Nuclear Waste Management Essay

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Nuclear Waste Management

     Nuclear energy harnesses the energy released during the splitting or fusing of atomic nuclei. This heat energy is most often used to convert water to steam, turning turbines, and generating electricity.
     However, nuclear energy also has many disadvantages. An event that demonstrated this was the terrible incident at Chernobyl'. Here on April 26,
1986, one of the reactors of a nuclear power plant went out of control and caused the world's worst known reactor disaster to date. An experiment that was not properly supervised was conducted with the water-cooling system turned off.
This led to the uncontrolled reaction, which in turn caused a steam explosion.
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Absorbed doses of 150 to 1000 rads cause destruction of human bone marrow, leading to infection and hemorrhage death may occur after four to five weeks after the date of exposure. Currently only the effects of these lower doses can be treated effectively, but if untreated, half the perso ns receiving as little as 300 to 325 rads to the bone marrow will die.
     To store the nuclear waste products that give off this deadly radiation, many precautions must be taken. Spent fuel may be stored or solidified.
     The primary way of storing the nuclear waste is storage. Since spent fuel continues to be a source of heat and radiation after it is taken from the reactor, it can be stored underwater in a deep pool at the reactor site. The water keeps the fuel assemblies cool and acts as a shield to protect workers from gamma radiation. The water is kept free of minerals that would corrode the fuel in tubes.
     Fuel assemblies are kept separated in the pool by metal racks that leave one foot between centers. This grid structure is made with metal containing boron, which helps to absorb neutrons and prevents their multiplication.

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