Nuclear reprocessing

Only a handful of countries have the expertise and technology for nuclear reprocessing, in which spent nuclear fuel rods from power stations are chopped up and boiled in acid to extract uranium and plutonium for reuse in a reactor. The by-product is a concentrated form of vitrified nuclear waste that is as nasty as it sounds.

Err, no. Vitrified waste sounds vastly more nasty than it actually is.

\”Vitrified\” means \”made into glass\” (yes, glass really is made of metal oxides). Glass is the most stable substance we know of pretty much. The solution to nuclear waste is exactly to vitrify it and stick it at the bottom of an old mine for a couple of thousand years.

Job done.

4 thoughts on “Nuclear reprocessing”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Actually the better solution is to separate out the fission products from the actinides. Nuclear waste consists of long-lasting but relatively low level transuranic actinides together with generally short lived but highly radioactive daughter products from the fissioning of uranium. The transuranic materials can then be placed back into a reactor to burn up and hence turn into fission products. This can be done with most neutron rich reactors or an accelerator. Then you have nothing but fission products to deal with. These can be vitrified and placed in a deep mine so that in two hundred years or so they are no longer a threat to anyone.

  2. It’s a shame there isnt a single Energy Minister (on either bench I believe) with a science or engineering qualification. Nor is there in much of the MSM either as the Times article so clealry demonstrates.

    Without a basic understanding of “long words” how on earth can you make sensible policy in areas such as nuclear power or comment on it…..other than to regurgitate the same old eco-loony propaganda.

  3. Many year ago when burying the vitrifed waste was discussed it was suggested the blocks should be wrapped in lead. Then it was realised that the lead gave off more radiation than the glass block.

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