This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Recycling Nuclear Waste Essay

1717 words - 7 pages

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 fact that over 95 percent of potential 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 three-fifths that remain are valuable in both industrial and medical processes (Tucker, 2009). With the knowledge that nuclear waste is not actually waste many are lead to the conclusion that reprocessing is a good, if not great idea, however there are an equal number of opponents that say that regardless of the possible benefits that come from reprocessing it simply is not the way to go.

Before discussing the arguments for and against nuclear waste reprocessing, there needs to be an understanding of what reprocessing actually is. Reprocessing is a very delicate and complex process. Katherine Ling briefly describes the process in her article “Is the solution to the U.S. nuclear waste problem in France?” She describes the process as a...

Find Another Essay On Recycling Nuclear Waste

Nuclear Energy: Don’t be a Fossil Fool!

2508 words - 11 pages states. Currently, only 436 nuclear reactors currently power 12.8% of all world energy. With a nuclear infrastructure, not only can dependence on oil-based energy sources be phased out, entering a new era of energy, but also a clean environment can be achieved. Existing and future nuclear waste can be reduced through waste recycling and reprocessing, similar to methods used in the European Union. In contrast, emissions by carbon-based fossil

Waste Management Essay

1044 words - 4 pages      Municipal waste is disposed of in three different ways. As of 2004 it is estimated that 71 percent is land filled, 16 percent incinerated, and 13 percent recycled. Other wastes that have to be disposed of are nuclear and hazardous wastes. The environmental effects of different waste management solutions will be discussed as well as ideal ways, in my opinion, to dispose of different forms of solid wastes. &nbsp

The Changing Issue of Nuclear Power

1326 words - 5 pages wishing to obtain these dangerous materials could have found an abundance of them in one small area of the country. Currently some experts are calling for nuclear waste products to go through a recycling process before being sent to storage (Dawson). This process is more expensive than the current one use policy, but it does remove the leftover nuclear reactive materials that make the waste so dangerous. Some European countries already employ this

The Nu-Clear Vision: Hind Sight on Reprocessing Arguments

794 words - 3 pages in. It could also be placed on tree-hugger websites, in an attempt to get them on board with the recycling of spent fuels and push the “thinking green” concept. I chose to target a broader audience and go for people who already display an interest in nuclear waste rather than limiting the commercial to the student population of one university. Therefore expanding this age range to anywhere from the high school student doing a research paper, to

Preparation for Nuclear Incidents in the U.S

1111 words - 4 pages of years, scientific review showed that the location was ill-equipped to handle radioactive wastes for long periods of time. The Yucca Mountain project was canceled, and licensees must currently store their high-level radioactive wastes at their own facilities (High-Level Waste). References “Adiu to nuclear recycling.” Nature 152. (2009): 460. Web. 26 April 2011. Kidd

The Argument For Nuclear Energy

1713 words - 7 pages . Comparing to fossil fuels uranium used to produce nuclear energy is a better resource. Unlike fossil fuels, using nuclear fuel produces virtually no polluting or greenhouse gases, and does not speed up global warming. However one of the big issues with nuclear power is that it produces hazardous waste – radioactive – which releases radiation comprising dangerous particles and invisible rays. This explains why the storage and disposal of the nuclear waste

An Evaluation of Composting, Incineration, and Recycling

2306 words - 9 pages the nuclear waste. For instance, as a result of development of space industry, in the recent decades the amount of the space waste has increased significantly. Some countries or companies left their old satellites, idle equipments in the open space, which then became space debris. This space debris can collide with working space station and damage them. In addition, sometimes these wastes enter the atmosphere and do not burn during their falling

Nuclear Power Should be a Critical Component in a Strategy to Deal With Concern About Global Warming

2567 words - 10 pages present and future generations (Diesendorf 2011). However, as Moore (2006) explains, it is incorrect to call nuclear waste “waste”, because spent nuclear fuel still contains 95% potential energy and can be recycled. Experienced nuclear countries such as Japan, France, the United Kingdom and Russia have already recycled their spent nuclear fuel (Moore 2006). By recycling spent nuclear fuel, Brandly (2001) states that spent nuclear fuel can be used

Managing waste

2614 words - 10 pages through soil to the water bodies and contaminate them. Direct Dumping of untreated wastes in water bodies results in accumulation of toxic substances in the food chain through plants and animals that feed on it. This is called Bio-magnification. Water logging results in the breeding of mosquitoes which cause diseases like dengue and malaria. Radioactive wastes generated in nuclear power plants causes serious harm to health.Waste Management : Waste

The Future Industry in Energy: Dropping the Concept of Nuclear Energy

1491 words - 6 pages energy is non-renewable energy and therefore a form of unsustainable energy, there is no place to get rid the waste and after product, and if an accident were to ever occur, it would greatly affect and alter the United States. History has shown that nuclear energy is not a feasible way to reach equilibrium of sustainable energy and that there are only a few benefits of using it. Renewable energy is on track to become the dominant source of power

Waste and Energy

2317 words - 9 pages technology and the potential for recycling the wastes that are producedNuclear WasteAny activity that produces or uses radioactive materials generates radioactive waste. Mining, nuclear power generation, and various processes in industry, defense, medicine, and scientific research produce byproducts that include radioactive waste. Radioactive waste can be in gas, liquid or solid form, and its level of radioactivity can vary. The waste can remain

Similar Essays

Recycling Nuclear Waste Too Dangerous Or The Way To A Better Tomorrow?

919 words - 4 pages America is in desperate need of a viable solution to the growing energy crisis. Nuclear power is just one way the country eases the strain. However, one major issue remains unresolved. What happens to the waste that occurs during the fueling process? As of right now, there are two solutions: storing or reprocessing. There are many risks associated with reprocessing. The major question is do these risks outweigh the benefits? All power

Nuclear Waste Essay

608 words - 2 pages required canmalfunction. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions can damage burieddrums, break the concrete, and release radioactive material intothe soil and groundwater. This groundwater can also serve to freewastes by corroding metal containers of nuclear waste, mixing withit and leaching into soil and streams. Recycling waste forplutonium is costly, complex, and still leaves behind waste. Worsestill, large-scale recycling could lead to trade in

A Nuclear Waste Race: Perspectives On Reprocessing Spent Fuel

1304 words - 5 pages that the “reprocessing programme was developed in the 1950’s in order to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons” (Greenpeace 5). This is a very unique scare tactic that has succeeded gracefully in the maturity of their claim. By relating the first known illustration of nuclear capabilities to the current situation with nuclear waste recycling, they have divulged into the greatest apprehension of the everyday citizen, death and destruction

Nuclear Energy: The Benefits Vs Disadvantages

740 words - 3 pages for the remaining supply often brings fighting and hefty prices. Nuclear Energy in the form of Uranium has no signs of depleting in the near future; with the addition that very little fuel is required to run Nuclear Plants, the supply for fuel isn’t a concern. New technologies have been finding was of using spent Nuclear fuel by recycling it. Cons of Nuclear Energy:     Nuclear Plants aren’t as environmentally friendly as people claim; even though