Recycling Nuclear Waste Essay

Recycling Nuclear Waste Essay

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One major unresolved issue arises as the result of using nuclear power: what happens to waste generated in this process. As of right now, the waste is stored on site or in deep geological repositories. However, with what was to be the country’s end all storage site (the Yucca Mountain repository) no longer an option due to recent legislation, long-term storage seems unfeasible. In addition, as more nations move towards reprocessing, there are experts and lawmakers in this country who have been looking into reprocessing the country’s nuclear waste as well. While many experts say that reprocessing is the best solution for freeing the country of the nuclear waste issue, there are others who say that reprocessing is simply too dangerous and expensive.

While all power-generating processes produce waste, many experts argue that the leftovers from the nuclear powering process are not waste. First off, there must be an understanding of the nuclear process to know what the leftovers actually are. William Tucker, one of the leading non-industry experts on nuclear power, stated in his 2009 article “There is no such thing as nuclear waste” that “A nuclear fuel rod is made up of two types of uranium: U-235, the fissionable isotope whose breakdown provides the energy; and U-238 which does not fission and serves basically as packing material.” These rods, used for around five years, generate enough energy to power a city the size of San Francisco without causing any chemical transformations or carbon-dioxide emissions (Tucker, 2009). Tucker is just one of the experts that argue that nuclear waste is not waste, as is Patrick Moore. Moore informs his readers that it is incorrect to call used nuclear fuel waste. This statement stems from the fa...


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...r, A. (2009, October 1). How much power does the average house use up? Retrieved from Recycle: http://www.recycle.co.uk

Moore, P. (2006). Going nuclear. The Washington Post. Retrieved March 29, 2011 from http://www.washingtonpost.com

Tetreault, S. (2008). Yucca mountain cost estimate tops $90 billion. The Las Vegas Review Journal . Retrieved March 24, 2011 from http://www.lvrj.com

Tucker, W. (2009, March 13). There is no such thing as nuclear waste. Wall Street Journal, A9. Retrieved March 26, 2011 from http://online.wsj.com

Union of Concerned Scientists. (2006). Nuclear reprocessing: dangerous, dirty, and expensive. Washington, DC: Union of Concerned Scientists. Fact Sheet Retrieved March 25, 2009 from http://www.ucsusa.org

von Hipple, F. (2009). A nuclear waste solution. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 25, 2011 from http://www.latimes.com

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