[ RadSafe ] 600 years

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Fri Sep 24 17:04:50 CDT 2010

Hello, Theo.  

While I am not familiar with Mr. Beckman, I believe I understand the
logic behind what he said.  

I, personally, would not have used "ore", because it is borderline
impossible to know what the concentrations of radioactive material in
the ore that went into a particular set of fuel rods was (NOTE: Uranium
ore comes in a wide range of concentrations of uranium, and at least as
wide a range of thorium, radium, and other decay products that get left
behind in the tailings, but account for several times the radioactivity
of the uranium.  Dan knows way more about this than I do.)  I would have
used "new fuel", or fuel that has never been in a reactor, as my
baseline.  I can't say for certain, but I wouldn't be surprised if new
fuel is less radioactive than the richest ores, especially if you
include all the cladding, etc into the equation.  

Another point that I would make is there is a fair range of different
types of reactors, and a fair range of different spent nuclear fuel.  I
suspect that the spent fuel from a CANDU reactor is very, very different
from the fuel that comes from a Navy reactor.  Mr. Beckman probably had
something in the way of a commercial BWR or PWR in mind, and not
something odd, like fuel from a liquid sodium cooled reactor.  

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