Title: What to do with Radioactive Waste
Source: Environmental News Network
Author: Andy Soos
Date: April 26, 2013
Nuclear power plants do have a waste management problem because radioactivity takes a long time to dissipate and turn the radioactive waste into just a non-hazardous waste. [...] A new draft nuclear waste management bill released today by four U.S. senators focuses on establishing interim and permanent waste repositories [...] The senators—Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)—based their draft on President Obama’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.
[...] Several techniques have been proposed for handling: long term above ground storage, geologic below ground storage, space disposal, and transmutation into less harmful radioactive materials. [...]
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
Published: May 1st, 2013 at 2:28 pm ET