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Thread: Effective, long term Nuclear waste disposal

  1. #1 Effective, long term Nuclear waste disposal 
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    In his recent programme about Sellafield, Prof. Al-Khalili mentioned, at the close of the programme, his vision to (my paraphrase, not his exact words) " find a way to transmute it (waste material) by smashing it up with a beam of high energy, high intensity neutrons, breaking it into far less harmful fragments".

    Could somebody please explain how this solves this extremely pressing problem. How does it address the issue which Prof. Al-Khalili mentions of the solution being effective and long term?


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  3. #2  
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    If you could transmute the radioactive isotopes to stable isotopes with a neutron beam, that would be a long term fix. The problem is we haven't "found a way" to do that.


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    According to me the best way to use flowing water curtain or lead cover for nuclear waste! Thanks...
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  5. #4  
    KJW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bufofrog View Post
    If you could transmute the radioactive isotopes to stable isotopes with a neutron beam
    This seems unlikely because neutrons tend to make things radioactive, and radioactive isotopes from nuclear fission tend to be neutron-rich anyway.
    There are no paradoxes in relativity, just people's misunderstandings of it.
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    Vitrification of nuke waste seems to have the leg up on all other approaches.

    It involves trapping the waste in glasses at high temperature. The technology appears rather simple - basically mix the waste with something like quartz sand, and heat it into a liquid mixture. Cooling creates "logs" of waste, mostly trapped in a glassy matrix from which it cannot leak significantly, even if submerged.

    Perhaps the Forum Professor can provide some more details about it, if so inclined. One wonders what happens to the silica after thousands of years of neutron bombardment, etc. It seems like a long term storage solution if it can truly contain the waste through sufficient half-lives of the trapped waste.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Helix View Post
    Vitrification of nuke waste seems to have the leg up on all other approaches.

    It involves trapping the waste in glasses at high temperature. The technology appears rather simple - basically mix the waste with something like quartz sand, and heat it into a liquid mixture. Cooling creates "logs" of waste, mostly trapped in a glassy matrix from which it cannot leak significantly, even if submerged.

    Perhaps the Forum Professor can provide some more details about it, if so inclined. One wonders what happens to the silica after thousands of years of neutron bombardment, etc. It seems like a long term storage solution if it can truly contain the waste through sufficient half-lives of the trapped waste.
    The problem is how do you get the waste to where it will be mixed with the glass in the first place then how do you move the highly radioactive glass to where you are going to store it and where will it be stored. See the waste in the glass is still the most lethal thing known to humanity
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