Radioactive Waste

Radioactive waste is waste that contains radioactive materials. This can be caused by nuclear fission, nuclear medicine, radiography, and other sources. There are very strict rules about the storage and disposal of radioactive waste.

1,512 Questions
Environmental Issues
Radioactive Waste

How do nuclear wastes affect the ecosystem?

Nuclear waste is not normally allowed to enter the ecosystem for many obvious reasons. The correct containment of high level waste is still debated because of this issue. The material will remain radioactive longer than any civilization has ever existed and the concern that the material remains safely away from the ecosystem is very real and hard to quantify.

If high level waste does reach the ecosystem, the affect is overall very negative. Animals can become ill or die. Tumors and cancers can become an issue and reproduction problems for plant and animal life has been observed.

Low level materials and regular waste from the site is very different. They have similar issues to regular day to day waste in terms of their environmental impact.

327328329
Waste and Recycling
Radioactive Waste

What is the problem with disposing of radioactive wastes is that they have a long what?

Radioactive substances have half-lives. This is because the isotope constantly is changing from the radioactive isotope to a daughter element. For example, eventually, when uranium's radioactivity is gone, it becomes lead. After one half life of a radioactive substance, only 50% of that substance is still radioactive. Therefore, after one half-life, a piece of uranium is 50% lead and therefore %50 less radioactive. After another half-life, it has 25% of the original radioactivity, and 75% of the original uranium has become lead. This is the problem with radioactive wastes. It takes many years just for one half lives for some substances, such as uranium. Because radioactivity is harmful, those substances have to be stored until they are no longer radioactive. So, in short, the problem with disposing of radioactive wastes is that they have long half-lives. (although this is not true with ALL substances because some have short half-lives, but, in general, radioactive substances have long half-lives.

129130131
Waste and Recycling
Nuclear Energy
Radioactive Waste

How would nuclear waste harm the environment?

Nuclear waste would harm people and animals rather than the environment as such. I have not seen evidence on the effect of radiation on vegetation. Nuclear waste must be well contained and shielded to avoid damaging people, and so long as everyone concerned is careful and responsible, this won't happen.
If it leaked into rivers or was spread over farmland it would be ingested by grazing animals and fish and hence would enter the human food chain, and if it became high enough would then start to harm human health.

125126127
Waste and Recycling
Radioactive Waste

Why is dealing with nuclear waste a problem?

Nuclear waste take's thousands of years to decay whilst still being radioactive.

107108109
Laboratory Testing
Radioactive Waste

If you jump in nuclear waste will you get super powers?

No, you will get sick and die from leukemia, or other cancer by the radioactive waste lying around.

626364
Waste and Recycling
Nuclear Energy
Radioactive Waste

Is nuclear waste stored in Colorado?

There are no nuclear power plants in Colorado. The only source of waste might be from a small teaching or medical isotope reactor, I have no information on this.

596061
Pollution
Waste and Recycling
Radioactive Waste

Is recycling the answer to problem of waste?

Recycling is just a partial problem solver we have to do follow some norms to stop this waste

Recycling can help curb the problem of waste taking up physical space, but in many cases, the fuel burned by collection trucks and recycling plants along with the waste from the recycling process can be more damaging to the environment than simply creating new products. Aluminum is a noteable exception to this.

But recycling still has about 50% share in cleaning the environment along with other green activities. The wastes from the recycling processes are a main issue but it should be resolved immediately to make recycling a Green Activity with any ambiguity.
596061
Nuclear Energy
Radioactive Waste

What is the definition of radioactivity?

Radioactivity is a term that refers to the emissions from atomic nuclei due to changes in those nuclei. Those changes will occur as a result of instability of isotopes of certain elements. These atoms have a nuclear structure that is inherently unstable for whatever reason. And any unstable nucleus will eventually decay in a manner characteristic of that particular atom (radioisotope). We term the activity associated with the natural changes due to nuclear instability radioactive decay. As you can guess, different things might appear as an expression of the radioactivity of a radioisotope, and they'll vary according to the radioisotope being inspected.

We could say that the elements on the upper end of the periodic table are radioactive, and these elements, the ones beginning with bismuth, have no nuclear configurations that permit them to avoid instability and their eventual radioactive decay. Additionally, we know that there are isotopes of other elements (lighter ones) that are not stable, and these radioisotopes are radioactive and will decay in time. Lastly, there are the elements technetium and promethium, which are the only elements with atomic numbers below that of bismuth that have no stable isotopes.

The emissions we might gather under the umbrella of radioactivity include both particulate radiation and radiation in the form of energy, or electromagnetic radiation. Your investigation of the instabilities associated with atomic structure and what it is that results is just beginning. Use the links below to check facts and learn more.

575859
Waste and Recycling
Nuclear Energy
Radioactive Waste

Why is it dangerous to bury or incinerate radioactive wastes?

It is dangerous to bury or incinerate radioactive.

Bury: It could seep into underground water/ groundwater and soil.

Incinerate: It is not easy to burn wastes like this because it is either liquid or can cause a big explosion.

555657
Waste and Recycling
Nuclear Energy
Radioactive Waste

Why is nuclear waste considered so dangereous?

Because a lot of it is highly radioactive and very dangerous to living beings.

The issue is that it will remain dangerous for a very long time. So long that most countries will probably no longer exist and it will still be deadly. The idea that we may be leaving something that will kill for thousands of years laying around for generations yet unknown to care for is somewhat scary.

373839
Home & Garden
Heavy Water
Radioactive Waste

Five example of potential energy?

-hanging apple

-the energy that is stored in our cells of our body

-when we stretch a rubber band

-the water at the middle at the tap

-a football at the table

1. Apple on a table

2. Spring of a watch

3. You sitting on a Chair

4. a ball floating on a water column

5 Apple hanging on a tree

A rock next to a ledge.

A wound up spring.

A turned off faucet.

An unpopped balloon.

unexploded dynomite

131415
Environmental Issues
Radioactive Waste

Harmful effect of nuclear waste?

Harmful Effects of Nuclear Wastes:Nuclear wastes usually contain one or more highly radioactive substances. Radioactive nuclear wastes pollute the earth to a dangerous level of toxicity. If the nuclear wastes are exposed to underground water, the radiations get absorbed in water and then enter in living beings through food chains. Nuclear wastes emit harmful radiations. These harmful radiations affect the living beings. These harmful radiations damage our tissues, cells and rd blood corpuscles. The nuclear wastes radiations can cause the diseases like cancer, leukemia, etc. Radioactive waste also spreads through water that is used in nuclear reactors. This has a huge effect on the surrounding aquatic life. Waste products from nuclear power stations etc. are becoming a serious problem.

Nuclear power plants do require huge amounts of water to cool their reactors. If this hot water is dump into rivers or oceans, thermal pollution may result. The heat can have a harmful effect on aquatic life. To protect the environment, the water must be cooled before it is released. Unfortunately, there is no way of stopping a radioactive nucleus from emitting radiation.

212223
Antarctica
Radioactive Waste

Is the disposal nuclear waste is allowed in antarctica?

No.

353637
Health
Radioactive Waste

Is Yucca Mountain safe to add nuclear waste?

Our state has been arguing that point for years, it is remote and deep enough that yes I believe storing waste there is way safer than any other alternative, however people argue that transporting the waste here poses high risks and there is the potential for groundwater contamination and volcanic or earthquake incidents. The fact is how will we ever know what will happen to the waste during its decomposition process, it takes hundreds to thousands of years and no one can predict that far ahead. We could always ship it to the moon but imagine the cost! Nearsightedness is a poor characteristic when dealing with nuclear waste just look at the test site, there are places there that will never be habitable in a dozen generations because of testing. And the ignorance about it in the 50's caused many people sickness and death, I imagine that there are still watches around with radioactive dials.

353637
Waste and Recycling
Radioactive Waste

Is nuclear waste transported around the US used as a disposal method?

Well, a few years ago I was a caretaker in a house across from a railroad switching-yard in Illinois. We'd occasionally see a kind of low railcar, like a roof on a flatbed, with a pill-box in the middle - painted all black w/a few safety yellow pipes & markings on it. I asked a friend, who worked for the rail line what it could be & was told 'rad-waste'. The transportation of nuclear waste is not a disposal method but a manner of conveyance to its place of disposal which is somewhere remote and underground. The only real disposal method at this time is "safe" storage in a remote location.

343536
Science
Waste and Recycling
Nuclear Energy
Radioactive Waste

Why are robots used to clean up nuclear waste?

Human operators have to stay behind thick shielding, so robots are useful in being able to go close to the material, but they are remotely controlled by humans.

333435
Plumbing
Waste and Recycling
Radioactive Waste

System of discharge of waste water from a house to public sewer?

Sewage from all points of source in a house will be collected in a single ground level collection pit within the house premises which will be connected to the public sewer by pipes laid underground to convey the sewage. A silt trap with a silt bucket will also be installed in the system to remove the silt carried by sewage and accumulated in the pit before the sewage flow into the house service connection pipes to prevent clogging of pipes.

333435
Nuclear Energy
Radioactive Waste

Which energy source generates radioactive waste?

nuclear

252627
Earth Sciences
Radioactive Waste

What is a alternative to oil resources but it requires careful disposal of the radioactive waste that are produced?

nuclear power

789
Waste and Recycling
Nuclear Energy
Radioactive Waste

Fission creates large amounts of radioactive waste?

The high level waste, which is the dangerous part, is contained in the spent fuel, so it has the same volume as the fuel rods, unless they are processed. The actual amount is manageable, it is the high activity that is the problem for disposal.

272829
Chemistry
Waste and Recycling
Nuclear Energy
Radioactive Waste

Is radioactive waste and nuclear waste the same thing?

No, nuclear waste and radioactive waste are not supposed to be synonymous, even if the media attempts to show them in the same light. See these from the NRC's website. Radioactive waste is a grouping containing low level waste, something which could be harmful to humans more in theory (as in contaminated shoe covers), and high level waste, which (is nuclear waste, reprocessed waste, and other things) will easily kill you. Nuclear waste is a sub-group of Radioactive waste. So a truck spill of radioactive waste on a high-way might just be spent latex doctors gloves.

= Low-Level Waste = Low-level waste includes items that have become contaminated with radioactive material or have become radioactive through exposure to neutron radiation. This waste typically consists of contaminated protective shoe covers and clothing, wiping rags, mops, filters, reactor water treatment residues, equipments and tools, luminous dials, medical tubes, swabs, injection needles, syringes, and laboratory animal carcasses and tissues. The radioactivity can range from just above background levels found in nature to very highly radioactive in certain cases such as parts from inside the reactor vessel in a nuclear power plant. Low-level waste is typically stored on-site by licensees, either until it has decayed away and can be disposed of as ordinary trash, or until amounts are large enough for shipment to a low-level waste disposal site in containers approved by the Department of Transportation.

= High-Level Waste = High-level radioactive wastes are the highly radioactive materials produced as a byproduct of the reactions that occur inside nuclear reactors. High-level wastes take one of two forms: * Spent (used) reactor fuel when it is accepted for disposal * Waste materials remaining after spent fuel is reprocessed Spent nuclear fuel is used fuel from a reactor that is no longer efficient in creating electricity, because its fission process has slowed. However, it is still thermally hot, highly radioactive, and potentially harmful. Until a permanent disposal repository for spent nuclear fuel is built, licensees must safely store this fuel at their reactors. Reprocessing extracts isotopes from spent fuel that can be used again as reactor fuel. Commercial reprocessing is currently not practiced in the United States, although it has been allowed in the past. However, significant quantities of high-level radioactive waste are produced by the defense reprocessing programs at Department of Energy (DOE) facilities, such as Hanford, Washington, and Savannah River, South Carolina, and by commercial reprocessing operations at West Valley, New York. These wastes, which are generally managed by DOE, are not regulated by NRC. However they must be included in any high-level radioactive waste disposal plans, along with all high-level waste from spent reactor fuel. Because of their highly radioactive fission products, high-level waste and spent fuel must be handled and stored with care. Since the only way radioactive waste finally becomes harmless is through decay, which for high-level wastes can take hundreds of thousands of years, the wastes must be stored and finally disposed of in a way that provides adequate protection of the public for a very long time.

111213
Waste and Recycling
Radioactive Waste

How do you dispose of nuclear waste?

You don't, once it is created it exists forever (or close to forever depending on the amount of radioactive material involved). There is a process called the "half life', some isotopes degrade rapidly, others last for thousand of years. All you can do is isolate it, entomb it, and hope that it remains undistrubed for the next zillion years, just like the pharohs thought when they were entombed. The nuclear wastes cannot enter any underground river or water supply, since it would carry it elsewhere.

262728
Waste and Recycling
Public Utilities
Radioactive Waste

What is an alternative to oil resources but it require careful disposal of the radioactive waste that are produced?

It is a very wasteful, and environmentally harmful practice to generate electricity using hydrocarbon fuel resources. We have much safer and cleaner alternatives like:

  • hydro
  • thermal (using steam generated by the heat at the core of the earth)
  • wind
  • solar (photovoltaic cells), and other methods of harnessing the power of the sun
  • the energy of the waves in the ocean (a technology that is currently being developed)
  • nuclear fusion (there is another method much safer, and less harmful than the use of uranium or plutonium, the use of thorium (a highly abundant element that can't be used for weaponry) in a molten salt reactor is much cheaper, safer and doesn't produce the radioactive waste that won't degrade for thousands and thousands of years)
  • the burning of wood waste
  • capturing and burning the methane that is a by-product of decomposition in every landfill site used for garbage disposal
  • the heat generated by garbage incinerators can be used to boil water creating steam which turns turbines that generate electricity
  • AND MORE.....

All of these methods are preferable to burning hydrocarbons for many reasons other than the limited supply and increasing cost of oil. One only has to consider the environmental impacts and the answer is clear, society needs to weigh the pros and cons of the different alternatives and choose to adopt a cleaner greener method.

252627
Nuclear Energy
Radioactive Waste

What is the theory of radioactivity?

Radioactivity is when a large, unstable nucleus breaks apart into smaller nuclei. In other words, the nucleus "spits out" its insides to become smaller.

212223
Waste and Recycling
Radioactive Waste

What are solutions for nuclear waste and radiation?

Solutions for Nuclear WasteA lot of things are currently done with nuclear "waste". First it should be understood that the majority of what people consider waste is actually "spent nuclear fuel". This is fuel that comes out of a reactor after it has been used for electricity production. What most people don't know is that although the fuel isn't fit for further use in a reactor, it contains a great deal of uranium and other isotopes with a very high energy content. The reason it is referred to as waste is because we (the U.S.) currently don't have a way to utilize this material. This is due to a ban on reprocessing in our country. Through reprocessing we can separate out the nuclear material that can still be used as fuel from that which can't. Around 95% of the spent fuel is actually uranium that can be reprocessed.

As for disposal, several methods exist to keep nuclear material away from humans and vice versa. Geologic disposal (such as the Yucca Mountain facility), transmutation (a process wherein radioactive material is changed into more stable forms), and reuse of fuel material in advanced reactor designs. I'm only aware of storage currently being used, transmutation and advanced reactors are currently under development around the globe.

A great deal of R&D and policy decisions are needed before the nuclear waste issue can be completely solved. The R&D work is being carried out at universities and laboratories around the world and hopefully the policy-makers will have come to their senses before it is too late.

One possible solution to the problem would be to re-enrich the uranium in the spent fuel and develop advanced reactor fuels to burn long-lived radioisotopes (such as transuranic elements). If these can be removed from the waste, the time frame for required observation of geologically disposed waste would be reduced to a few hundred years; a much more manageable scale than the current requirement of thousands of years. Not only would this reduce the long-term waste liability of these materials, it would also provide a new energy source from the spent fuel.

Here are more opinions and answers from other FAQ Farmers:

  • There are no good solutions. Right now the government is planning on burrying our nuclear waste in a saced native American mountain where it can leach into the ground eventually. Also, this option would only get rid of some of the waste. We need to start investing in renuable energy like wind and solar energy.
  • Currently nuclear waste goes into the ocean in areas not controlled by any particular country [over 12 miles from land, I can't remember the actual distance].
232425

Copyright © 2020 Multiply Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The material on this site can not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Multiply.