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  1. #1 Storage of Nuclear Waste 
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    Choose one country to store nuclear waste. Say Australia.


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    I say we store it all on the grounds of the Westboro baptist church. Those nutcases would be so much more entertaining if they glowed in the dark.


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    Quote Originally Posted by kkiappagantula@gmail.com View Post
    Choose one country to store nuclear waste. Say Australia.
    Then we have to ship it via rail, air or boat. Easier just to choose a safe location, put it in casks, put a fence around it and leave it.
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    i think australia would be ideal. geologically pretty stable. politically stable. have a dedicated rail some place in northern western australia. we could make a motzer.
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    Political stablity is the big wild card. Any place you put it could be in the territory of some future war monger who will dig it up and throw it at his enemies. There is no way to prevent this.
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    I doubt the Australians want nuclear waste in their backyard.

    NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) seems to prevent any sensible plan to centralize all the waste in one place. No matter where you pick, someone lives there. No matter who lives there, they always seem to feel put upon if they are the "only ones" who have to deal with the waste.

    The absurdity of it is that those same people appear content to let a nearby nuclear power plant store a smaller amount of waste in a much less secure manner - because at least they're not "the only ones" who have to deal with it. It seems it's more important to be sure someone else is in danger also, than it is to even keep ourselves and our children safe.

    God forbid my kid's odds of being hurt by leakage drop by 99% (by storing more waste nearby, but in a safer facility), but in the process, someone else's kid's odds of getting hurt by leakage drop by 100%. It's not fair!!! Not everyone's safety improved by the same amount!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrispen Evan View Post
    ..... motzer.
    Motzer? What is that?
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    Actually, 'temporary' storage makes a lot of sense. The decay of nuclear waste into safer isotopes is exponential in rate. The first few years, or even 100 years sees the risk reducing dramatically. If the waste is stored safely in 'temporary' systems, for that length of time, then the transport and long term storage becomes a whole lot safer.

    Long term disposal requires the following.
    1. Geologically stable site. No volcano or earthquake likely for a million years or more.
    2. Aridity. The site should be desert, to prevent water getting to the waste and dissolving radioactive materials.
    3. Very low population. We do not want people living near the dump site. Mainly for political reasons, to prevent serious and irrational protest action.

    There are two places in the world where these conditions prevail. Australia, and southern Africa. Both have geologically stable deserts with next to no people anywhere near. Of the two, Australia is better due to lower population. But the Africans might be more receptiove, if enough $$$$ is offered.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Long term disposal requires the following.
    1. Geologically stable site. No volcano or earthquake likely for a million years or more.
    2. Aridity. The site should be desert, to prevent water getting to the waste and dissolving radioactive materials.
    3. Very low population. We do not want people living near the dump site. Mainly for political reasons, to prevent serious and irrational protest action.
    I don't think you need any of the above. (Maybe 3 - but for political, not practical, reasons.) The reactors at Oklo left their waste in water channels in a geologically unstable area - and after several billion years, the nuclear waste moved only a few meters.

    Vitrify the waste, store it outside on a big concrete pad, put a fence around it and you're done.
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    Billvon

    Even vitrifying waste does not render it immobile. It corrodes, erodes and leaches. Remember that it takes 10,000 years for nuclear waste to reduce its radioactivity to a point equal to natural uranium deposits. Any removal from vitrified material in that time is a serious problem. Best to store it in geologically stable areas, in desert, and away from people.
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    The best place to store spent fuel might be in the core of another reactor, possibly a travelling wave reactor?
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    motzer is slang for money. usually a lot of money.

    motsa/motsah/motzer = money. Popular Australian slang for money, now being adopted elsewhere. Variations on the same theme are motser, motzer, motza, all from the Yiddish (Jewish European/Hebrew dialect) word 'matzah', the unleavened bread originally shaped like a large flat disk, but now more commonly square (for easier packaging and shipping), eaten at Passover, which suggests earliest origins could have been where Jewish communities connected with English speakers, eg., New York or London (thanks G Kahl). Popularity is supported (and probably confused also) with 'lingua franca' medza/madza and the many variations around these, which probably originated from a different source, namely the Italian mezzo, meaning half (as in madza poona = half sovereign).

    Money Slang - English Slang
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Even vitrifying waste does not render it immobile. It corrodes, erodes and leaches.
    Yes, it can - and then pretty much stays where it is. If it stays put in a natural water channel for billions of years, we're probably OK for 10,000.

    However, to avoid even that risk, put it on a concrete pad and put a fence around it.

    Remember that it takes 10,000 years for nuclear waste to reduce its radioactivity to a point equal to natural uranium deposits. Any removal from vitrified material in that time is a serious problem. Best to store it in geologically stable areas, in desert, and away from people.
    Sure, if getting it there isn't a problem. But sometimes it is - and in such cases it is generally safer stored right where it is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    3. Very low population. We do not want people living near the dump site. Mainly for political reasons, to prevent serious and irrational protest action.
    .
    I think that is more likely to work the opposite way. If few people live there, then the presence of the waste makes them even more angry, because they feel like they're being singled out for abuse.

    It's ironic, but politically it's more likely people would agree to a situation involving multiple storage sites all around the country, just so the ones who live nearby don't feel put upon as much.

    Emotional logic != logic. But most people think with their feelings instead of their heads.
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    I still don't see why high level spent fuels should be regarded as waste, especially when it is feasible to build slow reactors that depend more on bulk instead of concentration to produce heat.
    Last edited by dan hunter; September 18th, 2014 at 11:16 PM.
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    What we will have to do with radioactive wastes it to hide them. Bury them deep in an arid place and then forget where they are. Erase the marks on the surface of the burial site and make all records of it vanish. If we don't some idiot will dig them up to throw at his neighbors.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) seems to prevent any sensible plan to centralize all the waste in one place.
    Low level nuclear waste is rather heavy. Could be like a 1000 truck loads per power plant per year. Transporting that waste would incur additional handling costs.

    The risk aspect of consolidating and shipping in bulk is, well, bulky.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    What we will have to do with radioactive wastes it to hide them. Bury them deep in an arid place and then forget where they are. Erase the marks on the surface of the burial site and make all records of it vanish. If we don't some idiot will dig them up to throw at his neighbors.
    Vinyl sheets last practically for ever when covered by soil. Concrete is another way to prevent the escape of materials -- which is very relevant and very important because atomized or dusty material spreads dramatically more readily. In a solid block the stuff will not move, for all intents and purposes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampares View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) seems to prevent any sensible plan to centralize all the waste in one place.
    Low level nuclear waste is rather heavy. Could be like a 1000 truck loads per power plant per year. Transporting that waste would incur additional handling costs.

    The risk aspect of consolidating and shipping in bulk is, well, bulky.
    1000 truckloads a year from one power plant seems unlikely. That would be close to 3 truckloads a day. Most low level waste is trimmed to reduce volume. For example a contaminated scaffold plank would be checked with a geiger counter and the contaminated section cut out to go into the contaminated waste casket and the uncontaminated part either used for something else or disposed of like regular trash. It is the same with clothing and metal parts.
    Since most of the contamination is small radioactive metal splinters and chips in the material there are also schemes to burn the waste and just encapsulate the ash instead of burying the wood or fabric.

    This does not count for the low level waste from other industies though. You also have radioactive waste in the form of mine tailings, medical treatment materials and manufacturing.
    In manufacturing it can be both from instrumentation as from the product being made.
    If you think about the fact we have been using tritium impregnated plastics for lighting remote landing strips and making smoke detectors that rely on a radioactive source you get the idea of manufactured radioactive waste.

    By the way, from the Province of Ontario, Canada:
    Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services :: Smoke Alarms
    Smoke alarms from households, containing not more than 185 kilobequerels (kBq) or 5 microcurries (uCi) of americium 241, are classified as domestic waste. A typical smoke alarm contains approximately 33.3 kBq (0.9 uCi) of americium 241. Homeowners should dispose of smoke alarms that are at the end of their useful life with their regular waste. This is in line with the provisions of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) Nuclear Substances and Radiation Devices Regulations and the Ministry of the Environment’s Regulation 347 General – Waste Management.
    If household smoke alarms are collected in larger amounts or contain radium (this will be indicated on the smoke alarm) contact the CNSC at 1-800-668-5284 to determine the proper disposal procedure.
    Last edited by dan hunter; September 20th, 2014 at 12:12 AM.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampares View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) seems to prevent any sensible plan to centralize all the waste in one place.
    Low level nuclear waste is rather heavy. Could be like a 1000 truck loads per power plant per year. Transporting that waste would incur additional handling costs.

    The risk aspect of consolidating and shipping in bulk is, well, bulky.
    For a volume that large, they would probably construct railway tracks to the site. Each car on a freight train can hold approximately one and a half truckloads of weight.

    Besides that, even if the average distance of each shipment were 2000 miles, a typical truck driver drives over 100,000 miles a year. 2000 miles x 1000 truckloads = 2 million miles of driving. So basically you're talking about hiring 20 truck drivers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    I don't think you need any of the above. (Maybe 3 - but for political, not practical, reasons.) The reactors at Oklo left their waste in water channels in a geologically unstable area - and after several billion years, the nuclear waste moved only a few meters.

    Vitrify the waste, store it outside on a big concrete pad, put a fence around it and you're done.
    Wha? Am I the only one who read the few billion years part & am confused, I mean...I dont want to jump to criticism just yet but....

    Oh also, I vote Antarctica. Not much there to screw up, cept ice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by vampares View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) seems to prevent any sensible plan to centralize all the waste in one place.
    Low level nuclear waste is rather heavy. Could be like a 1000 truck loads per power plant per year. Transporting that waste would incur additional handling costs.

    The risk aspect of consolidating and shipping in bulk is, well, bulky.
    For a volume that large, they would probably construct railway tracks to the site. Each car on a freight train can hold approximately one and a half truckloads of weight.

    Besides that, even if the average distance of each shipment were 2000 miles, a typical truck driver drives over 100,000 miles a year. 2000 miles x 1000 truckloads = 2 million miles of driving. So basically you're talking about hiring 20 truck drivers.
    Let's stop throwing around these ridiculous numbers. There were 86900 cubic meters of low level waste generated in 1990 of which 20.9% came from nuclear reactors.
    Low-Level Radioactive Waste | Radiation Protection Program| US EPA
    If there were 400 nuclear plants worldwide, that's 86900*.209/400 = 45.4 cubic meters per plant. Maybe about half a truckload.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenRatio View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    I don't think you need any of the above. (Maybe 3 - but for political, not practical, reasons.) The reactors at Oklo left their waste in water channels in a geologically unstable area - and after several billion years, the nuclear waste moved only a few meters.

    Vitrify the waste, store it outside on a big concrete pad, put a fence around it and you're done.
    Wha? Am I the only one who read the few billion years part & am confused, I mean...I dont want to jump to criticism just yet but....

    Oh also, I vote Antarctica. Not much there to screw up, cept ice.
    The reactors at Oklo were a natural prehistoric geological formation with concentrations of uranium that formed a critical mass all on their own.
    They would heat until they blew the water off as steam, and then cool because the water acted as a moderator for the reaction. When there was enough water in the formation again they would heat up again.
    I forgot how long they were estimated to be active.

    So I looked it up. Natural nuclear fission reactor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and it says 2 billion to about 1.7 billion so that gives 0.3 billion years of activity.

    But yeah, Billvon is OK to say billions of years in this case. (although saying several billion years is stretching it just a little bit)

    The Oklo reactors are actually quite interesting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kkiappagantula@gmail.com View Post
    Choose one country to store nuclear waste. Say Australia.
    Whichever country you live in would be my choice. Seriously though, whichever country produced and 'benefited' from the energy originally involved should be responsible for storing it for the next half a million years or more.
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    Also the idea that if you were going to choose one country to store all the radioactive waste it would end up being decided by corrupt politicians in favour of the lowest bidder with the biggest bribes.
    It would likely end up in a country that was extremely unstable both politically and geologically.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenRatio View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    I don't think you need any of the above. (Maybe 3 - but for political, not practical, reasons.) The reactors at Oklo left their waste in water channels in a geologically unstable area - and after several billion years, the nuclear waste moved only a few meters.

    Vitrify the waste, store it outside on a big concrete pad, put a fence around it and you're done.
    Wha? Am I the only one who read the few billion years part & am confused, I mean...I dont want to jump to criticism just yet but....

    Oh also, I vote Antarctica. Not much there to screw up, cept ice.
    The reactors at Oklo were a natural prehistoric geological formation with concentrations of uranium that formed a critical mass all on their own.
    They would heat until they blew the water off as steam, and then cool because the water acted as a moderator for the reaction. When there was enough water in the formation again they would heat up again.
    I forgot how long they were estimated to be active.

    So I looked it up. Natural nuclear fission reactor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and it says 2 billion to about 1.7 billion so that gives 0.3 billion years of activity.

    But yeah, Billvon is OK to say billions of years in this case. (although saying several billion years is stretching it just a little bit)

    The Oklo reactors are actually quite interesting.
    Well granted, I did not really do my research before putting my foot in my mouth. Figured reactors at oklo was a man made structure a few billion years ago...hints my confusion. interesting stuff though dan. Good read.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by vampares View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) seems to prevent any sensible plan to centralize all the waste in one place.
    Low level nuclear waste is rather heavy. Could be like a 1000 truck loads per power plant per year. Transporting that waste would incur additional handling costs.

    The risk aspect of consolidating and shipping in bulk is, well, bulky.
    For a volume that large, they would probably construct railway tracks to the site. Each car on a freight train can hold approximately one and a half truckloads of weight.

    Besides that, even if the average distance of each shipment were 2000 miles, a typical truck driver drives over 100,000 miles a year. 2000 miles x 1000 truckloads = 2 million miles of driving. So basically you're talking about hiring 20 truck drivers.
    Let's stop throwing around these ridiculous numbers. There were 86900 cubic meters of low level waste generated in 1990 of which 20.9% came from nuclear reactors.
    Low-Level Radioactive Waste | Radiation Protection Program| US EPA
    If there were 400 nuclear plants worldwide, that's 86900*.209/400 = 45.4 cubic meters per plant. Maybe about half a truckload.
    What!
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    That number of a "half a million" years. . . Half life is important. I look at the threat being diminished by human lifespans -- in regards to "LLW". After one-lifespan the radioactivity is a lesser threat. Multiply that by four, round up to 300 years. After 300 years LLW is a lesser concern.

    So basically you're talking about hiring 20 truck drivers.
    I'd bet $20 it's all handled by one guy. From a risk standpoint.


    My biggest concern is the atmospheric exposure, open air or ventilation. When I deal with environmental micro-organisms, they can pick up a cup of copper sulfate off of a road surface in less than 24 hours. If there are any biologically advantageous elements available -- they will take them. There is no differentiation between radioactive and non-radioactive. Oxides, elemental states and reduction of surface area would slow them down but not stop them.

    This was a surprise to me.

    Those biologically active elements are not coveted by the micro-organism but rather distributed to other lifeforms on earth.

    For most industries the micro-organisms are nothing but a boon. They'll wash the car, the windows, digest agricultural waste, scrub pollution from combustion, etc. Man made pollutants which are biologically active but not natural substances are largely subdued.

    The solution to pollution is dilution? Dilution may saturate and therefore slow uptake, but this is admission to material loss. The natural world varies wildly.

    If for some reason they are in possession of non-biologically advantageous, the material is typically deposited at/on the location from which the material came from. Dirt from soil runoff, for instance, is returned to the field from which it originated. The precision could extend a 20 mile radius. It could also be deposited on the door handle at the McDonald's. Such is the aggression and the malaise.

    Shear concentration of the micro-organisms is a concern. Releasing them in the vicinity of exposed LLW could be catastrophic; certainly irresponsible.


    My second concern is heavy water. I'm thinking it is not released -- at least on a regular basis. I assume the nuclear industry does not make concessions.


    Lastly, my final concern is the radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons testing. Nuclear weapons are to some extent less controlled than nuclear reactors. If I were to fill Nevada like a rain forest. . . radioactivity is all relative. What is the condition at any given location -- with the understanding that simple dilution/dispersal is not sufficient to prevent assimilation? 60 years cobalt-60 is a mere fraction of it's former self, but we are still a slave to the very quantity we started with. I understand that Co-60 would only be produced if there were Co "seeds" inside of the device -- but herein lies a problem.
    Last edited by vampares; September 20th, 2014 at 04:50 PM.
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    Just dump it all in the ocean. Right down in the mariana trench, aqua man wont mind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenRatio View Post
    Just dump it all in the ocean. Right down in the mariana trench, aqua man wont mind.
    What about the mermaids? They have a right to life as well. I see the typical attitudes of the Savannah mighty hunter is being expressed here.
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    From this map, my proposed map for point-of-release locations is uncomfortably close to the LLW disposal facilities in South Carolina. The release point would be out of Columbia and would profuse from the water shed and from the ocean.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by vampares View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) seems to prevent any sensible plan to centralize all the waste in one place.
    Low level nuclear waste is rather heavy. Could be like a 1000 truck loads per power plant per year. Transporting that waste would incur additional handling costs.

    The risk aspect of consolidating and shipping in bulk is, well, bulky.
    For a volume that large, they would probably construct railway tracks to the site. Each car on a freight train can hold approximately one and a half truckloads of weight.

    Besides that, even if the average distance of each shipment were 2000 miles, a typical truck driver drives over 100,000 miles a year. 2000 miles x 1000 truckloads = 2 million miles of driving. So basically you're talking about hiring 20 truck drivers.
    Let's stop throwing around these ridiculous numbers. There were 86900 cubic meters of low level waste generated in 1990 of which 20.9% came from nuclear reactors.
    Low-Level Radioactive Waste | Radiation Protection Program| US EPA
    If there were 400 nuclear plants worldwide, that's 86900*.209/400 = 45.4 cubic meters per plant. Maybe about half a truckload.
    What!
    What is your question?
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampares View Post


    From this map, my proposed map for point-of-release locations is uncomfortably close to the LLW disposal facilities in South Carolina. The release point would be out of Columbia and would profuse from the water shed and from the ocean.
    What point are you trying to make? You haven't been making any sense here.
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  35. #34  
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    Most low level waste is not very radioactive and can be disposed of in easier ways, such as a special landfill. It is the lower volumes of more radioactive waste that poses the greater problem.
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    Dump it along the trailing edge of a subduction zone.
    Its the way nature is!
    If you dont like it, go somewhere else....
    To another universe, where the rules are simpler
    Philosophically more pleasing, more psychologically easy
    Prof Richard Feynman (1979) .....

    Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!"
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Dump it along the trailing edge of a subduction zone.
    You can't be serious! Can you predict when the subduction zone will move?
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    Actually, a lot of research has been done on the subduction zone idea, only to see the idea discarded. The problem is that the containers of waste tend to 'float' above the moving subduction zone rather than being sucked down. So in the end it is just the dumping of radioactive waste at sea.
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  39. #38  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by vampares View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) seems to prevent any sensible plan to centralize all the waste in one place.
    Low level nuclear waste is rather heavy. Could be like a 1000 truck loads per power plant per year. Transporting that waste would incur additional handling costs.

    The risk aspect of consolidating and shipping in bulk is, well, bulky.
    For a volume that large, they would probably construct railway tracks to the site. Each car on a freight train can hold approximately one and a half truckloads of weight.

    Besides that, even if the average distance of each shipment were 2000 miles, a typical truck driver drives over 100,000 miles a year. 2000 miles x 1000 truckloads = 2 million miles of driving. So basically you're talking about hiring 20 truck drivers.
    Let's stop throwing around these ridiculous numbers. There were 86900 cubic meters of low level waste generated in 1990 of which 20.9% came from nuclear reactors.
    Low-Level Radioactive Waste | Radiation Protection Program| US EPA
    If there were 400 nuclear plants worldwide, that's 86900*.209/400 = 45.4 cubic meters per plant. Maybe about half a truckload.
    Bulk isn't really the limiting issue for trucking limitations. The weight is. A standard box truck can only carry about 19000 kilograms legally. A flatbed can carry 21300 kilograms. Nuclear waste is probably dense enough that the weight limitation will be reached faster than the volume limitation. (Though I don't know that for sure - just thinking of how dense Uranium is.)

    However, according to this site, the average nuclear power plant generates 20 metric tons per year. So just over one truckload per year.

    http://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/...-Nuclear-Waste

    Probably box trucks would be the best way to move it, because it's easier to hide what it is carrying in case anyone would want to hijack it. Truck companies usually take pains to keep their cargo and destinations secret, so potential criminals won't know whether its carrying boxes of cereal, or military grade ammunition, or just plain running empty to its next pickup.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Bulk isn't really the limiting issue for trucking limitations. The weight is. A standard box truck can only carry about 19000 kilograms legally. A flatbed can carry 21300 kilograms. Nuclear waste is probably dense enough that the weight limitation will be reached faster than the volume limitation. (Though I don't know that for sure - just thinking of how dense Uranium is.)
    Definitely; a truck "full" of spent fuel rods as waste would be mostly empty space even when loaded to capacity. However most low level waste is considerably lighter - pipes, filters, screens etc.
    Probably box trucks would be the best way to move it, because it's easier to hide what it is carrying in case anyone would want to hijack it. Truck companies usually take pains to keep their cargo and destinations secret, so potential criminals won't know whether its carrying boxes of cereal, or military grade ammunition, or just plain running empty to its next pickup.
    Well, one look at its tires would reveal whether it was carrying empty space or cereal vs. nuclear waste.

    But the big issue isn't hijacking - it's just plain accidents. There are 75,000 'tow-away" accidents each year with large trucks; accidents so severe that a wrecker is needed to clear the scene. Consider an accident with a truck carrying high level nuclear waste; the road could be closed for weeks, and after a few such accidents on major highways that plan would quickly come to an end. (And to answer the next objection I hear - yes, it's probably unnecessary in most cases to close the road for weeks, but the reality is that people have close to a zero tolerance for exposure to nuclear waste.)

    But perhaps drivers carrying nuclear waste will be more careful? Perhaps but it likely won't help. In 2008 there were 2600 accidents involving a truck carrying hazardous materials. (Most of these are things like medical waste and industrial chemicals.)
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    Billvon

    There have already been several train accidents where the train was carrying high level nuclear waste. The containers designed for high level nuclear waste are so solid that no leakage has ever occurred in spite of accidents. Low level nuclear waste is a lot less hazardous, and a small loss of material is not so concerning. After all, if you live in the Rocky Mountains, surrounded by granite, you will be exposed to 50 millisieverts of radiation per year, just from the granite. Low level waste in small amounts will do less harm than that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    .....
    .....Probably box trucks would be the best way to move it, because it's easier to hide what it is carrying in case anyone would want to hijack it. Truck companies usually take pains to keep their cargo and destinations secret, so potential criminals won't know whether its carrying boxes of cereal, or military grade ammunition, or just plain running empty to its next pickup.

    The reason why shipments of nuclear materials are kept secret here is to avoid protestors.1
    They have been known to blokade roads and tracks, mostly as a way to get media attention.

    1 not the only reason, but likely the biggest reason
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    There have already been several train accidents where the train was carrying high level nuclear waste.
    Agreed - and trains accidents occur at a far lower rate than trucking accidents. That's a good argument for train carriage of high level wastes.
    Low level nuclear waste is a lot less hazardous, and a small loss of material is not so concerning. After all, if you live in the Rocky Mountains, surrounded by granite, you will be exposed to 50 millisieverts of radiation per year, just from the granite. Low level waste in small amounts will do less harm than that.
    Also agreed, but most people are not so rational. Consider a wreck in the center of a town that spills low level nuclear waste all around. The panic alone would be deadly.
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    The scenario of a spill of low level waste would be manageable. A team of people who remove all the waste, followed by inspections with a radiation meter to show nothing significant left should obviate panic. There would still, of course, be mass protests, but I see no way of avoiding that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    The scenario of a spill of low level waste would be manageable. A team of people who remove all the waste, followed by inspections with a radiation meter to show nothing significant left should obviate panic.
    I doubt that. We almost had a mass panic out here when San Onofre shut down due to leaks in its heat exchanger. A tiny amount of radioactivity (below safety limits) was released - but from the protests here you'd think it was Chernobyl all over again.

    I imagine a truck spilling a load of irradiated metal waste on a street outside a school would be a LOT worse. "Can you guarantee there's not a single radioactive metal filing outside MY DAUGHTER's school? No? Then we have to move the school. It's the only way to make sure our children are safe."

    (Again not rational but people rarely are with nuclear power.)
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    How strong the casks are is not the issue.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bu1YFshFuI4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dopK9r83WDU

    The issue is public perception.
    If you ever work at a nuclear power plant you will be reminded by your safety officer to play safe because any accident on site will be labelled a nuclear accident in the press, even if it is you simply tripping and falling.
    Last edited by dan hunter; September 22nd, 2014 at 06:51 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    However, according to this site, the average nuclear power plant generates 20 metric tons per year. So just over one truckload per year.

    Nuclear Energy Institute - Nuclear Waste Amounts & On-Site Storage
    I thought we were talking about low level waste. Used nuclear fuel is high level waste.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Well, one look at its tires would reveal whether it was carrying empty space or cereal vs. nuclear waste.


    All a potential hijacker knows by looking at the tires is how much your product weighs. But probably a third of all trucks on the road at any given time are crammed to the maximum weight they can legally carry.

    The shippers like to save money any which way they can, so they prefer to load one truck up to the hilt, even if the fuel will be a bit more expensive, rather than run more trucks. It can be anything. I carried 19000 kg of beans once. I think my first run after training was 19000 kg of wheat.



    But the big issue isn't hijacking - it's just plain accidents. There are 75,000 'tow-away" accidents each year with large trucks; accidents so severe that a wrecker is needed to clear the scene. Consider an accident with a truck carrying high level nuclear waste; the road could be closed for weeks, and after a few such accidents on major highways that plan would quickly come to an end. (And to answer the next objection I hear - yes, it's probably unnecessary in most cases to close the road for weeks, but the reality is that people have close to a zero tolerance for exposure to nuclear waste.)

    But perhaps drivers carrying nuclear waste will be more careful? Perhaps but it likely won't help. In 2008 there were 2600 accidents involving a truck carrying hazardous materials. (Most of these are things like medical waste and industrial chemicals.)
    Yeah. I've driven by a few really bad accidents.

    It's possible that an additional concern will be necessary when moving nuclear waste, like putting it in a giant fiberglass "egg carton" to keep it contained in the event of an accident. That will, of course, add both to the cost and to the weight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    However, according to this site, the average nuclear power plant generates 20 metric tons per year. So just over one truckload per year.

    Nuclear Energy Institute - Nuclear Waste Amounts & On-Site Storage
    I thought we were talking about low level waste. Used nuclear fuel is high level waste.
    How much high level waste to they generate per year? Less than 20 metric tons, right?
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    It does not matter much where we put it so long as it is not easy to get at and the location can be hidden. The big danger is our children using it to kill each other.
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    [QUOTE=kojax;595236
    But the big issue isn't hijacking - it's just plain accidents. There are 75,000 'tow-away" accidents each year with large trucks; accidents so severe that a wrecker is needed to clear the scene. Consider an accident with a truck carrying high level nuclear waste; the road could be closed for weeks, and after a few such accidents on major highways that plan would quickly come to an end. (And to answer the next objection I hear - yes, it's probably unnecessary in most cases to close the road for weeks, but the reality is that people have close to a zero tolerance for exposure to nuclear waste.)
    [/QUOTE]
    You should take another look at the casks they already use for transporting nuclear waste from power plants. They are pretty much bomb proof.
    Spent nuclear fuel shipping cask - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Until the federal government puts in place a program to dispose of these materials, nearly all commercial used fuel is stored safely and securely at the reactor sites in steel-lined concrete pools filled with water.
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