The Nuclear Waste Problem

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  • Published: 21 November 2017
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    Animation by Josh Sherrington (https://www.youtube.com/heliosphere)
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    Nuclear reactor footage courtesy Canada Science and Technology Museum
    Spent fuel pool courtesy IAEA Imagebank
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Comments • 9 792

  • xXHUNGAMERXx
    xXHUNGAMERXx  15 hours back

    Fusion reactors?

    • J
      J  2 days back

      Wait a min.. 48 minutes? Try every 5 or 10 minutes per Kwh for me. I mean shit why have a 150Amp and not use it?

      • VOLTMASTER 500
        VOLTMASTER 500  2 days back

        What about a system where the uranium is completely split into 2 different materials.
        That way it won't emit energy.

        • ModeLed
          ModeLed  3 days back

          Your forgetting asteroids. THey are inevivitable to hit, and some when they hit can destroy a whole state. If awaste is anywhere on this state by by to world. The asteroid that came to russia 5 years ago, that wiped out windows was right near a nuclear power plant, That was a warning. THere are 500 nuclear power plants in the world and the more there are the more the inevitable asteroid impact will make a world wide dirty bomb.

          • ModeLed
            ModeLed  3 days back

            ive been saying this for years. Common sence. But the world only goes by short tern. When plutonium is not safe for 100,000 years, there is no short tern storage, there is no storage.

        • Herman47
          Herman47  3 days back

          *SEND THE NUCLEAR WASTE TO THE MOON!*

          • Joey Ohalloran
            Joey Ohalloran  4 days back

            Send them into space

            • Curry H
              Curry H  5 days back

              Fast reactors use nuclear waste as fuel. Problem solved.

              • euan h
                euan h  5 days back

                Great video.

                • Bjergsen Senpai
                  Bjergsen Senpai  5 days back

                  I don't know about you but if I was a person from the future and saw all this warning signs and unwelcoming landscapes, I would definitely go and explore there. This just sounds too much like a place where you will get super powers

                  • YSDQ
                    YSDQ  2 days back

                    I'd broadcast my exploration too

                • Michael Watson
                  Michael Watson  6 days back

                  You totally ignored spent fuel reprocessing and how it reduces the amount of long lived "waste"

                  • Nacho Qualsevol
                    Nacho Qualsevol  6 days back

                    ...or you can make lots of RTGs, a source of energy used in interplanetary probes...
                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisotope_thermoelectric_generator

                    • Rikkos Hop
                      Rikkos Hop  6 days back

                      Nuclear power is a moot point - the tech for the 21st century is "Liquid Air", yes air not wind. Air is free, renewable and reliable. This is truly a sustainable source of on demand grid power for 60 mil v. 20 bil per power plant !!!

                      • Aethel Yfel
                        Aethel Yfel  7 days back

                        The aboriginals drew stick figures with cancerous tumors in locations with high Radioactivity.

                        • Ateeb Tahir
                          Ateeb Tahir  1 weeks back

                          "The form of danger is emanation of energy. The danger is unleashed only if you disturb this place"
                          there are no better words than this to make them more curious.😂😂😅😅. In every sci-fi movie they type the exact same words near a super-powerful material like vibranium.

                          • Doge 5600
                            Doge 5600  1 weeks back

                            Thorium

                            • Mr. Painkiller
                              Mr. Painkiller  1 weeks back

                              Honestly.. I love your Videos, but could you please stop that ClickBait shit of "the first whatever will get..." Please! This Vid is like 2 Years old, and still get the discount.. You don´t need that stuff, com on.. Please!

                              • Stormium
                                Stormium  1 weeks back

                                can we not just eject anything we dont want into the sun or in space in general? Expensive yes but its always an option

                                • Stormium
                                  Stormium  5 days back

                                  @Beef Supreme so what your saying is once we do find a safe and efficient way to get things into space we can solve alot of humanities problems by throwing it all into the sun XD. I mean not to mention having unlimited relatively sources of materials and resources such as minerals and energy once we can mine asteroids and have solar arrays etc. makes one wonder why so little emphasis is placed on space exploration today

                                • Beef Supreme
                                  Beef Supreme  5 days back

                                  Not currently. Expensive doesn't hardly sum up how truly costly that would be. That's not a feasible solution until we figure out how to get things out of Earth's gravity well without strapping them to tons of explosive fuel and blowing it up. We've had many launch failures over the years of our space programs where rockets have exploded shortly after take off or even right on the pad. That would not be very good if the explosions also showered everything for miles with radioactive waste. Matbe some day if we ever construct a space elevator that would become a workable and safe method of disposal.

                              • Piyush Khatri
                                Piyush Khatri  1 weeks back

                                Throw the nuclear weapon into any other planet

                                • Piyush Khatri
                                  Piyush Khatri  1 weeks back

                                  You can redo it means as you made separate the power

                                  • Bill Kong
                                    Bill Kong  1 weeks back

                                    FAST NEUTRON REACTOR!

                                    Don't bury the waste just burn it.

                                    • Jack C
                                      Jack C  1 weeks back

                                      And another thing, the "toxic waste that will emit radiation" for longer than mankind will be around... That's not the waste. That's all of the leftover fuel mixed into the waste, which is just as radioactive as when we dug it out of the ground (not very). Again, fundamental misunderstanding of what nuclear waste actually is

                                      • Jack C
                                        Jack C  1 weeks back

                                        You left out the fact that all of those long lived radioisotopes I'm nuclear waste are mostly unused uranium and some plutonium. Both of which can be processed out and used as fuel. All of that nasty, super-radioactive stuff is relatively short lived. Fission products like Cesium-131, etc. Those can be removed and stored in pools for a few decades until they're inert. Nuclear waste really isn't that bad. The stuff that sticks around a long time is hardly radioactive, and the stuff that's super radioactive doesn't stick around for very long.

                                        • John Davies
                                          John Davies  1 weeks back

                                          Lies

                                          • Geohie Kim
                                            Geohie Kim  1 weeks back

                                            that 'danger don't come' looks suspiciously like a maze runner set. and you know what they did.

                                            • Critical Role Highlights

                                              This problem would've been solved, ironically enough, if it hadn't been for the environmentalists who stopped the massive underground storage facility that was planned in Nevada, so now they have to store radioactive waste in cities and urban environments instead.

                                              • Beef Supreme
                                                Beef Supreme  5 days back

                                                Eventually we'll be digging up that waste to refine and use as fuel in future breeder reactors. If we ever come to our senses and abandon the silly parts of UN treaties that currently prohibit doing so. The facility you're thinking of is in New Mexico at Yucca Mountain.

                                            • Twistie Man
                                              Twistie Man  1 weeks back

                                              Does anyone realise that the nuclear waste emits exactly the same amount of radiation which the materials they were refined from in the ground do? If anything its less since unstable elements slowly are trying to become stable through radioactive decay.

                                              • Gorilla Glue#4
                                                Gorilla Glue#4  1 weeks back

                                                put it in a rocket and shoot it into deep space...problem solved

                                                • ADDAM B
                                                  ADDAM B  1 weeks back

                                                  Here's the CHALLENGE .. extinguish the atomic HOT PARTICLE FLAME ..

                                                  • Smashing Smashers
                                                    Smashing Smashers  1 weeks back

                                                    Just surround the tunnels with bedrock or obsidian no one will break it without going to creative more or a diamond pickaxe.

                                                    • Necron
                                                      Necron  1 weeks back

                                                      What problem? I always need more drinking water. This isn’t a problem, it’s a charity’s solution

                                                      • Justin Leong
                                                        Justin Leong  1 weeks back

                                                        9:31 reminds me of tomb raider movie. they trying to find Queen Himiko body.

                                                        • Brice Music
                                                          Brice Music  1 weeks back

                                                          Just ask to Elon to ship them in space or even in the Sun!

                                                          • Mozart
                                                            Mozart  1 weeks back

                                                            Here we are trying to warn species from outer space about radiation who traveled thru the literal radiation jungle and assuming that they won't have some form of a detector.
                                                            We are truly living the most arrogant times of humanity believing that we have reached the peak of knowledge.
                                                            For fucks sake, even the miners dig with methane detectors. Overthinking and projection of stupidity should be a defacto eliminator from becoming an engineer.

                                                            • Nathan Haueter
                                                              Nathan Haueter  2 weeks back

                                                              Why don’t we just send all the nuclear wast to the sun?

                                                              • Tofuu YAYA
                                                                Tofuu YAYA  2 weeks back

                                                                US Department of Energy: Let's create a message that conveys how uninteresting, how unimportant nuclear waste is.


                                                                The message: "What is here was dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.
                                                                The danger is in a particular location... it increases towards a center... the center of danger is here... of a particular size and shape, and below us."



                                                                Random YouTuber in 2430: Holy crap could it be a man made creature that were experimented on and became horribly wrong? Let's find out!

                                                                • Tofuu YAYA
                                                                  Tofuu YAYA  2 weeks back

                                                                  send it all to the moon bwoah

                                                                  • wojtekpolska
                                                                    wojtekpolska  2 weeks back

                                                                    in this message, there should be pictures of radiation, so they know what kind of danger it is (and know it IS a danger)
                                                                    edit: by pictures of radiation i mean drawings of atoms loosing electrons and something

                                                                    • MegaGouch
                                                                      MegaGouch  2 weeks back

                                                                      Once humans are gone who cares.
                                                                      Message should just say:
                                                                      Man kind was here.

                                                                      • Omar Zaheer
                                                                        Omar Zaheer  2 weeks back

                                                                        honestly, if I came across an abandoned structure and saw that message I would explore further

                                                                        • Ehud Kirsh
                                                                          Ehud Kirsh  2 weeks back

                                                                          9:31 - the smile with the nuclear symbol and ambient music is creepy...

                                                                          • Ramanathan Rajesh
                                                                            Ramanathan Rajesh  2 weeks back

                                                                            How to protect earth from nuclear waste ?
                                                                            How much money spent on International Space Station? How much tonnes of cargo lifted to space ?
                                                                            Why not lift nuclear waste to space and just push to SUN ? Only risk we have is 0 failure in lifting off to space.

                                                                            • MISC BITS
                                                                              MISC BITS  2 weeks back

                                                                              The single greatest problem with civil nuclear power is the use of water as a moderator - EVERY SINGLE SERIOUS INCIDENT HAS INVOLVED WATER

                                                                              The second greatest problem with civil nuclear power is the use of enriched uranium as fuel - THIS ENABLES NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION AND WEAPONISATION




                                                                              As for used radioactive waste: stop repeating the fallacy of "lethally radioactive for thousands of years" - they lose 99% of their radioactivity in 350 years - what's fiercely radioactive doesn't stay thay way for long - can be handled without acquiring a lethal dose at about 200 and without gloves at about 400 years.


                                                                              At 1000+ years what you have is essentially slightly more radioactive than normal natural uranium ore (arttificial pitchblende) that's only dangerous if you INGEST IT (these _are_ toxic heavy metals. The chemical factor is tens of times more important than the radioactivity at this point, but we've been handling lead for millenia....)



                                                                              You totally lose credibility when parrotting the worst misinformation about nuclear waste without bothering to fact check it - and that spills over into your credibility for other videos.


                                                                              Get rid of the water, get rid of the enriched uranium. This has been done already.


                                                                              Why don't you do something on why it was done and then thrown away for military/political gain.



                                                                              The man who invented the nuclear reactor as we know it - Alvin Weinberg - Built a BETTER nuclear reactor in the 1960s - with no water in the nuclear loops and able to be fuelled by Thorium or raw Uranium (both of which are readily available and dirt cheap) whilst ALSO reducing waste output by ~99% (so instead of a swimming pool full of fuel rods, you now have a small tank holding about a basketball's worth - and it's actually safe in about 350 years.)


                                                                              Weinberg stated in his biographies that uranium was only used because that's what was available, not because it was the best fuel and he's likened using Uranium to running a car on TNT instead of diesel (thorium).


                                                                              What's worth striving for?


                                                                              How about these?
                                                                              - total immunity to "prompt criticality" (Chernobyl, snake river, various other nuclear reactor accidents)
                                                                              - No radioactive steam explosions blowing the roof off (Chernobyl)
                                                                              - no meltdowns (can't run away and the fuel is molten/freezes at 400C, only usable WHEN molten)
                                                                              - vastly reduced potential biosphere contamination (water again.... no radioactives in the water == no steam or water leaks)
                                                                              - Can't burn (ever tried burning a salt?)
                                                                              - No corrosive, radioactive high pressure liquids (water) trying to claw their way out of the pipework and flash to 1400 times their original volume....
                                                                              - Can't explode (boiling point of the salt is over 1800C, nuclear fission reactions self limit at around 1200C - therefore the loop is unpressurised, therefore no boiler issues in the nuclear loop)
                                                                              - don't need massive contaminent systems (no radioactive steam explosions/leaks - see above) - meaning containment is MUCH cheaper/easier/more effective
                                                                              - 99% reduction in END PRODUCT waste production (and most waste being helium/xenon - saleable materials. Airships, anyone?)

                                                                              - 91% reduction in INPUT waste production
                                                                              - If you are silly enough to use uranium, you throw away 89% of the raw material to get to minimum reactor grade, 91% to get to standard civil grade
                                                                              - and expend so much energy doing so the USA regards it as a classified military secret(**)


                                                                              - The ability to use _existing nuclear waste_ (including depleted uranium) as a fuel (literally dissolving fuel rods into the fuel salt, as is)


                                                                              - the essential elimination of trivial weaponisation of the fuel production cycle(**) and weapons proliferation.


                                                                              - Making rare earth mines feasible and economic (thorium is the primary waste product of rare earth mining)
                                                                              - Making all the world's coal ash slurry ponds a _valuable fuel source_ and therefore solving THAT environmental nightmare. (there's enough thorium and other rare earths in the ash to make it worthwhile processing it - IF there's a market for thorium)



                                                                              Not enough? How about this?


                                                                              - runs at 700-900C
                                                                              - which means you can make your generation turbines 40% more efficient with supercritical steam (in the non-nuclear side)
                                                                              - and you can reject heat to atmosphere rather than needing to dump ingo waterways with local environmental impacts and needing substantial derating during heatwaves
                                                                              - or you can make hydrogen directly from water using a modified Haber process instead of inefficient electrolysis


                                                                              - can be run up and down in seconds - these things can peak follow
                                                                              - no need for peaker plants.


                                                                              - can be shut down and restarted almost instantly (this is what killed Chernobyl)
                                                                              - no neutron poisoning (the xenon is extracted as it's produced) means no difficulty ramping up power from very low levels.
                                                                              - The test 8MW system was shut down on friday afternoons and restarted on Monday mornings because noone wanted to mind the baby over the weekend. You can't do that with even a 100kW conventional nuclear reactor.


                                                                              - SMALL
                                                                              - and no steam explosion risk means they can be near conurbations, which means you can provide district heating.
                                                                              - can be sited well away from flood risks
                                                                              - seismically insensitive
                                                                              - This is important - most major cities are sited along rivers and rivers tend to follow fault lines.




                                                                              (*) No enrichment needed and at least 200,000 years supply on CURRENT proven reserves,
                                                                              (**) Enriching uranium takes the furl cost from $100-150kg to $40-50,000 per kg.
                                                                              More importantly, the enrichment process is the jumping off point for weapons-making systems
                                                                              - highly enriched (40% or more) uranium is used in bomb-grade plutonium production
                                                                              - "depleted" uranium is actually an essential part of high yield nuclear weapons (Teller-Ulam bombs, the kind found on MIRVs)
                                                                              - Actual nuclear weapons materials aren't very radioactive (they emit less radiation than you'd get sitting in an aircraft at 30,000 feet) and "fizzy" stuff makes them go off prematurely.


                                                                              It's worth noting for that reason, USED nuclear fuel is virtually worthless as a weapons material source as it's so heavily contaminated with highly radioactive isotopes that are extremely close in molecular weight to the bomb-making isotopes that they can't be separateed without 20-100 times the current effort in enriching raw uranium.




                                                                              Oh, and 76 people died of direct radiation effects at Chernobyl, not 31.
                                                                              - The ongoing health problems with the emergency responders are primarily due to some superstitious belief amongst soviet/russian medics that radiation is contagious (so they won't go near the heroes) and a deeper sense of shame/trying to cover up what happened that resulted in the authorities pretty much shunting them into the worst possible housing/conditions.


                                                                              Three Mile Island's melted down reactor is currently being dismantled and scrapped. The same wlll happen at Chernoybl and Fukushima at 40-50 years once the radioactivity has died down enough to handle things safely. These exclusion zones are NOT permanent (Chernobyl needs about 100 years, preferably 200. Fukushima province was never more radioactive than downtown Helsinki Finland, or Denver Colorado or the Yorkshire Dales in the UK)

                                                                              Highly radioactive materials send out a nice beacon telling you where to find them - and stop being highly radioactive in a very short period of time anyway. Chemical waste is silent tand keeps on giving forever.

                                                                              • 99% Perspiration
                                                                                99% Perspiration  2 weeks back

                                                                                To recycle the spent fuel rods, why don't they use them to heat cities with hot water?
                                                                                They could be in a central location and used to heat water , then pump it to heat all of downtowns buildings for a long time. Save money for the city.

                                                                                • Tau
                                                                                  Tau  2 weeks back

                                                                                  I say write nothing, if an explorer dies because if it, the next to enter it will be far more cautious.

                                                                                  • jaden summer
                                                                                    jaden summer  2 weeks back

                                                                                    THE NUCLEAR WASTE ARE NEEDS TU BURY NEAR IN THE VULCANO TO COOK AND TO REMOVE THE RADIATION ALSO TO DROP IN BURNING LAVA,, SLOWLY OR PIECE BY PIECE ,, IF THE LAVA ARE INCREASING THE FIRE IF DROPPING THE NUCLEAR WASTE THAT IS GOOD BUT IF THE LAVA ARE DIE NEEDS TO BURY IN THE LAND WITHOUT LAVA BECAUSE THE IMPORTANT ARE TO COOK BEFORE RETURN AGAIN TO THE LAND

                                                                                    • Southern Sight
                                                                                      Southern Sight  2 weeks back

                                                                                      Far out... this is such negligent propaganda.

                                                                                      • Edgy Beats
                                                                                        Edgy Beats  2 weeks back

                                                                                        Launch it into a black hole?

                                                                                        • Deven Rushing
                                                                                          Deven Rushing  2 weeks back

                                                                                          Why is this person so negative about the survival of humanity? I always think of us reach type 2 civilization in 100,000 years and exploring the Galaxy. By then we will power everything by fusion and dyson swarms. Fission power will be looked at as a primitive step towards cleaner energy and storage solutions will already been in places.