The Problem of Nuclear Waste Disposal
Until the mid-1970's, U.S. utilities planned that used fuel from nuclear plants would be kept on-site for a few months, and then be shipped to a reprocessing plant to recover plutonium and uranium. Consequently, plant specifications had limited spent-fuel storage capacity. Up until 1982, the federal government intended to receive spent fuel for disposal at a specified date. The date has continuously been postponed. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 determined that the Department of Energy would accept the used fuel to be transported and disposed in geological foundations by 1988. However, this schedule has been delayed also, and no facilities have been constructed.
The basic method of Nuclear Waste Disposal is to bury it in the ground and hope it doesn't leak out. More specifically, to identify stable Geological Foundations which can host the material for 10,000 years, like Yucca Mountain Nevada:
Here is what some countries are doing/considering but note that most nuclear waste is still stored on site.
Methods of Burial of Waste --> relatively inexpensive --> about 1% the cost of generating energy from nukes to begin with.
Other options for high-level waste disposal:
Types of High Level Nuclear Wastes:
Neutron Absorption Products:
And finally, a brief comment on Fusion Prospects:
How the Sun Works
Normal fusion requires very high energy in order for the protons to overcomb their natural electrostatic repulsion, Temperatures of at least 5 million degrees are necessary.
The main problem is finding a containment mechanism to contain this hot plasma. Work to date involves sophisticated magnetic bubbles and trapsa tokamaks.
To date, these tokamaks require more energy to sustain their integrity than the fusion experiment releases. Sometime, probably more than 100 years from now, we may figure this out.
Frequently Asked Questions about Conventional Fusion
Cold Fusion: Believe it or Not
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