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What technologies/techniques can be used or developed to control radioactive waste?

Discussion Leader: 
Kyle Brinkman, Ph.D.
Posted Date: 02/15/2016

This week’s question is based on the article “Multi-Phase Ceramic Composites as Host for Nuclear Waste” from Volume 2, Issue 3 of the HDIAC Journal. Nuclear power is a critical piece of the global energy consumption. Since generation of nuclear energy is expected to rise, storing and disposing of the radioactive waste creates many complex and long-term concerns, especially in terms of environmental and nonproliferation impact for the United States. Investing in proper storage and immobilization of nuclear waste is essential for protecting the United States.

Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Facility. Credit: AWMTP, DOE, and INL.

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Comments

Welcome to the online forum discussing nuclear waste immobilization. I look forward to periodically checking in and following the discussion this week.

-Kyle Brinkman (Clemson University)

KSB

Shifting all civilian nuclear programs over to low-enriched uranium lessens the chance of nuclear waste being sought out as a component for a nuclear bomb. Low-enriched uranium is not weapons grade. With LEU, The potential to kill is far lower than with highly-enriched uranium. If stolen, LEU presents a risk of a dirty bomb but not much else.

Re-using waste cuts down on the amount of waste requiring storage and also reduces the need for new fuel. Reprocessing and reusing spent fuel keeps it from being stored, and therefore reduces the likelihood of theft by a third party.

Thanks for the comment.

One additional note on reprocessing is that although fissionable materials are re-used, there is the creation of additional waste streams that must be managed and the potential for material diversion. The objective of waste form efforts is to design versatile immobilization matrices to store a wide range of waste elements to enable potential advanced nuclear fuel cycles.

KSB

KSB

The control of radioactive waste is a concern when discussing nuclear energy. Many opponents cite that there is no “good” way to dispose of waste or prevent nuclear proliferation. As discussed in the HDIAC Volume 2, Issue 3 journal, separation of the fuel into multiple components will reduce harmful waste and prevent or at least hinder nuclear proliferation. If the fuel is divided up into products with similar characteristics, they will be easily stored with a low chance of reaction. This proposed process is a step in the right direction when it comes to reducing and disposing nuclear waste.

Post from HDIAC Social Networks

There is some truly revolutionary science waiting to be understood. The key to this disruptive technology is answering the question Physics has recently uncovered, which is: 'Why does radioactive decay on earth acceleerate during regular cycles of the Sun?' An important piece of the explanation of this question is embodied in an article entitled "Toward a more complete electrodynamic theory" published by Lee M Hively in the International Journal of Signal and Imaging Systems Engineering, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2012.  A patent has been recently issued by the USPTO relating to this discovery.