Nuclear Plants And Nuclear Waste Disposal

947 words - 4 pages

The first nuclear power plants started operating in the 1950’s. Now, nearly 12% of the world’s electricity comes from nuclear power facilities. With all this power comes waste, and lots of it. The amount of waste from nuclear power plants annually is over 2,000 tons and there is over 270,000 tons of waste currently in storage. Where is all this dangerous waste stored? You might be surprised.

To give you a background on just what nuclear waste is, I’ll explain just how this hazardous material is formed. By splitting atoms scientists are able to harness large amounts of energy and power entire cities. They split these atoms by shooting neutrons at them in a process known as nuclear fission. After this process has run its course and can no longer be used to generate power a highly radioactive waste is left. There are two classifications of the waste, low-level and high-level wastes. Low-level waste is the garbage accumulated from cleaning and power plant maintenance. It is not that radioactive, but still dangerous to your health. High-level waste is the burnt out fuel cells that can no longer be used. They are the majority of the problem with waste disposal. This highly radioactive waste remains as such for over 50 years on average.

So if this waste remains extremely dangerous for 50+ years how do we handle the storage and disposal of this waste? The answer is so simple that some people might think you were kidding. We bury it. There are no high tech facilities with high security, simply a big hole in the ground. Now you might be wondering where these burial sites are, the answer might scare you. A mere 200 miles away from Reno, NV lies a mountain known as Yucca Mountain. What’s so special about this mountain? It’s planned to soon house over 100,000,000 Gallons of toxic waste. The current method of disposing of this waste in Yucca is to store then in steel-cased tanks filled with water. This form of storage is not effective as it’s only a temporary solution. In the 80’s the USDE (U.S. Department of Energy) selected Yucca Mountain as a potential deposit site. The Yucca Mountain Project has since been going through a number of speed bumps due to lack of funding and support.

The nuclear power companies seem fairly content with the temporary burial of the waste, as well as the government. They say that because there are few people who would ever go near Yucca Mountain that it’s safe. This is true, but does that make it safe? Just because humans don’t typically go near Yucca Mountain doesn’t mean there isn’t a number of species who live in and around the mountain. The mutations and deaths that are possible from the waste are unsettling. Also,...

Find Another Essay On Nuclear Plants and Nuclear Waste Disposal

Nuclear Power Plants and Nuclear Energy

2258 words - 9 pages harmless. Low-level waste is anything that is contaminated during the process of producing energy from nuclear plants (Backgrounder on Radioactive Waste). Nuclear power plants may be cheap and also produce more energy that fossil fuels, however it comes at a higher price. The price being the long term disposal of high-level and low level radioactive waste. Building more nuclear power plants would endanger the environment and ecosystems. Also if more

Danger Underground: Nuclear Waste Disposal in Yucca Mountain

2917 words - 12 pages Danger Underground: Nuclear Waste Disposal in Yucca Mountain Introduction The U.S. Department of Energy has proposed plans to deposit 70,000 tons of highly radioactive waste underground Yucca Mountain in Nevada. While many environmental questions and concerns have been raised about the safety of the waste disposal plan for the next 10,000 years, there appears to be no alternative. Waste from nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants are a

Nuclear Waste

1098 words - 4 pages Mountain is a controversial site chosen to hold an underground repository of high radioactive waste. It is located 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. The repository will hold 78,000 tons of radioactive wastes so the nation could meet its long-term energy needs. At the present day, nuclear waste is being disposed at the nuclear plants waiting for a permanent disposal facility. However, even if the repository at Yucca Mountain is opened another

Nuclear waste

1855 words - 7 pages What are the main issues surrounding nuclear waste?-types of nuclear waste (page66)EcosystemEffects of nuclear radiations-problems of disposalChernovil 1936To answer to this question first I am going to give a definition of nuclear waste:Nuclear waste its knows as any waste that results from using radioactive materials for purposes that include electricity production by nuclear power plants, defence activities and nuclear weapons manufacture

Nuclear Waste

608 words - 2 pages Essay on nuclear waste, it's problems, and possible solutions good, should be updatedNuclear WasteNuclear waste is one of the most pressing and provocativeenvironmental issues of our time. This radioactive waste, whichremains deadly for thousands of years, is incredibly difficult todeal with. Unfortunately, time is running short for a solution, asa growing number of reactors, (111 in the United States alone),radioactive remnants of Cold War

Nuclear Power Plants

961 words - 4 pages “On April 26, 1986, a sudden surge of power during a reactor systems test destroyed Unit 4 of the nuclear power plant station at Chernobyl, Ukraine, in the former Soviet Union. The accident and the fire that followed released massive amounts of radioactive material into the environment.” (U.S.NRC) Around the world nuclear power plants are used to substitute natural fossil fuels due to the increase in expense. Although power plants are

Which method is the best to solve nuclear waste disposal problem?

987 words - 4 pages Introduction: The disposal of nuclear waste is one of the most alarming problems in the world. Nuclear waste is a spent radioactive fuel, which is produced by nuclear reactors or by research laboratories and medical treatments (Neil Chapman, Alan Hooper). The main risk of nuclear waste that its radioactivity can increase the possibility of cancer occurrence. Although nuclear waste is under protection of government, there is a possibility that it

Recycling Nuclear Waste

1717 words - 7 pages energy remains after the initial fueling process (Moore, 2006). Tucker further explains why it is incorrect to call spent fuel waste. After the fueling process, nuclear rods are made of 95 percent non-fissionable uranium found in everything from granite tabletops to the coal burned for electricity in coal plants. The rest of the spent rod consists of two-fifths of useable nuclear fuel (one-fifth being uranium and the other being plutonium) and the

Nuclear Waste Management

1102 words - 4 pages Nuclear Waste Management      Nuclear energy harnesses the energy released during the splitting or fusing of atomic nuclei. This heat energy is most often used to convert water to steam, turning turbines, and generating electricity.      However, nuclear energy also has many disadvantages. An event that demonstrated this was the terrible incident at Chernobyl'. Here on April 26, 1986, one of

Nuclear Waste Management

1216 words - 5 pages good goodNuclear Waste managementNuclear energy harnesses the energy released during the splitting or fusing of atomic nuclei. This heat energy is most often used to convert water to steam, turning turbines, and generating electricity.However, nuclear energy also has many disadvantages. An event that demonstrated this was the terrible incident at Chernobyl'. Here on April 26, 1986, one of the reactors of a nuclear power plant went out of control

Nuclear Steam Waste Reused

826 words - 3 pages lake water at 10o C[2] at atmospheric pressure and after condensing the steam back into water, the lake water comes out at roughly 30oC[2]. Before condensing the remaining steam, we could add a secondary electricity generation process, improving the efficiency of nuclear power plants. The CANDU Reactor has waste heat, which is near 50oC to 70oC [2]. With this heat, there is a possible method to create additional electricity. The

Similar Essays

Nuclear Waste Disposal Essay

1278 words - 5 pages Nuclear Waste Disposal 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

Nuclear Waste Disposal Essay

3979 words - 16 pages Nuclear Waste Disposal As the millenium approaches, we are faced with the problems created by our technological advances. Everyday we are forced to see the results, from acid rain to polluted beaches. But there is one problem in particular that will probably out-live our generation and the generation which has created it. If properly contained and monitored, it has little affect on us and our environment. However, once it is free of it's

Nuclear Waste Disposal In The United States

1151 words - 5 pages Nuclear Waste Disposal in the United States The demand for nuclear waste disposal began 50 years ago while researching nuclear power in order to construct the atomic bomb. Even now the demand increases daily due to the use of nuclear fuels in medicine, research, and nuclear power all while there is still no way to permanently store some of these wastes. Engineers must face the difficult task transporting and storing these wastes properly while

Waste, Radiation, And Danger; The Hanford Nuclear Power Plants

1092 words - 4 pages Waste, Radiation, and Danger; The Hanford Nuclear Power PlantsAre nuclear power plants dangerous? In a word, yes, and Hanford is one of the oldest ones around, producing radiation since 1944. Radioactive materials emitted from a nuclear power plant, such as Hanford, can injure living tissue, and a high enough dose can kill. The public has seen the danger, although over a decade ago, the meltdown at Chernobyl will not be forgotten, and cannot