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Underground lab tackles Japan's nuclear waste problem

24 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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24 Comments
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THIS is the compelling argument to cease using nuclear energy to power our lives. . . . . . .There must be uninhabited islands off shore where they can dig depositories large enough for these damned fuel rods !! Why use an area that offers agricultural benefits

11 ( +10 / -1 )

Japanese utilities have more than 17,000 tons of “spent” fuel rods that have finished their useful life but will remain dangerously radioactive for thousands of years.

World Heritage

2 ( +2 / -0 )

According to Law, the construction of the long term storage and the running costs for spent nuclear fuel is to be paid by the power utilities and not the tax payer. About ¥3 trillion have so far been collected from those companies.

There's also the problem of storing about 160 tons of plutonium?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

What is the oldest man made thing on the planet? The pyramids? About 4000 years, right? What's the first thing we did when we discovered them? Right. Here we're talking a 100,000 years. Who the hell will know what is buried there, in even 1000 years? And in JAPAN? Where the earth's crust, well, you know, moves, how can such toxic materials be stored where it could come into contact with water supplies? Where the containers can be crushed, corroded, broken... This is one of the major, amongst many, issues the IAEA brushes over with a near psychopathic dismissal. Stop the madness.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

“I’m worried,” said 54-year-old reindeer handler Atsushi Arase. “If the government already has its eye on us as a potential site, it may eventually come here even if we refuse.”

Fascism!

The government envisions building a sprawling underground repository about twice the area of Tokyo’s Disneyland at a cost of 3.5 trillion yen and filling it with waste by 2100.

Then what?

The anticipated removal of highly toxic debris in the coming years from the Fukushima reactors is adding to the sense of urgency. Experts have mixed views about whether their damaged fuel rods and melted debris can be stored in the same way as normal spent fuel.

Still no idea!

Burying the 4-meter-long fuel rods would require a bigger site, and additional safety measures to prevent the nuclear chain reaction from starting again.

China syndrome anyone?

I cannot believe anybody would support the use of nuclear energy. Yeah, fossil fuel produces CO2, but do you want to live next to (or above) a nuclear waste dump?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

if the government wants to do that they should just buy all the land at whatever the price the land owner asks. they are spending a #$% load of money on it already. what's another couple billion.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“I understand there will be a final disposal site somewhere in Japan, but not here,” Miyamoto said. “We’re happy to help the government research, as long as it helps to revitalize our town.”

He's either deluded, or a comedian. Most rural Japanese towns and villages are spiraling down.

disillusioned

I cannot believe anybody would support the use of nuclear energy. Yeah, fossil fuel produces CO2, but do you want to live next to (or above) a nuclear waste dump.

I wouldn't mind, as long as all the scientific and technical boxes had been ticked.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Starviking - I wouldn't mind, as long as all the scientific and technical boxes had been ticked.

Ticked by whom? The people who are throwing care to the wind and supporting nuclear power? Nuclear waste stays radioactive for thousands of years and they are building a stockpile quicker than they know how to deal with it. There will come a time when they have no where to store it. This will become a death sentence for future generations. I remember reading an article that proposed loading it all onto rockets and firing it at the sun. That would make more economic sense to me. It has to be better than stockpiling it for the future people to deal with.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

to determine if and how radioactive waste can be stored safely for as long as 100,000 years in a country that is susceptible to volcanic activity, earthquakes and shifting underground water flows.

We so far can't build anything anywhere that will last 100,000 years. Volcanic activity, earthquakes, etc. just add to the impossibility. The traditional solution, when a legitimate storage place can't be found, is to store waste on land that is inhabited by poor people with short lifespans, and to pay them a small amount to somewhat improve their short lives and relieve some of the guilt. .

3 ( +3 / -0 )

For 20 years the central gov't tried to find a suitable location but all, yes all prefectures have refused to have the nuclear storage dump. even before the 3/11 nuclear disaster. What are the odds of any prefecture saying yes after Fukushima, which was revealed today contaminated rice 20 km away from moving debris at the site. Guess its still high in radioactivity to reach 20 km.

Since none of the prefectures have answered the call to duty, PM Abe is thinking to pass a law to override them and leave the decision up to him.

Former residents around the nuclear disaster site have expressed objections to building a nuclear waste storage there, even though, they'll never be able to return.

Finland is the only nuclear energy country to come up with a suitable plan for its long term storage of spent nuclear fuel.

Well before 1,000 years it could be with the current birth rate that the Japanese nation have long vanished from the face of the planet

8 ( +10 / -3 )

They can reprocess and make plutonium to be used in nuclear plants. 17000 tons seems to be enough to explode half of the moon!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Burying the 4-meter-long fuel rods would require a bigger site, and additional safety measures to prevent the nuclear chain reaction from starting again.

No. The physics of nuclear criticality and the design of fuel rods make spent fuel rods no more likely to have a chain reaction than the risk of a granite countertop having a chain reaction. Especially with the simple measure of not storing them within about 6 inches of each other.

"Therefore when you separate the plutonium from spent fuel you are creating an international security danger," says Frank von Hippel, a Princeton University nuclear physicist and waste disposal expert.

No you don't. Plutonium from spent fuel processing is not usable in construction of a nuclear weapon, it is contaminated with isotopes that preclude its use in such a weapon. This is like claiming that spent kitty litter is a security concern because the urea in it can be used to make gunpowder.

17000 tons seems to be enough to explode half of the moon!

Well as the waste isn't explosive, it isn't enough to explode anything.

It has to be better than stockpiling it for the future people to deal with.

But the stockpiling of ash from coal plants, which will remain toxic forever (which happens to be a bit longer than 100,000 years) is OK.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Even the Finnish have admitted that with a 100,000 year time span, nothing in human terms can be suitable to secure the toxic waste. No metal. No casing, no material is yet up to the specs of withstanding that time span while holding nuclear waste out of the surrounding environment. It's madness.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Talking about nuclear waste. Back in the 80's the US were dumping nuclear waste in the deep ocean. The containers will last 250 years (they hope), after that the waste will be exposed and releasing large amounts of radiation into the deep ocean. Putting if underground in one of the world's most volcanically active countries just seems like madness.

And for Mike O'Brien, coal ash can be treated and buried. It is much less dangerous than radiation.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

And for disillusioned, coal ash is radioactive and even treated it will be toxic FOREVER. Radioactive waste can also be treated and buried and it is and will be less dangerous than coal ash.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Who the hell will know what is buried there, in even 1000 years?

In Onkalo there are warning text carved in stone every language of the world and drawings of dying men after they study nuclear waste.

.

Plutonium from spent fuel processing is not usable in construction of a nuclear weapon, it is contaminated with isotopes that preclude its use in such a weapon.

Because it explodes too easily. If you would be mad scientist, would you care?

I don't write any more, because my Samsung's automatic text correction has decided that I am writing about wildlife in Antarctica.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Because it explodes too easily.

No because it won't explode. If you were building a bomb I think you would care if it wouldn't explode.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

How can you finance 100,000 years depository? Assuming one person, working 40 hours a week to monitor the site. This means 4 full time employees for 100,000 years. Take a minimal wage of USD 10.-/hours. You end up to about 9 billion USD at today value being ultra conservative just for that. So far there is no money planned for that in any countries using nuke power. I am fine with nuke power as long as safe enough and true costs are covered…. Sorry, no, I am not fine anymore…

4 ( +5 / -1 )

No because it won't explode. If you were building a bomb I think you would care if it wouldn't explode.

Http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr-t12UTrQk

Here is your non explosion. Pu-240 makes the bomb very unsafe and relatively inefficient. The explosion is dirty, but I don't thing mad scientists-warn-of-tourism-threat-to-antarctica would care.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Here is your non explosion.

Sorry the Totem tests did not use reprocessed commercial fuel. The Pu-240 percentage was much lower than plutonium recovered from a commercial reactor would have in it. The two Totem tests were less than 13% Pu-240 while commercial spent fuel is around 25%.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

So if someone would want to make "Fat man" clone from commercial reactor spent fuel, it would be very unstable and the power of explosion would change by luck, but it would be more than 1kt. (Fat man was 21kt.)

The bomb can't be stored and it would emit so much heat that it would be unbearable for human beings. If someone would manage to transfer it to the detonation point, he doesn't have to bother escaping, because he would die from radiation sickness anyway.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If the alternative to storing the waste in blue plastic bags is to bury it underground in a vast rocky space then I am for that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nuc lear wa ste should sim ply be stored at the sites its origin (power station), first in water and then in dry cas kets. The vol ume is small, and the si tes are well prot ected anyway. What is the po int of shi pping this st uff he re and th ere.

(Err.... why was I getting this message for the above, before inserting spaces: "Your comment was not posted because it contains potentially offensive content." Offensive? Where?)

Moderator: Please repost, replacing the word "shipping."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nuclear waste should simply be stored at the sites of its origin (power station), first in water and then in dry caskets. The volume is small, and the sites are well protected anyway. What is the point of shuttling this stuff here and there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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