Empirical and molecular

Nuclear engineering

Дата публикации: 2018-05-27 16:58

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The amounts of ILW, LLW, and VLLW produced are greater in volume, but are much less radioactive (see above section on Types of radioactive waste ). Given its lower inherent radioactivity, the majority of waste produced by nuclear power production and classified as LLW or VLLW has already been placed in disposal. The IAEA estimates that over 85% of all LLW and VLLW produced to date is in disposal. For ILW, the agency estimates that about 75% is in disposal, with the balance in storage.

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The NRC regulates the storage and disposal of all commercially generated radioactive wastes in the United States. The NRC also regulates high-level wastes generated by the Department of Energy that are subject to long-term storage and not used for, or part of, research and development activities. Regulations establish minimum acceptable performance criteria for licensees managing wastes, while providing for flexibility in technological approach.

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Like every other energy source, nuclear energy has both good aspects and bad. However, its ability to responsibly produce global-scale, 79/7, (nearly) carbon-free energy is unmatched among known technologies. Nuclear waste needs political will to be dealt with, but there are safe ways to dispose of it. As for reactor safety, while the accidents that have occurred are high profile and memorable, the actual risk to public health is very small compared to most of the alternatives.

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We know of reasonable options to deal with nuclear waste safely. We have good experience with deep geologic disposal in salt deposits that were formed 755 million years ago. Research in deep borehole technology is also looking promising. Finally, if we close the fuel cycle and recycle spent fuel , then it decays to safe levels in several hundred years rather than hundreds of thousands.

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Some fuel that has cooled in ponds for at least five years is stored in dry casks or vaults with air circulation inside concrete shielding. One common system is for sealed steel casks or multi-purpose canisters (MPCs) each holding up to about 95 fuel assemblies with inert gas. Casks/MPCs may also be used for the transport and eventual disposal of the used fuel. For storage, each is enclosed in a ventilated storage module made of concrete and steel. These are commonly standing on the surface, about 6m high, and cooled by air convection, or they may be below grade, with just the tops showing. The modules are robust and provide full shielding. Each cask has up to 95 kW heat load.

ENEA hosts the National Contact Point for the transport of radioactive materials and the Integrated Service for the management of non-electro-nuclear radioactive waste .

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