The primary concern when disposing of nuclear waste and cleaning the facilities that produce it is the duration of half-lives of the elements that make up nuclear waste. One example is Uranium-235, which is used widely by nations that have a nuclear weapons program. U-235 has a half-life of 703,800,000 years. This means that U-235 will take over 700 million years for it to decompose by half. It is estimated that these elements will still be hazardous for ten times their half-lives. At this rate, U-235 will take around 7 billion years for it to become non-threatening to humans. It should be noted that seasons, temperature, or any known solvents will not affect the rate of decay. During the Cold War, very little attention was paid to the high volume of radioactive waste generated and even less to its effects on the environment. U-235 is an extreme example, we still have to contend with low level radioactive waste produced daily by Industry and Medical facilities. Some of the effects on the environment are; groundwater contamination, soil contamination, buried soil and water containing waste, and underground disposal facilities storing large volumes of hazardous, radioactive waste. One such facility was the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, which was designated in 1987 by the NWPA Amendments, and located on federal land adjacent to the Nevada Test Site (NTS) in Nye County, Nevada some 80 miles Northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. Congress approved the site in 2002,
In 1982, Congress passed the nuclear waste policy act that said the Department of Energy (DOE) was to build and operate a repository for used nuclear fuel and other highly radioactive waste (NEI). The DOE had until 1998 to find a location and build a site. In 1987, the nuclear waste policy act was amended and the DOE was told to study the Yucca Mountains only because it was a remote desert location (NEI). Even thought it is a desert location it still affects the nearby civilizations. The federal government in 2008 filed a construction license application to
Disposal of the high level nuclear waste that comes from nuclear power plants continues to be a big problem. It has been challenging and costly to find safe ways to store this waste. According to a report from the U.S National Academy of Sciences, it will take 3 million years for radioactive waste stored in the U.S. as of 1983 to decay to background levels (thinkquest.org). Who wants this amount of waste stored in the environment where they live? Currently in the U.S. nuclear power plants produce 3,000 tons of this high level waste each year (thinkquest.org). If nuclear power continues to be produced, this amount of waste will only continue to increase, causing a bigger dilemma as to what to do with the waste. As the waste is removed from the plant it still contains a high level of radiation. Exposure to radiation whether it occurs in the moving process or leakage from storage not only has a negative impact on the environment but also can pose a major health threat to humans. Based on the level of exposure, symptoms to humans can range from nausea and headaches to damage of nerve cells, loss of white blood cells and even death (think .org). The potential risk of exposure is not worth human life.
Today, a considerable amount of energy is provided by nuclear energy. The technology is well organized and developing every passing day and as a result the cost of operation is falling. Using radioactive resources to produce energy generates waste. Waste that contains radioactive materials is called nuclear waste. The secure
The Politics of Highly Radioactive Waste Disposal Nuclear waste disposal is a political problem, not a technical problem.1 — Dr. Edward Teller Highly radioactive waste disposal has become one of the most controversial aspects of nuclear technology. As the amount of spent nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear reactors and high-level radioactive waste from defense-related processing plants has continued to mount, the issue has become increasingly contentious and politicized.2 The politicization of this issue is especially evident in the site selection process of a permanent national repository for the disposal of highly radioactive waste.
The Nuclear Fear The word “Nuclear” instills fear in the general American public’s mind. The simple utter of said word brings memories of huge mushrooms clouds and destruction, or the thought of communism and 50 years of an uncertain, yet terrifying Cold War. Whatever it may be the fact of the matter is that Americans are extremely afraid of anything that has the word Nuclear in it. In the article “Nuclear Waste” published in 2008 by physics professor, and winner of the MacArthur Fellowship award, Richard Muller claims that storing nuclear waste under the Nevada Yucca Mountains can prove to be a safe and efficient way to solve the problem of nuclear waste disposal. Muller supports his argument by first providing the reader with the anti-nuke
Danger Underground: Nuclear Waste Disposal in Yucca Mountain Introduction The U.S. Department of Energy has proposed plans to deposit 70,000 tons of highly radioactive waste underground Yucca Mountain in Nevada. While many environmental questions and concerns have been raised about the safety of the waste disposal plan for the next 10,000 years, there appears to be no alternative. Waste from nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants are a serious environmental problem that will be present for generations to come. It should be society's responsibility to come up with more efficient sources of energy, despite the costs, to prevent the production of more hazardous waste in the future.
We are in much need for places to store this nuclear waste. One of the places researches believe may be the perfect place but also the worst place is Yucca Mountain. I believe they should store nuclear waste inside the Yucca Mountain. It is far away
Nuclear Waste The essay “Nuclear Waste” by Ricard A. Muller talks about the controversial matter of the disposure of radioactive waste. Despite the overwhelming concerns of citizens, Richard Muller believes the dangers associated with the transportation and deposit of nuclear waste is not as paramount as the issue may seem. The concepts that seems most alarming to the public are the number of year it takes for the radioactivity of the waste to subside and where it will be stored in the mean time that will not affect their safety. As Muller explains, ”Even after 100,000 years the radiation will still be above 10% of the level it had when it left the reactor.”(Muller 254) As a solution, the US government has created a prototype of a nuclear waste
The United States Government has spent $7 billion cleaning up the site and claim that it was successful. “It's a place that Niels Schonbeck, a chemistry professor at Regis University who has monitored the public health effects of Rocky Flats since the 1980s, would never visit. Schonbeck questions whether the risk thresholds for human health effects identified by the federal government are adequate” (Aguilar, J., 2015). According to the article, government officials and their scientist have claimed that the site is safe and will open the refuge to the public. Scientists, members of the community, and non-profit organizations do not believe that any level of plutonium is safe and think it is a hazardous mistake for their
Introduction: The task we are in charge with is determining if Yucca Mountain is a suitable long term nuclear waste disposal site, if it is a suitable short term nuclear waste site until other sites are found or other scientific ways to dispose of the waste are found, and lastly
In response to the potential scientific perjury, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Majority Staff issued a report in 2006 concluding that the Yucca Mountain depository site has consistently been proven in scientific studies to be an appropriate location for the disposal of nuclear waste (Yucca Mountain: The Most Studied Real Estate on the Planet, 2006). Later that same year, the DOE announced contracts with multiple private laboratories and scientific associations for the purpose of conducting expert scientific review of the Yucca Mountain project (DOE, 2006). Despite the efforts made by the DOE to legitimize the science behind their project, the planned repository still faced questions regarding the quality of science behind it by the State of Nevada and other Congressional members. The Yucca Mountain project remained the nation’s answer to nuclear waste until the Obama Administration took over the Executive branch in 2008, and in 2009, had announced the discontinuation of the Yucca Mountain project amid scientific uncertainty and growing political and public pressure (Government Accountability Office). Making this announcement a reality, in 2010 the DOE filed a motion with the NRC to withdraw the Yucca Mountain project licensing application, of which the NRC had almost
Nuclear power in its not so finest form—nuclear waste—has recently sparked several debates and protesters. Major powers on all sides realize that a crucial situation has been thrust upon us by the aging nuclear reactor facilities across the nation. In the past two decades, research has been done on Yucca Mountain in order to assess the effectiveness of the location to become the nation’s comprehensive nuclear repository, AKA a Giant Radioactive Mountain. Yet, the hidden technology of reprocessing has somehow managed to escape the minds of many, or has been repressed by large organizations such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club. Reprocessing is recycling. Simple right, then why are we not utilizing this equipment to lower the amount of
The world as we know today is dependent on energy. The options we have currently enable us to produce energy economically but at a cost to the environment. As fossil fuel source will be diminishing over time, other alternatives will be needed. An alternative that is presently utilized is nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is currently the most efficacious energy source. Every time the word ‘nuclear’ is mentioned, the first thought that people have is the devastating effects of nuclear energy. Granting it does come with its drawbacks; this form of energy emits far less pollution than conventional power plants. Even though certain disadvantages of nuclear energy are devastating, the advantages contain even greater rewards.
Abstract The use of nuclear energy is a big topic for debate. Many countries have fully embraced it while others, such as the U. S., haven’t. Nuclear energy is feared for its danger and scorned because of its wastes. On the other hand, nuclear energy does have some pros like cheaper cost of energy and environmentally safe. Reactor breeders show great promise in nuclear waste, but are it enough to convince the nation?