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Old 11-12-2018, 10:22 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Your post reflects the general populace fears.

Originally Posted by kach22i View Post
I'm sure dumping the used radioactive fuel in the local landfill would help lower the costs.

All joking aside, the regulations are so strict because the consequences of mishandling are so severe.

The term "playing with fire" comes to mind.

If you play'n with the fire and the spark goes in my eye and blinds me, you better have the cash to buy me a new eyeball. I'd rather keep the eyes I have if I have a say in it.
Chernobyl happened. The region is now an animal wildlife refuge of sorts. The radio-activity is below safe levels.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki happened. Both cities are population centers. The horrific death toll is a fraction of the fire bombings that came before.

Nuclear waste is stored on-site. Decades of waste can be stored in a couple acres. Try that with coal ash or the detritus from an equivalent solar/wind farm. If we had the will to reprocess, we could reduce the volume by an order of magnitude or more. If we had certain breeder reactors, they could "eat" the nuclear waste ( plutonium ) from the other reactors and leave you with only long lived wastes (U238 or depleted uranium with a half life in BILLIONS of years). Or you could run things in a molten salt reactor and do the processing and actinide reductions on-site leaving very little volume of waste. Let the waste "cool" in a glassified state and put into stainless casks for long term storage with little worry about pollution leaks as the material is not soluble in an aqueous solution and is difficult to turn into a friable powder. A ton of nuclear fuel would result in only a few kilograms of active "waste". If you had the will to process to the last nuclear fissionable. Much of what I have described is already done by the French Nuclear Commission. We just don't want to copy them for some reason. Molten salt reactors reduce the ability of a terrorist group to grab and use fissionables for weapons production from "very difficult" to "awww man"? And there is no chance for an explosion or meltdown.

The only worry is cleanup of mining sites. Many of these sites are "nuclear waste zones" because of . . . Thorium! Well, there are classes of nuclear reactors that can use that thorium. A set of reactor types can keep us in energy for hundreds of years into the future. In that time span, practical fusion will come to pass. But we won't have to stress. By then, we will be able to mine the stars.
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