[ RadSafe ] Re: Radioactive Waste Disposal

George Stanford gstanford at aya.yale.edu
Sat Oct 24 09:45:06 CDT 2009

      The author of that piece was poorly informed
by his consultants.  We don't have to wait for
future generations to decide how to fix things.
The solution to the "waste problem" is just
around the corner -- in the form of fast reactors.

      What is called "waste" is really slightly used
reactor fuel, still retaining 95% of the energy it
started with.  Moreover, 90% of the energy in the
mined ore never makes it to the fuel at all, being
left behind in the depleted uranium residue from
the enrichment process.  In other words, today's
"thermal" reactors have to struggle to get even
one percent of the energy that's locked in the

      But fast reactors are able to unlock
virtually all of that energy, thereby improving
resource utilization 100-fold.  At the same time
they can consume, as part of their fuel, the long-
lived radioactive isotopes that cause so much
heartburn.  Fast-reactor waste (consisting of
fission products) decays to a level below any
realistic concern in less than 500 years.

      And enough uranium has already been mined to
power the globe for centuries.

      It is safe, feasible, and economical to store
the used fuel for a matter of decades, while fast
reactors to consume it are brought on line.

      The United States was the leader in fast-
reactor technology, before abandoning the field
in 1994 for non-technical reasons.  At present
there is growing agitation to have the the country
resume that leadership before the global market is
captured by the burgeoning fast-reactor programs
in a number of other countries, including China
and India.

      On the Internet here's good information and
lots of bad information about the fast reactor.  A
good place for Mr. van Loon to start would be here,
which has links to good books and other reliable

George S. Stanford
Reactor physicist


At 05:01 PM 10/23/2009, Cmtimmpe at aol.com wrote:
Read the following article:
Nuclear  Power Revival for GE Leaves Waste Unsolved  (Update1)

What is astonishing is that all the 'eminent scientists' think that future
generations will be less able to solve problems than our generations.  We
are much better at safely containing nuclear waste now than we were in the
1950's so why do all the scientists think that we will not continue to
improve  our knowledge and capatbilities?

Thank  you,

Christopher M. Timm, PE
Vice President/Senior Program  Manager
PECOS Management Services, Inc.
(505) 323-8355 - phone
(505)  323-2028 - fax
(505) 238-8174 - cellular
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