[ RadSafe ] Spent Nuclear Fuel Utilization

Jerry Cohen jjc105 at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 22 15:30:29 CDT 2010

Blaine,  I like your ideas, but if, ideally, we develop into a rational society 
where most of our power needs were supplied by nuclear energy, and all the spent 
fuel was  reprocessed, the resultant supply of "waste" fission products would 
far exceed what would be needed for beneficial irradiation purposes and we would 
still need somehow  to get rid of the excess. Do you have any good ideas on how 
 we might overcome radiophobia?    Jerry

From: Blaine Howard <blainehoward at yahoo.com>
To: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Sent: Wed, September 22, 2010 12:17:01 PM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Spent Nuclear Fuel Utilization

Dear RadSafers,
  With regard to an ideal solution for spent nuclear fuel, I like Jerry Cohen's 
"1. All nuclear fuel should be reprocessed and all fissile material recovered 
for fuel fabrication or other useful purposes.
2. The raffinates including all unusable fission products should be
solidified by mixing it in concrete and emplaced and solidified in suitable 
3. The waste containing drums should be transported to the deepest part of the 
ocean, and dropped to descend (>10 km.) to the ocean floor."

  However, I would suggest a slightly different approach.
1.  All spent nuclear fuel should be reprocessed and the fissile material 
recovered for fuel fabrication.
2.  The U-238 should also be recovered and used in breeder reactors to convert 
it to a fissile material to recover all available energy from the SNF.
3.  The fission products (at least much of them) should be incorporated into 
small glass or ceramic sources which could be utilized for food irradiation 
facilities and agricultural produce irradiation.

  I have worked at a food irradiation facility and know some of the advantages 
of preserving food by irradiation.  Agricultural produce can be allowed to ripen 
on the trees and irradiated to allow shipping with less spoilage.  And the tree 
ripened flavor is much superior.
  I regard all of the spent nuclear fuel as a valuable resource for both energy 
and food preservation.
Of course, the public would have to overcome its radiophobia.

Just a thought.
Blaine N. Howard
blainehoward at yahoo.com

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