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Thread: Bacteria cleaning up nuclear power plant waste?

  1. #1 Bacteria cleaning up nuclear power plant waste? 
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    Has anyone checked into developing a highly radioactive strain of bacteria like the radiodurans strain into being able to oxidize, process, etc nuclear power plant waste into a inert substance so we could use nuclear power plants to provide our energy needs?


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  3. #2  
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    Radioactive decay occurs in the nucleus, so it is not affected by oxidation or any chemical process. We do, in fact, use nuclear power plants to supply our energy needs.


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  4. #3  
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    so theirs no way to speed up the decay of radioactive waste, or to process it into a relatively safe form?
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  5. #4  
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    It can be processed into a form that will not leach into the water supply. It is called vitrification. But it will have to be buried and kept in a safe place while it decays off.
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  6. #5  
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    how long would that take?
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  7. #6  
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    Effectively forever.

    Hey why not sink it at a tectonic plate convergence, so it's carried under and lost forever? Oceanside of Aleut or Kurile island chains? I'll bet we wouldn't have to drill deep.
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  8. #7  
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    According to this article it would be on the order of a few hundred years for reprocessed fuel (plutonium removed) and 10,000 years for non-reprocessed fuel with the plutonium still in it to decay to a level equivalent to uranium ore.

    http://www.nuclearfaq.ca/cnf_sectionE.htm

    The anti-nuke sites will claim hundreds of thousand or a million years, but they aren't going to be happy with a toxicity equivalent to ore. They want it all gone.
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