MadSci Network: Environment/Ecology

Re: is nuclear energy a safe, viable method for a radioactive waste solution?

Date: Fri Aug 7 12:52:04 1998
Posted By: Keith Little, Systems Analyst / Programer
Area of science: Environment/Ecology
ID: 896839055.Ot


There are two types of methods for generating Nuclear energy: Fusion
and Fission.

Fusion reactors generate very little nuclear waste.  However, the
technology is immature, and is not yet ready for commercial use.

Fission reactors on the other hand, are a well-known technology, but have 
many negative issues to be considered.  For instance:

  - Uranium fuel rods must be discarded after their usable lifetime.
    Often, too many of these used rods are stored for long periods in
    holding pools next to the reactor, creating a considerable safety

  - Radioactive waste water is often stored in inadequate containers
    that tend to leak over time and allow their contents to mix with
    water in underground aquifers.  Occasionally, radioactive water
    is deliberately released into our streams and rivers.

  - Excess low-grade uranium used in fuel rod manufacturing processes
    must be disposed.  There have been incidents involving shipments
    of this material, causing accidental exposure to the public.

  - Inadequate reactor safety procedures and training.

  - Inadequate governmental oversite.

Just to name a few.

Scientists hope Fusion reactors can be a viable power generation method in 
the near future, but must oversome various technical problems.  Until then, 
we must solve the largest issue with Fission reactors -- the waste disposal 
problem.  For more information, just click on the following link:

Have a great day!

Keith Little

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