I was taking out the trash and recycling the other day, and as I was dumping things into the cans-and-bottles bin and the paper-and-cardboard bin, I started thinking about radioactive waste. Because who doesn’t, right? And in particular, I was wondering yet again why the US disposes of our spent fuel rather than trying to get every bit of utility out of it. We used to – we just stopped. Odd.
While developments will emerge, right now there’s not much information available about apparent problems at the Taishan nuclear power plant. Let's review what is known, and also consider its background, so we have a fuller context. And here are some educated guesses as to what might happen next.
Over the years, I’ve generated tens of thousands of cubic feet of radioactive waste, managing the radioactive waste program at a large Midwestern university, and as the Radiation Safety Officer at a mid-sized university in the Northeast. None of this was glowing – in any color – and none of it looked much different from any of the other laboratory, medical, or remediation waste produced in so many places around the world every year.
Some of my best memories are of the times I spent hiking and camping with my family as a child, Boy Scout, and on leave from the Navy. I have great memories of swimming in rivers, lakes, and ponds; running for the park rangers when bears invaded our campsite, of watching the sunset over the ocean (or rise over the rim of a canyon). What bothers me is that today, so many of these things can no longer be enjoyed.
The downside of gift-giving, nuclear power redesigned, and a look at one of our first "industrial" foods.
The anti-nuclear crowd uses an assortment of scare tactics to turn public opinion against the use of nuclear power. One of them is highlighting the risk of a serious accident, that might occur when spent nuclear fuel is transported to a disposal site. Is there any validity to this? A visit to the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque, NM tells us there is not. (It's actually very safe.)
Many homeowners and those buying property are concerned about potential radon-related health issues, specifically having to do with radiation exposure as a cause of cancer. A new publication by Dr. Jerry Cuttler, an advisor at the American Council, dispels that concern using science.
Anti-nuclear activists demand that California s last electricity-generating nuclear reactor the Diablo Canyon plant be shut down based on a host of illusory concerns. But do their claims about the risks to human health and the environment really hold water?
An op-ed in Forbes.com by James Conca notes the benefits of nuclear power in helping to ameliorate, to some extent, the disastrous drought now gripping California (and to a lesser extent, Oregon and Washington). Specifically, he notes the nuclear reactor at Diablo
When national debates, contesting social and public standards, come to a boil, research studies are frequently a neutral and
Energy needs worldwide are expected to increase for the foreseeable future, but fuel supplies are limited. Nuclear reactors could supply much of the energy demand in a safe, sustainable manner were it not for fear of potential releases of radioactivity. Such releases would likely deliver a low dose or dose rate of radiation, within the range of naturally occurring radiation, to which life is already accustomed.
Nuclear energy is released from atomic nuclei via controlled nuclear reactions. The most common method used today is nuclear fission, which involves the splitting of uranium atoms with a resulting release of energy. This energy is then captured and used to produce electricity to power modern societies varied needs.