final paper GEOL 205 001
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Date Created: 11/22/15
Hall Heyward Rosen GEOL 205 Fall 2015 Group Project How to Dispose of Nuclear Waste Austin Hall Kaelyn Heyward Katie Rosen 23 November 2015 ABSTRACT Nuclear reactors have been built all over the world many of them being placed in illequipped locations Nuclear reactors produce waste which poses an abundance of health and safety threats to humans Nuclear waste is accompanied by toxic chemicals and excessive heat that needs to be cooled and monitored for a very long time or it is likely to cause explosions One of the most toxic chemicals yielded by nuclear reactors is uraniumuranium has a very long halflife of millions of years which makes physical exposure much more threatening In extreme situations uranium poisoning can even cause death In addition to health risks nuclear waste puts a huge financial burden on our nation Because of these hazards only one nuclear reactor has been built since 1996 Bizimis M Currently our country and many others are fighting to find a permanent repository for this waste because Yucca Mountain in Nevada was being considered but has since been deemed unfit as a permanent storage location Hall Heyward Rosen Oxford Reference defines nuclear waste as the residue of material left over from the production of nuclear energy This includes some ores mine tailings and residual products of nuclear reactions that are radioactive with an extremely long halflife quotNuclear Wastequot According to Steve Hargreaves a CNN news reporter In the United States 63000 tons of nuclear waste the sum total of all the waste generated by decades of nuclear power sits right where it was created at the power plants themselves Hargreaves Steve For a very long time issues regarding nuclear waste have been avoided and manipulated Ronald Reagan a former president is famous for saying All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk Googlecom As technology politics and intelligence progressed with time our nation began to analyze issues stemming from nuclear power plants Solutions have been considered discussed and attempted but we remain without a permanent solution It has been concluded that storing nuclear waste deep down in a secluded area is our best bet but every potential location has turned out to be unsuitable For now our country is still battling with nuclear waste s financial and physical burdens It is aXiomatic that nuclear waste poses threats to the environment and its inhabitants but why how much and what can be done to put a stop to this safety hazard Many people are convinced the usage of cooling pools eliminates major hazards however cooling pools can only store so much spent fuel Some cooling pools including that of Reactor Unit 3 of the Indian Point nuclear power plant located outside of New York City are approaching maXimum capacity This specific pool was intended to store 264 spent fuel assemblies it currently has 1218 assemblies in it and they are only legally permitted to store 1345 assemblies Dave Lochbaum an eXpert in the nuclear power industry assures us that over storing fuel assemblies will put us all at risk of accidents natural disasters or terrorist attacks Shulman Seth If nuclear waste was to catch fire which is very possible it could potentially render an area the size of half of New Jersey permanently uninhabitable Hargreaves Steve Nuclear waste is most commonly stored in these cooling pools but it is also sometimes stored in casks nearby the reactors In the past using these tactics served as a sensible stopgap because the government planned to transport the waste to a storage area within Nevada s Yucca Mountain This repository was recently appraised unfit plunging our government and entire country into a fearful hunt for longterm storage Hargreaves Steve The former prime minister of Japan Morihiro Hosokawa said he foolishly once believe the myth that nuclear energy is clean and safe quotTokyo Governor Poll Campaign Begins amid Nuclear Debatequot Many individuals including some of our former presidents believed nuclear waste was Hall Heyward Rosen adequately handled How can the human tendency of mistakes and error be overlooked when dealing with such toxic material One of the most frightening concepts about the fight to safely dispose of nuclear waste is that the entire planet is struggling with this issue it cannot be escaped Nuclear waste is said to be one of the main causes of global warming which is a con ict indirectly or directly impacting everyone When handling radioactive material the reality is scary and undeniable Plutonium 239 is a major element in the nuclear industry Although only 10 kg of plutonium is needed to make a bomb over 100 tons of uranium is used to make up plutonium Uranium is the source of more than 50 of the energy produced in South Carolina POWERPOINT Uranium has an extremely long halflife and to make matters more dangerous when a sufficient amount of uranium is brought together in a nuclear reactor a chain reaction of nuclear fission results Bizimis M if these chain reactions are not monitored they can lead to nuclear eXplosions The average person doesn t consider the details within the industry but machinery and equipment are constantly being transported and altered with which is only contributing more and more waste to these temporary repository sites It is very unfortunate to say the least that nuclear energy is indestructible Satyaban Sarkar In combination with the unavoidable high risk of handling nuclear energy there are factors that can heighten the risk Nuclear reactors should be carefully placed in secluded at areas such as the middle of a continent If a nuclear reactor or nuclear waste is placed in a subduction zone there is a very high chance that volcanic activity and earthquakes will occur Despite this Japan an unfit location has so many reactors because President Eisenhower proliferated nuclear power and isolated Japan in the early 1950 s Japan could no longer rely on China for nuclear power and had to build their own plants quotPresident Eisenhower39s quotAtoms for Peacequot Speechquot The placement of the Fukushima nuclear reactor is undoubtedly to blame for its recent accident On March 11th 2011 a large earthquake and 15meter tsunami destroyed power sources and cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor in Japan quotFukushima Accidentquot In addition accidents in the United States and other countries lead to death injury evacuation and immense fear In Kyshtym in the Southern Urals in USSR in 1957 for example This disaster was caused by a no surprise failure of the cooling system There was an eXplosion in a 330 cubic meter capacity concrete vessel containing 80 tons of heatproducing radioactive waste liquor left over from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel subsequently 10000 individuals were evacuated from their homes Satyaban Sarkar The accidents at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Harrisburg PA in March 1979 the much more serious accident at the Chernobyl plant near Kiev Ukraine in April 1986 and the recent Fukushima Daiichi disaster have created public fear and mistrust of the nuclear industry Bizimis M Hall Heyward Rosen These accidents shed light on the government39s decision to deem Yucca Mountain unfit to store nuclear waste The Department of Energy considers Yucca Mountain to be a permanent disposal site However not only do the people of Nevada consider Yucca Mountain to be part of the Western Shoshone traditional homelands Washoe and County a sacred location they also rely on groundwater beneath Yucca Mountain as drinking water which could be potentially contaminated Not to mention the nuclear information and resource service highlights possible risks because Yucca Mountain is located in an extremely active earthquake zone Washoe and County Due to the plethora of issues associated with Yucca Mountain the department of energy government and general public are still anxiously working towards finding a permanent repository Not only are humans at risk of physical exposure to toxic matter but they are responsible for funding the country39s current and future efforts regarding nuclear energy As many of us are aware our money is put towards a plethora of tasks and efforts including those involving nuclear energy As we hopefully approach a solution to the current issues our nation will have to come up with between 100 billion and 150 billion during the next 20 years to get rid of the radioactive materials and toxic chemicals that have seeped into soil and water surrounding the plants This does not even include the nuclear power plants from which nuclear wastes are piling up in 26 countries Satyaban Sarkar The con ict over nuclear waste storage is said to be more of a political issue than anything The government should be working with the Department of Energy DOE and other nuclear associations The DOE should have a greater say in the matter because these experts will be able to reach a decisions that takes human safety into consideration However regardless of the most advisable decision most states are reluctant to house the toxic chemicals Other solutions that could work include converting the radioactive material into glass or reducing the mass of the waste as much as possible to store in smaller casings thus buying us more time to find a repository The most important factors to take into consideration as we search for a solution are finding a location that is not in a subduction zone as far from highly populated areas as possible Taking these precautions will help ensure safety to equate for human error and unforeseen accidents Temporarily some nuclear plants should be shut down specifically in Japan and other locations that have been scientifically proven unfit due to their location because only about 15 of the world s electricity comes from nuclear power Bizimis M Hall Heyward Rosen Work Cited Bizimis M quotNuclear Energyquot Powerpoint 2015 n pag Print Hargreaves Steve quotNuclear Waste America39s 39biggest Security Threat39 CNNMoney Cable News Network 1 Apr 2011 Web 08 Nov 2015 lthttpmoneycnncom20110401newseconomynuclear wastegt quotFukushima Accidentquot World Nuclear Association World Nuclear News Oct 2015 Web 20 Nov 2015 lthttpwwwworldnuclearorginfosafetyandsecuritysafetyofplantsfukushima accidentgt quotNuclear Wastequot A Dictionary of Public Health Ed Last John M Oxford University Press 2007 Oxford Reference 2007 Date Accessed 8 Nov 2015 lthttpwww0Xfordreferencecompallas2tclsceduview101093acref9780195160901001000 1acref9780195160901e3125gt quotPresident Eisenhower39s quotAtoms for Peacequot Speechquot President Eisenhower39s quotAtoms for Peacequot Speech Np nd Web 20 Nov 2015 lthttpwwwatomicarchivecornDocsDeterrenceAtornsfomeaceshtmlgt Satyaban Sarkar Nuclear Waste The White Man39s Burden Economic and Political Weekly 252 1990 84 85 lthttpwwwjstororgpallas2tclscedustable gt Shulman Seth quotThe Growing Threat of Nuclear Wastequot Union of Concerned Scientists Np 2013 Web 08 Nov 2015 lthttnwwwucsusaorgnublicationscatalvstsu13 the growingthreatof nuclearwaste htmlVjKAEv4vagt quotTokyo Governor Poll Campaign Begins amid Nuclear Debatequot BBC com BBC News 23 Jan 2014 Web 5 Nov 2015 lthttpwwwbbccornnewsworldasia 25841918gt Washoe and County quotRadioactive Roads and Railsquot Get the Facts about Y U CCA MOUNTAIN Hall Hayward Rosen NEVADA and Nuclear Waste nd n pag NIRS0rg Public Citizen Web 20 NOV 2015
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