Talk:Radioactive waste/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Removed stuff in: nuclear power section

I removed some stuff in the nuclear power section, the reason is simple: there is too much pro(anti)-nuclear views. We can't put scientific view because of the lack of space. Therefore I removed some stuff and put it there (if someone wants to use it elsewhere : Nuclear power, Nuclear power debate, Environmental effects of nuclear power). There are a lot of place to put pro(anti)-nuclear views, but not much for the whole "Radioactive waste subject" : try to summarise the opinions you can't remove.

Citation up there had a problem here :the reprocessed fuel is rendered unusable for weapons development. Not everyone agree on this and the rest does not really adds up to the subject.

Factually incorrect, I don't know what the author was trying to say. Fusion bombs are triggered by fission reactions/device.
AlexH555 (talk) 22:27, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Radioactive Waste Citation

Citation 9 on this page is very wrong, as it refers only to US and UK Nuclear reactors to make the figures look good. If it were to use the global period of that time this would mean they would have to include Chernobyl. The worst nuclear power plant accident occurred April 26, 1986 when an explosion and fire split open an atomic reactor in the Soviet Ukraine, sending radioactive clouds upward to circle the globe.

The size of the high level radioactive waste is misreported here, first it mentions a realistic value of 12,000 metric tons then it introduces two confusing examples "which is the equivalent to about 100 double-decker buses or a two-story structure with a footprint the size of a basketball court.[17]". While I could not venture the say that these two examples have different weights, it is a fact that people notice the volume of a 100 buses and the volume of a two-story structure instead of their weights. Uranium has a density of 18.9 tons per metric cube so 12,000 metric tons would fit in 25 metric cubes / 882 cubic feet (smaller than a the volume of a small room). Also less then half volume of single one decker bus yet alone 100 double deckers. Insofar the two-story structure on a basketball field metaphor goes this would fit in one sixteenth of a NBA approved field at the hight of 1 m (3.28 ft). If you go up to tow levels we have yet to produce high level waste of that volume. Another example 16 years worth of yearly production of high level waste it would fit in a NBA basketball court at the height of 1m / 3.28 ft. Uranium is an incredibly dense material both insofar as energy and as volume.

Note that this is without reprocessing as done by France, or certainly done by our children as the current wasteful use of fissile material cannot be sustained much longer. So once you count these in the actual volume gets further reduced. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:32, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

Oil Industry Radioactive Waste

The first para of the article quotes '8 million tons of accumulated nuclear waste from the oil extraction industry over the past 20 years'. The source quoted is a paper which isn't available online. I find this rather dubious - I can readily believe that 8 million tons of radioactive material has been emitted, but I am sceptical that there are repositories of 8 million tons of nuclear waste from the oil industry. I suspect a confusion between emissions and wastes. Although it's not defined here, emissions are what we no longer have control over (they've been released to the environment) and wastes are things still in our possession that we want to dispose of. Can the person who supplied the info & reference give a bit more detail on this page, please, or modify to show whether we're talking about emissions or wastes? Cerireid (talk) 16:25, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Removed the following from the article because the source of the information given does not provide a source for the information, and the author, an employee if the Central Research Institute of Geological Prospecting for Base and Precious Metals, Moscow, has no apparent reason to have firsthand knowledge of it:
"It has been estimated, for instance, that the past 20 years the oil-producing endeavors of the United States have accumulated eight million tons of radioactive wastes. Reference: Krivtsov, A.I., 2006, Geoenvironmental Problems of Mineral Resources Development, in Geology and Ecosystems, Zekster, Marker, Ridgeway, Rogachevskayarochmaninoff, & Vartanyan, 2006 Springer Inc."
Also, the source given is incomplete, not properly cited and the name of the fourth editor is wrong (Rogachevskaya). That source contains the following toss-off statement at the end of a paragraph about something else, and does not give any source for it:
"It is reported that during past 20 years, the oil-producing enterprises of the USA have accumulated about eight mln. t of radioactive wastes."
The article is not about radioactive waste or even oil production in the U.S., but is about base and precious metals such as diamond; the article author has no apparent connection with any research activity in or concerning the U.S.; and I have been unable to find any other source giving a similar statement about radioactive waste from oil exploration. Consequently, this statement should be archived. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 22:22, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Aiming waste into the Sun

An anonymous editor added text saying that it would be cheaper to send waste to the nearest star rather than the Sun due to the Earth's escape velocity being more than half that of solar system's escape velocity. However, getting the waste outside of the solar system is different than getting it all the way to the nearest star, which is over four light years away. If you want to get the waste there in a reasonable amount of time, you're going to need a lot more fuel than it would take to get to the Sun. Also, the spacecraft would have to be designed to last thousands or millions of years, depending on how fast you could get it moving (it's too late for me to do any calculations right now), which would be much more expensive than something you are going to just aim into the Sun. Even if it was cheaper than sending the waste to the Sun, it would not be much cheaper and there is still the problem of launch failures and the huge number of launches it would take to get rid of all of the waste. -- Kjkolb 07:29, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Who cares how fast it goes, once out of our solar system? Are you in a hurry? But yes, once you get away from Earth, it takes more delta-V to drop into sun than directly out of solar system. But you can use Jupiter as a catch to send back to the sun our out of the system either way, so it doesn't make much difference. So long as you have enough umph to get to Jupiter. And while we're on that subject, why not just drop it into Jupiter? Or Venus? Afraid of angry Venusians or Jupiterians? Want to live on Jupiter or Venus some day and are afraid of dropping your retirement house values? SBHarris 13:45, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
It would be great if we could just send all of our nuclear waste into space, but it would more than likely be completely uneconomical to do so. Also, you wouldn't need to make the spacecraft last for thousands of years, a few hundred would be more than enough, as it only needs to escape the solar system. The other problems with trying to send it outside of the solar system, apart from the cost, are the large Oort Cloud encompassing it and the Kuiper Belt. The Oort Cloud and Kuiper Belt's are collections of rocks/asteroids/comets held in place by the collective gravity of the solar system, this would shred the spacecraft to pieces before it could leave the system, which would leave radioactive material floating in the belt, which in turn, could be veered off course back towards us. Further to this, it could be seen as a contridiction of the Outer Space Treaty, in the sense that you would be sending nuclear material into space. This isn't a direct contravention of the treaty as it wouldn't be a nuclear weapon, more the fact that it could be interperated to be one as it is nuclear material. Leon Xavier (talk) 12:59, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but this is a silly discussion, and will remain so until you can reliably get the waste off the ground and out of the atmosphere. As long as people remember the Challenger disaster, it will not be politically feasible to launch large quantities of waste into space, regardless of destination. Get real folks, and improve the article please. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 00:30, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

The United States

It seems to me that this article is extremely US-centric, especially the in the overly long "introduction". Given that the US has less than a quarter of the world's nuclear reactors, is this really an accurate representation of the topic? Cyril Washbrook 07:05, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. The introduction is terrible. I would re-write it but lack the knowledge and time to do so. Someone please fix this pile of crap! Clamum (talk) 13:38, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Deep geologic repository

There is a specific Wikipedia article on Deep Geologic Repositories. It needs some cleanup and additions to reflect the current international situation. However, I propose to transfer & delete most of the material from here, and link to the Deep Geologic Repository article. Comments? PJG 21:34, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Just don't see the need to merge the articles. Each stands alone quite well. Have added wikilinks between the two articles. Johnfos (talk) 21:58, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree with the previous comment. Waste needs its own article. If anything the repository article could be merged into this one, but I see no reason to do that. NPguy (talk) 17:08, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
My original post above was poorly phrased... I fully agree this Rad Waste article should stay. I was thinking of simplifying the Repository section within this Rad Waste article by referring to the Repository article. General principle of having text on a given topic in only one place with links, rather than two places where it can diverge. At the moment, neither the section here nor the Wiki article are a particularly current summary. I'll look into updating the latter article first. PJG 02:32, 19 March 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Giersp (talkcontribs)

Duration concerns

The appearance of the word "year" is incredibly low in the article. Since we talk about long term disposal, specifying just how long is a primary concern. Curiously, while the Swedish repository brochure talks about 100'000 years, the Canadian FAQ mentions just 10'000. In addition, the latter suggests that after 500 years of interim storage "the major hazard from the used fuel is no longer one of external exposure". They seem to me rather conflicting assertions...

Later, I'll insert a paragraph about that right after Long term management of waste, before the first subsection, if I can find adequate references. Please write here any advice that you may feel appropriate.

Secondary concerns, related to the duration of the storage, are about how to compute the cost of the storage and how to write warnings about the risk for future visitors of the area. In facts, we don't know how costs were being reckoned 10'000 years ago, so we cannot guess what will happen in the next 10'000 years period. Ditto for the language that warnings should be written in.

ale (talk) 06:54, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Two relevant facts: The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, New Mexico is licensed for 10,000 years. By contrast, a court decided that the Yucca Mountain license needed to address risks up to 1,000,000 years.

It is important to distinguish external and internal doses. The main risk from external exposure comes from the fission products, most of which decay within a few hundred years. The residual risk is of internal exposures, e.g. from drinking water, and comes mostly from transuranic elements (plutonium and heavier). Since WIPP intended for transuranic waste, there is an obvious contradiction between the two license durations, since the factors driving long term health risks are identical.

One benchmark that has been used is to compare the radiotoxicity (hazards from internal exposure) of long-lived waste with that of uranium as it occurs in nature (including its daughter decay products in equilibrium). For spent fuel, the figure is about 250,000 years. For high level reprocessing waste, it is about 10,000 years. This is not a regulatory standard. NPguy (talk) 22:55, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

magnitude of mutation risk

I'm adding this comment that I deleted from the article itself: "Clarification also needed. What is the integral over the person's life of the chance that the mutated gamete's copies will actually be present in a fertilization?" NPguy (talk) 01:19, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Ethics of nuclear power

I deleted a sentence on the ethics of nuclear power - regarding the long-term impacts of radioactive waste. This article is not about nuclear power and a single sentence cannot capture the essence of the issue. In particular, you cannot consider nuclear power in isolation. To make meaningful statements, you need to compare the risks of nuclear power to other available and economically viable means of meeting the human needs that nuclear energy currently provides. Reliance on coal, or any other fossil fuel, is undoubtedly far worse, both in terms of climate impacts and in terms of long-term toxicity from the release of heavy metals and other destructive effects of mining and burning. Over the long term renewable sources may be able to meet a larger share of our energy needs, but they are not without environmental harm. Energy efficiency and conservation are also critical. They may reduce overall electricity demands, but they don't answer the question over how best to generate the electricity we need. NPguy (talk) 20:54, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

These questions are to do with radioactive waste. The question of energy production is a different debate. This is the article to do with radioactive waste, not nuclear energy or energy produced from it.

There are ethics here to look at the long-term consequences of nuclear waste.

You cannot just say well we have the electricity for a television to blink for a few seconds and forget about the waste generated for thousands of years that will need to be stored by future generations, that is simply not an acceptable argument at all.

Waste is on debate here not electricity or nuclear energy.

Questions of Ethics?

What will happen?

Cost of keeping radioactive waste?

What effect will it have in the future?

Will the environment change?

Will it result in deaths of some sort?

Can you produce energy and then dump it with no proof that it has worked before? Show me the person or research from a study lasting 10,000 years. Is this then not a theoretical model of what might happen in the future, fingers crossed?

This is the article to do with radioactive waste, not nuclear energy or energy produced from it.

  • * *

The part above should be deleted as this in relation to nuclear energy, this is this radioactive waste discussion page, and shouldn't really be used to promote under ethics nuclear energy if that is your preference.

I will leave it on here for the time being until deleting. Below no citations, no proof, and the long-term impact of radioactive waste on the environment. As no study has lasted 10,000 years or more. If this was a medical research there would quite a few raised eyebrows? You have tested it for this long? No. Ah, so you don't actually know what will happen in that period, you can assume from theory?

As for global warming. I wonder once we have reduced the co2, how long it will take the earth to recover. I doubt it would take as long as 100,000 years to recover. But scientists will still be monitoring the radioactive waste. Take for example the English channel, ten thousand years ago it wasn't there

Scientist are always assuming that nuclear energy is the be all and end all with thorium reactors, they don't exist.

The new reactors run hotter so more intermediate radioactive waste will be produced. [1]

In 1950's, the nuclear energy companies boasted about almost free limitless energy from nuclear energy It didn't happen. To me it is like some of the scientist have reached their glass celling, as they cannot see beyond nuclear energy, has to be right, nuclear energy?

National management plans

New section is in process, and needs contributions from anyone with appropriate information and references for specific countries. More coming soon. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 22:41, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Well, my part is done for now. Edit away. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 05:05, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

GA Review

This review is transcluded from Talk:Radioactive waste/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

I have archived the above messages; let's start from scratch. Okay, the biggest issue with the article is that there aren't sufficient inline citations, per WP:CITE. A number of sections are completely missing inline citations, so let's start with those. I don't think they all need to be pointed out, but a few examples include the "Physics" section, "Chemistry", and "Pharmacokinetics", for starters. Gary King (talk) 02:19, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your message. I'm working on the article now, mostly cleaning up stuff provided by others. Moved, rearranged, and referenced some, and expect to do more tomorrow. Rochdale was quite a trip, and Toronto is one of my most favorite cities. Lived there awhile, and been there many times. Clean city, friendly people. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 02:32, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Okay, nice job so far on the article. The first thing that I think of when looking at it, is that the article appears to be very long. It is about 56 kb in prose (the average FA is about 20 kb in prose, while the average GA is about 10 kb). There isn't really much more that can be cut from the article, as most of this is notable information, but perhaps some of it could be moved to another article. In particular, I'm thinking that the "Management of waste" section could possibly be moved to its own article. Thoughts? Gary King (talk) 02:43, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
I think that would be a good idea, titled "High-level radioactive waste management" so as not to include low-level waste, which would be another 50 kb. Also, there is a redirect from "high-level radioactive waste" to "high level waste" that may or may not have to be removed. I think I'll try that and then ask that the new article be reviewed instead of the old one. Is that doable? Mervyn Emrys (talk) 03:00, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
So you're saying you want to split off "Management of waste", cancel the GA review for Radioactive waste, and instead request a GA review for the new article? Gary King (talk) 03:03, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, if that's acceptable. I think the new article is ready now, "High-level radioactive waste management" and both are shorter now. Please inform if I need to do something or if you will do what is needed. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 03:51, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Okay I will do that. Gary King (talk) 04:02, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Done. New review will be at Talk:High-level radioactive waste management/GA1. Gary King (talk) 04:05, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 04:09, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Fiction and popular culture

Moved this section here from article because a reviewer for "good article" status says it does not fit and I agree. Also has no inline references. Is there a better place for it in another article? Mervyn Emrys (talk) 01:48, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Radioactive waste in fiction and popular culture. In fiction, radioactive waste is often cited as the reason for gaining super-human powers and abilities.

An example of this fictional scenario is the 1981 movie "Modern Problems" in which actor Chevy Chase portrays a jealous, harried air traffic controller Max Fiedler. Fiedler, recently dumped by his girlfriend, comes into contact with nuclear waste and is granted the power of telekinesis, which he uses to not only win her back, but to gain a little revenge. In reality, of course, exposure to radioactive waste instead would lead to illness and/or death.

In the science fiction television series, "Space: 1999," a massive nuclear waste dump on the Moon explodes, hurtling the Moon, and the inhabitants of "Moonbase Alpha" out of the Solar System at interstellar speeds.

In the television comedy series Family Guy, the Griffin family all get super-human powers from toxic waste. When the local mayor Adam West tries to do the same thing, he gets lymphoma.

In The Simpsons, many mutant three-eyed fish live near the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. The owner of the plant, Mr Burns, is also repeatedly shown disposing of his plant's waste in an improper manner, either dumping it in the river or hiding it in trees at the local park.

Radioactive waste in movies, television and comic books is often depicted as glowing sludge of various colors, usually bright green, and stored in large metal drums with the radiation hazard symbol.

In the movie Hills Have Eyes, the aberrant transmutations of the people in the New Mexico Desert were the result of a radioactive waste spill.

I think it can all be safely deleted. The only "pop culture" stuff that should generally go into an article, is information that has been written up in reliable sources. If there are no sources, and it appears to just be random trivia, I usually delete it. See also WP:TRIVIA and WP:CRUFT. --Elonka 01:55, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 18:30, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

High Level radioactive waste management

Article was getting too long so moved management material to new article on High-level radioactive waste management and will cleanup here. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 03:15, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Space Cannon

The source provided for this falls short of WP:RS. It's speculative and WP:Crystal probably applies. What about making it an entry on future.wikia instead? --Old Moonraker (talk) 15:21, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Sounds like a good idea to me. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 18:29, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Deleted.--Old Moonraker (talk) 08:35, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Sentence fix

The basic concept is to locate a large, salt tectonics stable geologic formation and use mining technology to excavate a tunnel in the salt dome, or large-bore tunnel boring machines (similar to those used to drill the Chunnel from England to France) to drill a shaft 500–1,000 meters below the surface where rooms or vaults can be excavated for disposal of high-level radioactive waste.

Can someone fix this sentence ? It belongs in Radioactive_waste#Geologic_disposal. Thanks Mion (talk) 05:42, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
The sentence was better before you limited it to salt formations. If you will please look at High-level radioactive waste management you will see research is proceeding in many different "stable geologic formations" besides just salt. If you can't make it better, please leave it be. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 14:06, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, thats a nice article, but it needs some improvements. Mion (talk) 14:30, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Improvements are fine. Just try not to make it worse. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 21:09, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Haha, i'll try, it took some time to read High-level radioactive waste management and well done, nice article, maybe it should point out that except for saltdomes and one bedrock repository at 110 m all proposals are experiments with an unknown end. Mion (talk) 21:25, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Fine with me. Go ahead and make that addition if you wish. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 05:59, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Traveling wave reactor

The material on re-use of waste by traveling wave reactor is based on rather promotional and speculative theoretical discussions and a "preliminary design" of a reactor by a commercial entity that has never been constructed or tested. although the article cited is usually a reliable source, it contains no references to research or demonstration and reads like a research grant. The "technology" is not a technology because it doesn't exist, and has all the credibility of cold fusion research at Utah universities of a few years ago. It is unclear that this is sufficiently credible to warrant treatment in an article in Wikipedia. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 02:03, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Earth's future as philosophy?

I believe the following passage should be removed from the "Goals of Waste Management" section:

"Though an affirmative answer is often taken for granted, the question as to whether or not we should endeavor to avoid causing harm to remote future generations, perhaps thousands upon thousands of years hence, is essentially one which must be dealt with by philosophy."

It is presumptuous as to the way people may think about nuclear waste and is in essence an opinion. I suspect what is meant by "philosophy" is more academic than moral in the popular or personal sense. I know that some people would be offended by this statement (as I was.) Either way, it fails to go into any more depth about it, it doesn't fit the spirit of the article, and it ignores the already-existent movements for/against nuclear power and waste and their arguments. (talk) 04:48, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Fossil fuel waste

From a recent reversion: "In addition, fossil fuel waste causes global warming". This has a {{cn}} request but, unless I'm missing something, a reference suggesting that fossil fuel waste causes hurricanes etc is going to be hard to find. As User:NPguy says, the overall safety comparisons are important, but this may not be the page to make them. --Old Moonraker (talk) 07:46, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the four references, but two were "404 not found" and a hasty word search for "waste" in the others produced "0 words found". You are trying to verify the statement that "...fossil fuel waste causes ... increased deaths from hurricanes, flooding..." --Old Moonraker (talk) 18:36, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm equating "fossil fuel waste" with CO2. If that isn't an acceptable equivalent, then we can reword the statement to make the meaning more clear. I'll address the dead links - apologies there, I lifted them directly from the ar4 article without following the URL because I'm already familiar with the WGI & WGII and SPMs for both reports. Certainly those sources support that CO2 from burning fossil fuels is causing global warming, and that an increase of hurricanes (weakly supported), flooding, etc. is expected. I'll have to check more closely to see whether deaths from those events are specifically addressed there, or if another source is required. The IPCC report didn't use the term "waste" in describing the unwanted byproducts of fossil fuel consumption.
I think a brief statement to provide context for radioactive waste is appropriate, though I haven't looked closely at whether they are expressed well in the article. It was just my intent to do a friendly drive-by sourcing because I saw the fact tag go up in the edit history.Mishlai (talk) 18:53, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
It may be that climate change is not the most appropriate counterpoint to radwaste. It may be more comparable to proliferation as a risk from nuclear energy - long-term and potentially severe, but difficult to know and quantify. Fossil fuel waste also includes solid waste from mining and burning coal, with more knowable consequences. NPguy (talk) 20:52, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
I've no complaint with the fossil fuel premise at all: it's just that I'm uneasy about including it in this article about radioactive waste. WP:TOPIC probably makes the point better than I can. On the other hand, the danger from radioactivity in coal-fuelled power station ash, already touched upon briefly, could possibly be expanded a little. --Old Moonraker (talk) 21:39, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
I think it is someone's intent to make clear that, as it pertains to nuclear power, nuclear waste is present instead of these other negative effects, which nuclear does not have. I don't have a strong opinion right now as to whether or not that belongs in the article.Mishlai (talk) 01:06, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps I'm beginning to understand: thanks. But "...fossil fuel waste causes global warming" still confuses me. --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:09, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Depends on what you understand fossil fuel waste to mean. If you take it to be greenhouse gas emissions from a smoke stack, then it makes sense. If you take it to be sulfur, or soot, or some other byproduct then it wouldn't. Does that make sense? Mishlai (talk) 14:51, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

The comparisons with fossil fuel hazards are well covered, without the dubious statement: "fossil fuel waste causes global warming". The suggestion that the term includes CO2 from the stack is ingenious, and would be valid, but this isn't a common usage. The sentence has been tagged as {{failed verification}} for more than a fortnight but, perhaps unsurprisingly, a valid source hasn't been found. Now deleting. --Old Moonraker (talk) 21:17, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Coal Ash More Radioactive Than Radioactive Waste.

I would like this to have a counter argument in the article.

As a general clarification, ounce for ounce, coal ash released from a power plant delivers more radiation than nuclear waste shielded via water or dry cask storage.

Even then, as the Scientific American article points out, the radioactive content of fly ash is relatively low, and nearby residents are more likely to be struck by lightning than to develop health effects from that radiation. That’s not to downplay the risk — it is there, and it is real, just as the risk of being struck by lightning is real. The article states this clearly and responsibly. In fact, the story itself is both fascinating and well documented. [2]

Disagree. Not a good comparison, because coal ash waste shielded with water or dry cask storage would likely have less radiation also. Applese and oranges. Coal ash is supposed to be disposed of so it does not affect the human environment, although some notable exceptions have occurred recently--as they have historically with radioactive waste. It's not a persuasive argument wherever it appears, and not a significant issue today. Mervyn Emrys (talk) 20:47, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Big Picture

So what percentage of the fuel in the US is MOX compared to uranium? I understand that we have MOX as a way to get rid of Pu, so how long will we be doing this? How much Pu is there to get rid of? Does are rate of reprocessing MOX effect the rate of draw-down of nuclear weapons? I assume the Russians wouldn't like to see with years long backlog of weapons grade Pu waiting to be processed in MOX.

How many tons of the various categories of waste are being stored? At what rate are we adding to it?

From the article I understand that 95% of the original uranium remains at the end of the fuel cycle. This is mixed with radioactive byproducts including Pu and short half life particles. Why not wait 40 year or so, get rid of most of the short half lived particles then mix with enriched uranium and make new fuel? As I understand it the issue is separating the Pu which would be proliferation issue. But why separate it? In other words, the article needs to do a much better job explaining why its better to store this stuff then reprocess it.

There is no discussion of how waste is actually stored: initially in pools then in cement casks. The Academy of Science has identified a potential risk if the pools lose water either due to disaster, terrorism, mechanical problem or error. The fuel rods could catch fire, and since the pools contain many more fuel rods than are in the core, the disaster could release a huge radioactive cloud. There is no protective containment vessel such as around the core.

I'm a terrorist and my team decides to steal spent fuel rods. We exploit a weak point in the massive storage system and manage to steal some rods. The first two of the team die hauling the radioactive rods to remote location where the rods are ground to fine powder over several days. Then the second team takes the fine powder mixes with an adhesive and delivers to the streets of a major US city. The second team dies, but many streets of the city are now contaminated, and when it is revealed panic ensues. No one trusts the government's initial assessment and the city remains largely evacuated for several weeks during the difficult cleanup. Why is this implausible? Why shouldn't we be concerned that all this radioactive waste being stored around the country might be used by terrorists?

Because you'll glow like the Rockefeller Christmas tree to anyone with a detector which will probably be the way they will be tracking you considering spent fuel is hardly something that isn't noticed when it's missing and the fact that you'll be leaving a nice trail showing every where you've (and your terrorist buddies) been since might also help. This can also cause problems with possible polonium assassinations. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:33, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

Most importantly, after decades of nuclear power what's the waste disposal plan? Just keep storing it on site till we figure out a plan to store or reprocess it? If this is the plan it needs to be said very clearly in the introduction, because this is what the average citizen needs to understand about nuclear waste.

We don't have MOX today, but are currently constructing a plant. RStillwater (talk) 21:38, 22 August 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by R Stillwater (talkcontribs)

Two responses. First, The United States does not currently use any MOX fuel. Second, you are a very foolish terrorist. There are much better ways to sow panic and even possibly kill people than getting a bunch of your own people killed grinding up spent fuel. Try sarin gas. NPguy (talk) 02:01, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Introduction is far too detailed

All of the paragraphs in the introduction, except the first, should be moved to another section, IMO.

For example, this material is taken from the introduction at present:

The Fernald, Ohio site for example had "31 million pounds of uranium product", "2.5 billion pounds of waste", "2.75 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris", and a "223 acre portion of the underlying Great Miami Aquifer had uranium levels above drinking standards."[1] The United States has at least 108 sites designated as areas that are contaminated and unusable, sometimes many thousands of acres.[1][2] DOE wishes to clean or mitigate many or all by 2025, however the task can be difficult and it acknowledges that some may never be completely remediated. In just one of these 108 larger designations, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, there were for example at least "167 known contaminant release sites" in one of the three subdivisions of the 37,000-acre (150 km2) site.[1]

That paragraph and the related reference relate to waste from weapons sites only, which is a fragment of the rad waste problem as a whole. Furthermore, the paragraph contains an inventory of rad waste at particular sites. That's far to much detail for the introduction. That level of detail belongs in the body of the article.

Also, this:

The issue of disposal methods for nuclear waste was one of the most pressing current problems the international nuclear industry faced when trying to establish a long term energy production plan, yet there was hope it could be safely solved. A report giving the Nuclear Industry's perspective on this problem is presented in a document from the IAEA (The International Atomic Energy Agency) published in October 2007. It summarizes the current state of scientific knowledge on whether waste could find its way from a deep burial facility back to soil and drinking water and threaten the health of human beings and other forms of life. In the United States, DOE acknowledges progress in addressing the waste problems of the industry, and successful remediation of some contaminated sites, yet some uncertainty and complications in handling the issue properly, cost effectively, and in the projected time frame.[1] In other countries with lower ability or will to maintain environmental integrity the issue would be even more problematic.

That paragraph is about a single paper from the IAEA. However, the paper is not cited anywhere, and the title is absent.

Also, the paragraph is too vacuous: "...pressing current problems...there was hope it could be solved...[the paper] summarizes current scientific knowledge...DOE acknowledges progress...yet some uncertainty..." That kind of thing contains little information which the reader wouldn't guess.

I think this this material should be shortened and moved to a subsection called "extent of the problem" or something like that. The new subsection could be under "The nature and significance of radioactive waste".Twerges (talk) 21:08, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

More information needed on geological disposal

Placing nuclear waste into a subduction zone seems like a workable plan that eliminates the issues of maintaining a storage system for thousands of years. Can someone add more information about this idea? (talk) 20:31, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Article Overlap ?

There seems to be considerable overlap between this article's Waste Management section and High-level radioactive waste management. If someone does not address this, I will in a couple of days. Simesa (talk) 10:43, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

More overlap. There are severals "pro-nuclear" argument in the nuclear fuel cycle section. I don't see thoses as related with the article. This article is here to cover the radioactive waste, not the debate whether nuclear power emit more or less waste.

I feel this article should be more "scientifically-oriented" then "politically-oriented" because the article is long and we can't obviously show political and scientific views (try using link to political pages, minimise/summarise politics and remove opinions if possible). AlexH555 (talk) 08:52, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Using Plate Tectonics to Dispose of Nuclear and Toxic Waste

For many years I have been convinced that the solution to getting rid of toxic and nuclear waste is quite possible. The idea came to me in 1973 as I was sitting in a freshman geology class learning about plate tectonics. The instructor explained how the leading edge of the Pacific plate dives underneath the retreating edge of the plate in front of it. At the point where this dynamic earth movement occurs, long trenches and rifts going down into the earth's mantle are found.

The instructor went on to explain that any material going into the trench would be "processed" by the huge geologic forces and would eventually surface as magma but not until an age lasting many tens of thousands or even millions of years had passed. A group of scientists should pilot the feasibility of using this natural earth process to dispose of and transform toxic materials.

(Gtzin (talk) 23:03, 21 June 2010 (UTC))

This might be a good idea, but remember that Wikipedia is not a place for original research. Mitch Ames (talk) 13:30, 22 June 2010 (UTC)


Does anyone have any idea for an image for this article? Perhaps a radioactive waste dump site if anyone is into that? I know it seems outlandish, but all you need is one person. Just a thought. I'm Flightx52 and I approve this message 02:23, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

U-233 half life

Will somebody explain what the trustworthy content of this article still may be, if the half life of U-233 is claimed to be less than 20 years? Is this article 80% illiterate vandalism or intentional disinformation, introduced by zealots? With this content the information value and degree of trust in the information has to be zero. (talk) 23:14, 27 March 2011 (UTC)


Talk:Classifications_of_nuclear_waste#Summary_merge_with_no_discussion.3F Classifications of nuclear waste was started but someone came along and merged it into this article without discussion. RW is such a complex topic that eventually we will need to split out. I am OK with being patient but would like some consensus. This is a vastly complex topic which eventually will need its own article. Bard गीता 23:55, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

Preventing waste

Just wondering about the part of the article that states the only way the stop radioactive waste is though stopping nuclear energy. Correct me if I'm wrong but what about: isotope production, particle accelerator components, NORMs, medical and industrial waste (from handling the isotopes), old nukes , research reactors won't they create radioactive waste? I mean wouldn't preventing waste thus mean giving up these as well? (NB not to sure how you would you would prevent NORMs because renewables would still have the stuff from rare earths and mining) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:52, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Information Updating

A lot of the information on this page is in need of serious updating/rewriting. Some of the statements under waste disposal refer to the USSR in the present tense. Blumin (talk) 21:10, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Radioactive Waste

radioactive waste contains very toxic material — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:02, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Figures lack units

A few figures give the activities in Curies (1 Curie = 3.7e10 decays/sec) as a function of time. But they need to state the amount of waste that produces this activity. Is this for one kg? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:59, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

according to a turncoat

shouldn't it say "according to a whistleblower"? Turncoat seems unfairly harsh.Ballchef (talk) 01:56, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

Not just harsh, but value laden in a way that whistleblower is not. i am changing it. Just more examples of nuclear industry influence on WP content, i guess. Paxus Calta (talk) 14:30, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

Another idea - while, admittedly, not quite as probable as this being a conspiracy by the nuclear industry big pharma reptilian illuminati - is that the editor who added it was quoting the word used repeatedly in the Guardian article. Kolbasz (talk) 15:31, 27 March 2014 (UTC)