundry workers aren't exposed to every day. Then just keep bringing shiploads and feeding waste down the chute.


    I'm thinking partnership between the big nuclear waste producers Japan, USA, and Russia, appropriately on one of the disputed southern Kuril islets. IAEA administration and safeguarding. This constructively resolves a territorial dispute, and effectively binds interested parties in trilateral agreement.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Ah, but what if you do this on land? Say Hawaii. Open lava there, or, excavate nearby for stable opening. The nuclear waste we drop in should sink like a brick in a lake... a very deep lake.
    That may work rather well, until the magma decides to have a hiccup, eruption, etc. I don't like that even with slim odds of occuring. It only takes once. That's why I prefer the deep ocean magma.
    I should've said sink like a lead weight in a raging river.

    Density of lava ~2.5. Density of uranium waste ~19. Provided a clear path down, no magma convections are going to play that up faster than it plummets. Even a "rapid" flow of magma feeding nearby lava eruptions. We can truly say bye bye to any uranium dropped into magma.

    Surely we can find a suitable volcanic island. A lot these islands are uninhabited, so no biggy even in event of a spill. Nuclear testing in the Pacific, puts this in perspective.

    We wouldn't have to dig deep. A good site could be 20 meters basalt over magma. Then a hole less than 1m diameter, the Navy could dig that with their new penetrator bombs if we're really scared. A refractory chute plus external heat source will keep the hole open and the magma soft. This is nothing foundry workers aren't exposed to every day. Then just keep bringing shiploads and feeding waste down the chute.


    I'm thinking partnership between the big nuclear waste producers Japan, USA, and Russia, appropriately on one of the disputed southern Kuril islets. IAEA administration and safeguarding. This constructively resolves a territorial dispute, and effectively binds interested parties in trilateral agreement.
    Out of curiosity what is the source for the density of magma/lava?

    even if the material did sink it would be slowed by the flow in the opposite direction. Then the container would be melted and the radioactive material would be com a "hot" area of magma that would flow up with the rest of the melt resulting in a highly radioactive spot if rock on the surface...
     

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    There are several objections to the idea of dumping waste in a volcanic vent, or equivalent. For a start, we cannot ever be sure that the vent goes down vertically. Even if the waste sank, it might settle only a few metres below dump point, ready to be blasted out again.

    In addition, as said in the previous post, the flow of molten rock is opposite to the sinking, and very likely would carry the waste back up, and spray it around.

    The idea simply is too uncertain.
     

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    Just had my brain jogged and remembered something else that has been bothering me.

    Magma/lava is very viscous. Dont think of it like water where what you dump in falls quickly to the bottom. Think of slightly warm molasses, you dump something in and it may eventually sink to the bottom. So there is no guarantee that the waste material would sink far even if there wasnt flow in the opposite direction and the vent was vertical.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    Out of curiosity what is the source for the density of magma/lava?
    Top of google "density lava": http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives...7499.Es.r.html seems authoritative, gives references.


    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    the container would be melted
    What container? I guess you could use refractory (e.g. ceramic) container. The pellets in a spent fuel rod are normally about 1cm diameter and solid - they're made for this sort of handling.

    I was thinking conveyor leading to an automated drop. In this way you can have a radiation shield or package retracted when the uranium's about to be tipped in. This sort of machinery is commonplace.

    Again, our worries about magma would bore foundry workers to death.


    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    we cannot ever be sure that the vent goes down vertically. Even if the waste sank, it might settle only a few metres below dump point, ready to be blasted out again.
    Well, that's easy. Hire geological surveyors to station their radiation sensors around the hole, and drop a radioactive test pellet. You should be able to accurately confirm the pellet's vertical travel, until it vanishes from range.
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    I don't understand the magma argument.

    If it's moving fast, than it's probably near or on the surface, which means its likely thin, chaotic flow that might not even have a predictable endpoint and certainly no way to determine where the uranium would finally come to rest. If its thick than regardless of its density its probably not going to penetrate very far and the flow may stop entirely. In order to drop into a deep pool would require the tricky manuever of a helecopter directly over the open magma chamber--technologically challenging and too risky.

    Can you give us some examples of places where you'd do this and perhaps how it would be done?
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    Maybe I'm mistaken. I think that generally where we find magma near the surface there would be a (viscous) path down into the mantle. I think the flow is negligible besides where lava's violently spitting out, and we rarely see great volumes of that anyway. So I think that relatively dense uranium pellets dropped into the magma must - at least gradually - work their way down. They wouldn't surface unless there was some crazy forceful mantle plume driving them up.

    I didn't mean to drop uranium into naturally active lava flow or volcanic cone. I imagined excavating nearby such features, where we know the crust is thin. Then the artificial shaft can be kept open.
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    Has anyone drilled into magma from the surface?

    I know recently a major project to do something that sounds similar for geothermal power was cancelled because the company couldn't figure out the technological hurdles.
    http://www.tcetoday.com/tcetoday/new...aspx?nid=12366
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    Drills breaking through into magma has happened a couple of times. This was mentioned in a New Scientist article a few months ago. However, dumping nuclear waste into an active volcanic system would be irresponsible in the extreme. You have no idea where it will end up.

    You may recall that I stated that one of the 3 requirements for a dump site was geological stability. Can there be anything less stable than flowing magma???

    As I said before, maybe in 100 years, we will be able to make a very deep drill (20 kms) into deep and stable magma, and dump waste that way. To try it today, or any time in the near future would be enormously risky.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I didn't mean to drop uranium into naturally active lava flow or volcanic cone.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    dumping nuclear waste into an active volcanic system would be irresponsible in the extreme. You have no idea where it will end up.
    Inactive volcanoes are extremely common, and we have a very good idea which ones aren't doing anything in future.
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    On the contrary, Pong. We have no idea at all what they will do in the future . The history of vulcanology is full of examples of volcanoes considered inactive that suddenly decided to have a burp.
     

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    I don't think we're on the same page here.



    How many cities do you want to evacuate?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I don't think we're on the same page here.

    How many cities do you want to evacuate?
    Huh?

    Lets get our terminology on the same page. Pong when you say inactive do you mean dormant?

    If so there are numerous examples of unexpected eruptions.
     

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    I'm thinking anyplace the crust is thin enough to excavate, to magma. Not like on a volcano or into an open lava flow, rather likely near a hotspring or volcano, presumably above a mantle plume.

    Dormant or inactive? Well obviously we're not going to put uranium into very viscous magma if we think that same magma might eject before the uranium has sunk into oblivion. That would be a very rare situation though. There is far more magma near the surface than there is erupting lava.

    And like I said it is pretty easy to track a radioactive test pellet, confirming it goes down.
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    Pong

    the technology is not yet up to it. I am not saying that your idea lacks merit. Just that we understand the behaviour of volcanoes and of magma too poorly to be able to do what you suggest safely. The risk is too great.

    Beside which, there are other, perfectly good alternatives, at least technically. Getting the millions of microcephalic idiots to go along with the good disposal programs is another matter.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Dormant or inactive? Well obviously we're not going to put uranium into very viscous magma if we think that same magma might eject before the uranium has sunk into oblivion. That would be a very rare situation though. There is far more magma near the surface than there is erupting lava.
    Maybe Im too tired right now but I still dont understand what you are getting at with this.

    There are three broad categories for volcanos:
    Extinct (no magma present/completely dead)
    Dormant (magma chamber with magma but no surface activity, could become extinct or active)
    Active (erupting/displaying signs of active magma movement)

    I think you are using inactive to mean dormant. the only time we can be fairly certain that a volcano will not erupt is when it is extinct. Dormant volcano will always have the possibility of sudden eruptions with little to no warning (Garibaldi and Baker are both considered dormant) St Helens is waffling between active and dormant.
     

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    During the International Geophysical "year" 1957/8 oceanographers studied ' the use of the ocean depths for the dumping of radioactive wastes'. Since 1946 the US had been dumping 55 gallon drums of waste near the Fallarone Islands near San Francisco.

    Most of the drums were standard fuel drums with no protective linings of any type. Some failed to sink? so navy gunners riddled them with bullets to let water in.

    Before this dumping was halted in 1990 the US had dumped many hundreds of thousands of drums into about fifty ocean sites - almost fifty thousand of them in the Fallarones alone.

    Kunzing; The Restless Sea pp 294-305.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    Maybe Im too tired right now but I still dont understand what you are getting at with this.

    There are three broad categories for volcanos...
    Magma near surface does not have to mean volcano!

    Yeah we're all tired. Maybe someone dreams yet another plausible solution.
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    I'm sorry, but I've read so much nonsense here I am barely constraining my desire to vomit. skeptic is the only one who is making consistent sense on the subject of disposal in magma.

    Let's just make it clear. It's a dumb idea at every level from pure theory to ultimate practice. It so dumb you could put a top hat and tails on it and it would be the Fred Astaire of dumb ideas.

    Magma is on its way up and out. That's not what you want for your nuclear waste. There is not a nice conduit down into the mantle. The mantle itself is not molten. You can't 'expose' a magma chamber, in whole or in part.

    Dumb, dumb, dumb. Did I mention dumb?
     

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    Finally you chime in.

    So you're saying uranium pellets won't work their way down?
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    Ophiolite is being very rational, sensible, and scientific. Just not that diplomatic. Oh, well. I have been guilty of that also.

    However, Ophiolite is right. Let's discuss solutions to the nuclear waste problem that might work.

    What do you guys think of my number 2 solution?
    That is : allow the waste to decay for a period, say 20 years, under water. Then dissolve it in strong acid, dilute it massively, and spread it widely over the world's oceans. Since the oceans contain E18 tonnes of water, and the world produces no more than 200 tonnes of radioactive isotopes each year as nuclear waste, the final concentration in the ocean would be a lot less than one part in 10 trillion.

    Note : when I talk of a few hundred tonnes of waste isotopes, I am talking of the isotopes only. When engineers talk of nuclear waste, they often include diluents such as lumps of concrete, rather then just the isotopes. Thus they quote thousands or tens of thousands of tonnes of waste. But the bit that counts is way less.
     

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    I already proposed how shipping companies could be conscripted at negligible cost to them. But I think a large segment of the public would be opposed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Ophiolite is being very rational, sensible, and scientific. Just not that diplomatic. Oh, well. I have been guilty of that also.

    However, Ophiolite is right. Let's discuss solutions to the nuclear waste problem that might work.
    Agreed. The US taxpayers are about to pay for the failure of our representatives to address the problem.
    U.S. Can’t Cite Delays to Defend Nuclear Waste Suits
    What do you guys think of my number 2 solution?
    That is : allow the waste to decay for a period, say 20 years, under water. Then dissolve it in strong acid, dilute it massively, and spread it widely over the world's oceans. Since the oceans contain E18 tonnes of water, and the world produces no more than 200 tonnes of radioactive isotopes each year as nuclear waste, the final concentration in the ocean would be a lot less than one part in 10 trillion.

    Note : when I talk of a few hundred tonnes of waste isotopes, I am talking of the isotopes only. When engineers talk of nuclear waste, they often include diluents such as lumps of concrete, rather then just the isotopes. Thus they quote thousands or tens of thousands of tonnes of waste. But the bit that counts is way less.
    I think your solution is workable, but I believe it's illegal. It used to be done with low level radioactive waste, and was not really a serious source of pollution; however it became a political issue.
    http://www.scientiapress.com/findings/sea-based.htm
    http://www.fni.no/YBICED/98_04_stokke.pdf
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    I don't think there would be any issues with dropping it in an undersea volcano vent. Let the earth recycle it.
    I wonder if Crater Lake in Oregon would be a good place. Of course, like Death Valley, it's a national park in a state that really values its national parks, so I'm sure it would be politically impossible.
    Ha. Ha.

    I often wonder if you guys purposly twist what one says, or if you don't know the difference. Am I to think when someone responds this way that they are intentionally trying to piss me off, or that they are ignorant? What should I think when someone responds as you have?

    Do you know what an under sea volcano vent is?

    Is Crater Lake in the sea?
    Yeah, I guess I kind of jumped topics on you. I was thinking of Crater Lake because it's a really deep crater. From I understand, it's incredibly isolated too, in terms of water flow. At the deeper levels, I don't think the water undergoes very much change over time. It should keep the same temperature, give or take, and the same pressure.


    Crater lake:



    Harold's been mentioning that the "solution" right now is just to store the waste on site. Why don't we just build an above ground facility with all the same traits as the facilities that exist on site at the power plants? It becomes a permanent source of jobs for a few people, and permanent drain on the federal budget, but somehow it seems a lot safer than what we're doing already.

    From a political standpoint, it's hard to tell someone else that they ought to be out of a job. That actually might help sell it. The locals would still be concerned about having all this nuclear waste in their area, but .... it's tempered by the projected boost to their economy.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Harold's been mentioning that the "solution" right now is just to store the waste on site. Why don't we just build an above ground facility with all the same traits as the facilities that exist on site at the power plants? It becomes a permanent source of jobs for a few people, and permanent drain on the federal budget, but somehow it seems a lot safer than what we're doing already.

    From a political standpoint, it's hard to tell someone else that they ought to be out of a job. That actually might help sell it. The locals would still be concerned about having all this nuclear waste in their area, but .... it's tempered by the projected boost to their economy.
    I think we have a responsibility to deal with the waste in a more or less permanent way. This stuff is going to be around for thousands of years, so something that has to be watched continuously is not acceptable. Yucca mountain was going to create jobs in Nevada. That didn't stop Nevadans from opposing it. If you are convinced that nuclear waste is something so horrible that it will turn your state into a Mordor-like wasteland, the jobs would not seem that important.

    I don't think we can solve the problem until the general public has a better understanding of the issue. People think NUCLEAR WASTE, OMG, we have to launch it into the sun, or something like that. Look what happened when you mentioned Death Valley. Then somebody says, we can't put it there, there are living things in Death Valley. As if the waste is going to destroy all living things in Death Valley. Well, it wouldn't. Living things would thrive, just like they do around spent fuel pools, and just like they do around Chernobyl.
     

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    Yucca Mountain is not really an optimal solution to the problem, due to the geological instability of the region. A major earthquake ripping right through the facility is not probable, but could still quite easily happen.

    Sadly, governments are forced into second rate disposal actions due to the stupidity of many members of the general public. So much paranoia surrounds nuclear waste that a lot of very vocal people are not prepared to accept any solution, and will oppose any attempt at a permanent solution.

    Hence we get poor 'solutions' since the best technical solutions are not accepted politically.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Yucca Mountain is not really an optimal solution to the problem, due to the geological instability of the region. A major earthquake ripping right through the facility is not probable, but could still quite easily happen.

    Sadly, governments are forced into second rate disposal actions due to the stupidity of many members of the general public. So much paranoia surrounds nuclear waste that a lot of very vocal people are not prepared to accept any solution, and will oppose any attempt at a permanent solution.

    Hence we get poor 'solutions' since the best technical solutions are not accepted politically.
    Earthquakes can happen anywhere. The storage method would have to be seismically designed. Not very challenging in my humble opinion. It's a piece of cake, actually, considering that tall buildings can be designed to resist earthquakes. We are talking about storing very rugged containers full of solid materials.
     

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    Harold

    It is not quite that simple. Even the best designed tall building is vulnerable to a powerful quake. And underground is a totally different tale. You can provide a degree of protection with waste container design, but a very powerful quake would still be a disaster.

    Yucca Mountain is in an area of major fault lines, though they seem fairly inactive. However, they have to remain inactive for 10,000 years, which is what makes the whole thing problematic. Overall, the probability is that no disaster will happen. If a disaster did happen, the harmful consequences would almost certainly be local only, and populations centres would not be affected.

    Even so, Yucca Mountina is still not an optimal solution. Just the one forced by political stupidity.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    I think we have a responsibility to deal with the waste in a more or less permanent way. This stuff is going to be around for thousands of years, so something that has to be watched continuously is not acceptable.
    I appreciate the sentiment. For analogy, consider the ethical dilemmas homebuilders must face in everything they do: You're building the roof for a new house. You can put up cheap asphalt shingles that will last about 20 years, demand bothersome maintenance by the owners and their inheritors, and eventually need complete replacement. Or you can have the current generation invest now for a maintenance-free slate roof that will probably outlast the house itself. The first solution sees roof maintenance as an ongoing cost, that is easily worth the benefit of keeping rain out. One assumes this to remain true in future.

    Or as an engineer you could weigh the cost of stainless steel car muffler against cheaper muffler that will rust and need routine service and replacement. Remember the "car" is the nuclear industry as a whole.

    So what is the cost of maintaining these waste storage pools, compared to the benefit of nuclear power? Negligible, isn't it?
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    Pong

    Your query about waste storage pools? Are you referring to the temporary storage under water that is hapening now?

    If so, I would have to suggest that this would be about the worst possible long term 'solution.' The risk is multiplied. Each and every one of those pools is subject to disaster from a wide range of events, from the earthquakes and volcanoes already mentioned, to human pillage, terrorism, and vandalism.

    Not a smart idea.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Each and every one of those pools is subject to disaster from a wide range of events, from the earthquakes and volcanoes already mentioned, to human pillage, terrorism, and vandalism.
    That's if we don't maintain them and replace them as needed. You could just as well dismiss open roof gutters because they fill with leaves & require our grandchildren to prune trees which threaten those flimsy gutters. Do you assume our grandchildren will be less competent than us?

    I ask again: does the cost of maintaining waste pools exceed the benefit of nuclear power?
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    The answer to your question does not matter. It would be cheaper and safer to use one of the sensible long term disposal options.
     

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    Here is some info in dry cask storage and costs thereof.


    If no federal repository for spent nuclear fuel is opened in the next 100 years, the nation’s taxpayers could be on the hook to pay for on-site storage, such as the dry casks at Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.
    That cost could run anywhere between $10 billion and $26 billion.
    ...
    The GAO also conducted a scenario in which fuel stays on site for 500 years. It concluded the cost for that scenario could range between $34 billion to $225 billion.
    http://www.tmia.com/node/386
    http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-co...k-storage.html
     

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    Thanks Harold. Now we're getting some perspective.

    100 years... dry casks... $10 billion (to) $26 billion.
    And "A nuclear power plant can cost $6 billion to $7 billion to build, according to industry estimates."

    Then what are the profits over 100 years? And how are taxpayers "on the hook"?

    Since 1987 the cost of producing electricity from has decreased from 3.63 cents per KWHr to 1.68 cents per KWHr in 2004 and plant availability has increased from 67% to over 90%. The operating cost includes a charge of 0.2 cents per KW-Hr to fund the eventual disposal of waste from the reactor and for decommissioning the reactor. The price of Uranium Ore contributes approximately 0.05 cents per KWHr.
    http://nuclearinfo.net/Nuclearpower/...OfNuclearPower

    Looks to me like waste pool maintenance costs peanuts in the scheme of things. Even if we have to shuffle waste around for hundreds of years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Harold's been mentioning that the "solution" right now is just to store the waste on site. Why don't we just build an above ground facility with all the same traits as the facilities that exist on site at the power plants? It becomes a permanent source of jobs for a few people, and permanent drain on the federal budget, but somehow it seems a lot safer than what we're doing already.

    From a political standpoint, it's hard to tell someone else that they ought to be out of a job. That actually might help sell it. The locals would still be concerned about having all this nuclear waste in their area, but .... it's tempered by the projected boost to their economy.
    I think we have a responsibility to deal with the waste in a more or less permanent way. This stuff is going to be around for thousands of years, so something that has to be watched continuously is not acceptable. Yucca mountain was going to create jobs in Nevada. That didn't stop Nevadans from opposing it. If you are convinced that nuclear waste is something so horrible that it will turn your state into a Mordor-like wasteland, the jobs would not seem that important.

    I don't think we can solve the problem until the general public has a better understanding of the issue. People think NUCLEAR WASTE, OMG, we have to launch it into the sun, or something like that. Look what happened when you mentioned Death Valley. Then somebody says, we can't put it there, there are living things in Death Valley. As if the waste is going to destroy all living things in Death Valley. Well, it wouldn't. Living things would thrive, just like they do around spent fuel pools, and just like they do around Chernobyl.
    Hmm.. What if we did both? Build a permanent storage facility, and pay highly trained professionals to watch over it day and night, so that the public feels safe about it all being there?

    I think what makes them feel better about on-site storage is that there are professionals constantly watching the containers to make sure they don't do anything odd and respond if they do. Maybe people just don't trust containers to hold up when nobody is there. (Like that ceramic material is suddenly going to morph into jelly the moment somebody closes the door and turns out the light.)

    Anyway: that's how you convince a child to fall asleep in a dark room. Just have an adult there watching their closet for them, and they'll stop worrying about the bogey man. Then the answer to their "what if a container breaks?" question is: "one of our professionals/adults would see it, and do something about it."
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    professionals constantly watching the containers to make sure they don't do anything odd and respond if they do.
    Every summer thousands of individuals man forest-fire lookout towers. Nobody's saying that's a burden to the future. It's just a relatively small and indefinite maintenance cost to the parks and forest industry.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    And how are taxpayers "on the hook"?
    The taxpayers are on the hook because the federal government has been collecting fees from nuclear utilities for long term disposal of high level waste, and there is nothing to show for it. Besides that, they are responsible for any waste generated by the weapons program.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I think what makes them feel better about on-site storage is that there are professionals constantly watching the containers to make sure they don't do anything odd and respond if they do.
    I think it is just the fact that nobody really knows about it. It's not on the news every day. It looks like status quo to move the spent fuel from the fuel pool to the storage casks on the same property. And it doesn't have to be tranported through anybody's neigborhood that doesn't already have a nuclear plant.

    In reality, there is nothing about it that is less dangerous than a permanent repository. It's above ground. It's closer to populated areas. It's not stabilized in a glass matrix. It's probably not in as geologically stable an area. It's harder to defend from terrorists if it's spread out all over the place.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I think what makes them feel better about on-site storage is that there are professionals constantly watching the containers to make sure they don't do anything odd and respond if they do.
    I think it is just the fact that nobody really knows about it. It's not on the news every day. It looks like status quo to move the spent fuel from the fuel pool to the storage casks on the same property. And it doesn't have to be tranported through anybody's neigborhood that doesn't already have a nuclear plant.

    In reality, there is nothing about it that is less dangerous than a permanent repository. It's above ground. It's closer to populated areas. It's not stabilized in a glass matrix. It's probably not in as geologically stable an area. It's harder to defend from terrorists if it's spread out all over the place.
    So, what do you think could be done without a visible change to policy? Do you think we could just start up a new nuclear power plant that just conveniently happens to be located in an ideal waste-disposal area? Then, when it goes to store waste "on site", it puts them in complete ceramic containers and buries them "on site". And then maybe other plants could simply claim that their storage is filling up, and request to transfer some waste to this new power plant?
     

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    well dont the underground dwelling creatures have effect due to the nuclear radioactive waste.??
    They do!
    And thats the way the ecosystem will be destroyed. One destruction leading to another and another.....
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by kakarot
    well dont the underground dwelling creatures have effect due to the nuclear radioactive waste.??
    They do!
    And thats the way the ecosystem will be destroyed. One destruction leading to another and another.....
    What are you talking about?
     

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    He is talking a rot of kaka!
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by kakarot
    well dont the underground dwelling creatures have effect due to the nuclear radioactive waste.??
    They do!
    And thats the way the ecosystem will be destroyed. One destruction leading to another and another.....
    Kakarot, the underground storage planned for Canadian Shield will use existing mines far deeper than any little critters live. Admittedly there probably are some microorganisms down there, however their migration rate can't be much greater than moisture seepage, which is estimated to take thousands of years before any nears the surface through all that rock. The plan includes filling used shafts with clay.
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