A Conversation for How a Nuclear Plant Works
xyroth Started conversation Dec 7, 2000
There is one slight problem with any form of atomic power. Radioactivity. This problem is totally unresolved, and is very persistant. (longer than recorded histor in some cases).
This lead to a very bad problem. When you bury it in the ground (which is practical in theory for highly radioactive fuel rods, but totally impractical for the thousands of tons of contaminated concrete, steel, etc) there is a reliance on remembering where you put all of that waste.
Ignoring the fact that we don't have a complete record of sites contaminated before world war 2 by conventional waste, you can demonstrate to any advocate of atomic power the problems of long term storage easily.
The demonstration is called the water balloon experiment, and goes like this. You get the person who is very confident in the ability to track all of this waste to get nine or ten balloons and fill them with water. You then get them to place them discretely around the floor of their own house, and get them to leave them there for 1 month.
No problem you would think, and so would they, and for the first few days, they scrupulously remember where they are. after a few days however, they start to geta bit complacent, and start forgetting exactly where they are, and thus eventually, they tread on one, and there is water all over the floor.
An their faith in longterm storage disappears as quickly as the water soaks into their mats.
xyroth Posted Dec 7, 2000
PS, fusion is no more immune to the massive amount of low level waste in buildings, etc than fission.
wahiba Posted Nov 24, 2006
Is that the volume occupied by this hi-grade waste is very small. Most of the waste is actually low grade, old boiler suits and the like.
I would think the best thing to do with the high grade waste is to keep it handy. As nuclear plants become more efficient then this high grade could be used as fuel. Much as all those coal mine waste heaps went when the technology became available to get the coal left in the waste out. It was burnt and the rest went as building material.
Key: Complain about this post