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Major Energy and Environmental News and Commentary affecting the Nuclear Industry.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-level Radioactive Waste

Title: Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-level Radioactive Waste
Source: ENVIRON International Corporation
Author: Chris Whipple, Ph.D
Date: September 10, 2010
This material was prepared at the request of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (“the BRC”).
Disposal by shooting the wastes into deep space or the sun
Cost and the risk of an accident during launch has kept space disposal from being taken seriously. With the current cost of putting objects in orbit at around $10,000 per pound, and given that the U.S. inventory of spent fuel and high-level waste is of the order of 100,000 metric tons, not including the heavy shielding that would be required, the costs with present technology would be prohibitive, even if the risks of radioactive wastes crashing back to earth could be managed somehow.
But if one wanted to dispose of only the very long-lived waste, e.g., technetium-99, cesium-135, iodine-129, and the long-lived actinides, then the amounts are much more manageable, of the order of a few million kilograms for all current U.S. wastes. [...]

See also: Discovery.com: Nuclear reactors to power Mars colonies -- "Sadly" biggest hurdle for space fission may be bad press

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