[ RadSafe ] 600 years

Stewart Farber radproject at sbcglobal.net
Fri Sep 24 17:39:56 CDT 2010

Hi Mr. Richel,

A good overview of the decay of
 radioactivity in spent fuel is found in a recent review paper written by Dr. Bernard Cohen. This review gives some good graphs of the decay of various isotopes with time. This 2008 review at the link below is largely based on journal papers published by Dr. Cohen back in the 1970s or so which Dr. Beckman would have seen when he penned his general comments to which  you refer. I believe there was
 also a lengthly article which appeared in Scientific American magazine in the late 1970s which also highlighted the rapid decay of activity in HLW. See, the link below for the recent review by Cohen:


Also see the link below for a review by the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management:


and see:

For those who do not know of the newsletter by Dr. Petr Beckman, Access to Energy, it was a wonderfully interesting newsletter offering information in a style which was totally unique. There is an online library of the 25 years this newsletter was published:


Dr. Beckman also wrote many highly technical books [but accessible to scientists], and an interesting short book, "The history of Pi" which is an easy read by anyone with an interest in how Pi played an important role in the history of mankind.

Stewart Farber, MS Public Health

Farber Medical Solutions, LLC
Linac & Imaging Equipment Brokerage

1285 Wood Ave.

Bridgeport, CT 06604

[203] 441-8433 [office]

website: http://www.farber-medical.com

--- On Fri, 9/24/10, Theo Richel <theo at richel.org> wrote:

From: Theo Richel <theo at richel.org>
Subject: [ RadSafe ] 600 years
To: "The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) MailingList" <radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Date: Friday, September 24, 2010, 4:26 PM


I m a journalist from the Netherlands interested in nuclear waste. Petr
Beckman (whom I suppose many of you know) wrote in his newsletter
'Access to energy' (1978) the following:

"But there is one and only one type of wastes that can be completely
removed from the biosphere: nuclear. Their volume is more than one
million times 
smaller than that of coal wastes from a power plant of equal capacity (a
 2 m3/year
 from a 1,000
 MW plant); they can be solidified, sealed
into glass and put in earthquakeproof, fireproof, waterproof steel drums
for burial 1800 feet deep in salt formations where there has been no
water for the last 100 million years, and if water does threaten to get
in next week, 
the salt will seal up and keep it out. The wastes are easy to monitor
because, thank God, they are radioactive; and within 600 years, their
radioactivity will have decayed below the level of the uranium ore 
that they originally came from."

Spent fuel is just as radioactive as the ore it came from after 600
years? I cannot ask Beckman anymore, he died in 1993. Is there anyone
here who understands why he said that? What percentage of that 2 m3/yr
waste has decayed to that level then?

I will not quote you without your permission.


Theo Richel

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Bernard L.
Sent: dinsdag 21 september 2010 22:02
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Cc: Teachout, Anna M. CIV AFRRI/HPD
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] [ RadSafe Yucca Mtn.

  The Nuclear Waste Policy Act is the problem, as explained in the 

On 9/20/2010 4:02 PM, Teachout, Anna M. CIV AFRRI/HPD wrote:
> The Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA, P.L. 97-425, 96 Stat. 2201
> )recognizes that the federal government has the primary responsibility
> for permanent radwaste disposal, as well as the important
> roles of
 the states and the public.  Various agencies within the
> government predicted (decades ago) that the site selection process and
> the construction would likely be controversial because there are so
> entities involved (Sec DoE, Congress, the President, the states,
> American Tribes, and the general public).  Political posturing and
> anti-nuclear activism haven't made the undertaking any less
> or less expensive.  Democracies can be oftentimes be rather messy, but
> that doesn't mean we should yearn for dictatorships, does it?

Bernard L. Cohen
Physics Dept., University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Tel: (412)624-9245  Fax: (412)624-9163
e-mail: blc at pitt.edu  web site: http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc

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