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USA’s $96 billion nuclear waste mess

the federal government continues to search for suitable sites for storage of high-level wastes from nuclear power plants and for very long-lived radioactive materials from weapons production.

For the time being high-level waste remain on the sites where they were generated…….

Where to dump nuclear waste? Manila Bulletin By ATTY. ROMEO V. PEFIANCO February 17, 2010, Dumping nuclear waste has been a serious problem in the US since 1970

Nuclear plants leave residues or waste containing radioactive substances.

After uranium, plutonium and other useful fission products have been removed some long-lived radioactive elements remain.

Waste disposal

The storage of nuclear waste is a major environmental issue. In the US nuclear waste comes from: 1) nuclear weapons production facilities, 2) nuclear power plants, 3) medical equipment (primarily used in radiation treatments), 4) industrial sources of radioactivity used as a more powerful alternative to X-rays, and 5) residues from uranium mining.

Low/high-level waste

Nuclear waste is often classified into two categories: “low-level” and “high-level” waste. Slightly radioactive, after exposure to high-level source, is low but spent fuel from nuclear reactors, or military, waste produced in the manufacture of nuclear weapons is clearly high-level.

Nuclear waste is radioactive and can remain that way for years – in some cases, thousands of years. Dumping them at sea was one of the early methods of disposal. Others included suspending them in a liquid or cement and injecting the radioactive combination into wells.

Banned methods

In 1976, the US signed an international convention banning ocean dumping. In 1984, deep-well injection was stopped.

Current plans require a consortium of states to develop sites for low-level wastes. One “temporary” site was in Barnwell Country, South Carolina, which has handled low-level waste since 1970 for 36 states.

But the federal government continues to search for suitable sites for storage of high-level wastes from nuclear power plants and for very long-lived radioactive materials from weapons production.

For the time being high-level waste remain on the sites where they were generated…….

$96 B saga

If the Nuclear Regulatory Commission grants the site a license Yucca Mountain could begin accepting waste in 2025, with closure and decommissioning slated to begin in 2125. The site (about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas) has been the subject of fierce opposition, not only in Nevada but also in states along the proposed transportation routes for nuclear waste. The cost of the program is projected to be $96 billion dollars

Where to dump nuclear waste? | Manila Bulletin

February 22, 2010 - Posted by | USA, wastes | , , , , , , , ,

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