For over the last half century, the production and exploit of nuclear technology has spread into many areas of the current modern society and affects each individual in one way or another. Nuclear technology has become relevant in areas of the advancement of energy production, national defense, and also the medicinal field as well. But, along with the use of nuclear technology comes an added burden: nuclear waste. As defined, “Nuclear waste is the type of waste that results from the use and production of nuclear materials. As nuclear materials are produced and use up, one by-product of the process is a large amount of dangerous chemical elements.” In short, nuclear wastes are generated from spent nuclear fuel, dismantled weapons, and other products which many include the most dangerous chemical element, plutonium. As nuclear energy is being a more reliable source, we must find a way to properly dispose of it just like any other energy waste.
The most important design item that we must consider in storage of nuclear waste lies in the shielding of its radiation. Currently, nuclear waste is stored in specially-designed, water-filled basins or dry casks at commercial power reactor sites or at one away-from-reactor storage facilities in 43 different states.. But as these are only temporary, The Bush Administration and the U.S Department of Energy have proposed a design for a permanent waste disposal which will place steel canisters containing the spent fuel to be stored within other steel canisters and buried horizontally in chambers 300 meters below the earth’s surface. In February of 2002, President Bush chose the site of Yucca Mountain (90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada) as the place to...
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...ng methods to solve this problem. Hopefully efforts will be successful and the world will have one less worry in its already huge human waste disposal dilemma.
1. Nuclear Issues Briefing Paper 49. “International Nuclear Waste Disposal
Concepts.” http://www.uic.com.au/nip49.htm. 2/3/2005
2. “Nuclear Waste: Storage and Disposal Methods.”
3. Natural Resources Defense Council. “EPA loses Yucca Mountain court case.”
4. Environmental Media Services. “Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Storage and
5. Brongers, Michiel P.H. “Nuclear Waste Storage.” Chem.480, April 6, 2002,
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