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Why Geologic Storage Can Not Possibly Solve The High-Level Radioactive Waste Problem by Dr. Gordon Edwards, President, CCNR, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility www.ccnr.org ccnr@web.ca (514) 839 7214 ACCUMULATION OF IRRADIATED NUCLEAR FUEL WITHOUT GEOLOGIC STORAGE ONE REACTOR

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why geologic storage can not possibly solve the high level radioactive waste problem

Why Geologic StorageCan Not Possibly Solve TheHigh-Level RadioactiveWaste Problem

by Dr. Gordon Edwards, President, CCNR,

Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility

www.ccnr.orgccnr@web.ca

(514) 839 7214

slide2

ACCUMULATION OF IRRADIATED NUCLEAR FUEL

WITHOUT GEOLOGIC STORAGE

ONE

REACTOR

HELLO ROBERT

AFTER 2 YEARS

Each dot represents one year’s production of nuclear waste.

slide3

ACCUMULATION OF IRRADIATED NUCLEAR FUEL

WITHOUT GEOLOGIC STORAGE

HELLO ROBERT

AFTER 4 YEARS

HELLO ROBERT

Irradiated fuel, just out of the reactor, is intensely radioactive.

slide4

ACCUMULATION OF IRRADIATED NUCLEAR FUEL

WITHOUT GEOLOGIC STORAGE

HELLO ROBERT

AFTER 8 YEARS

For the first 10 years, irradiated fuel is too hot to move.

It must be stored on site and cooled in pools with circulating water.

slide5

ACCUMULATION OF IRRADIATED NUCLEAR FUEL

WITHOUT GEOLOGIC STORAGE

AFTER 16 YEARS

The changing colour indicates reduced radioactivity & heat output.

slide6

ACCUMULATION OF IRRADIATED NUCLEAR FUEL

WITHOUT GEOLOGIC STORAGE

AFTER 32 YEARS

The older irradiated fuel can be moved into dry storage containers.

slide7

ACCUMULATION OF IRRADIATED NUCLEAR FUEL

WITHOUT GEOLOGIC STORAGE

AFTER 40 YEARS

But having all this radioactive waste on the surface is a hazard.

We need to find an acceptable solution to eliminate the risk . . . .

slide8

AND NOW . . .

WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE

HELLO ROBERT

According to the nuclear industry and the Harper government

the solution is at hand: it is Deep Geologic Storage.

(But we think irretrievable geologic storage is unsafe and irresponsible!)

slide9

AND NOW . . .

WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE

HELLO ROBERT

AFTER 2 YEARS

At any rate, for the first 10 years irradiated fuel is just too hot.

It cannot be moved away from the reactor site.

slide10

WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE

HELLO ROBERT

AFTER 4 YEARS

So the most radioactive and hottest fuel cannot be moved.

slide11

WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE

HELLO ROBERT

AFTER 8 YEARS

As long as the reactor keeps operating, the problem remains.

slide12

WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE

HELLO ROBERT

AFTER 16 YEARS

Irradiated fuel continues to accumulate at the reactor site.

slide13

WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE

.

AFTER 16 YEARS

THIS PORTION ONLY MAY BE BURIED

Only the older, less radioactive, less volatile wastes can be buried.

slide14

WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE

> 90 %

< 10 %

.

AFTER 32 YEARS

In fact, over 90 % of the total radioactive inventory is in the first

ten year’s worth of irradiated fuel. So less than 10 % is buried.

slide15

WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE

> 90 %

< 10 %

.

AFTER 40 YEARS

Conclusion: The Catastrophe Potential at the Surface Still Remains

(Unless the reactor is shut down for 10 years and all the waste is buried)

slide16

WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE

> 90 %

< 10 %

.

Industry: “TIME FOR A NUCLEAR RENAISSANCE ! MORE REACTORS, PLEASE !”

HELLO ROBERT

But the nuclear industry doesn’t want to shut reactors down.

It wants to build more. With 2 reactors, the problem is doubled.

slide17

WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE

> 90 %

< 10 %

.

.

.

.

.

WITH 4 REACTORS

With 4 reactors, the unburied radioactivity is 4 x 0.90 = 3.6 times

the radioactivity produced by one reactor without any burial at all!

slide18

WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE

> 90 %

< 10 %

.

.

.

.

..

.

.

WITH 6 REACTORS

slide19

WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE

> 90 %

< 10 %

.

.

.

.

..

.

.

.

.

.

WITH 8 REACTORS

slide20

WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE

> 90 %

< 10 %

.

.

.

.

..

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

So: WE HAVE AN EVER- GROWING INVENTORY OFUNBURIED WASTE!

slide21

The Moral of the Story is:

Geologic StorageCANNOT POSSIBLY Solve TheHigh-Level RadioactiveWaste Problem . . .. . . unless there is a complete phase-out of nuclear power

the human race has never successfully disposed of anything

Post Script:

The human race has neversuccessfully disposed ofANYTHING!

So we should not be promoting industries

that mass-produce persistent indestructible

highly toxic poisonous carcinogenic materials.

Like nuclear energy.

slide23

A note on the arithmetic.The 90-percent figure used in this presentation is easily confirmed. Imagine a one-kilogram sample of irradiated nuclear fuel taken at the end of every month. (This simplistic scenario is just for ease of calculation.)AECL [Atomic Energy of Canada Limited] has published figures on the radioactivity of irradiated CANDU fuel, measured in curies per kilogram, as a function of its “time-out-of-the-reactor”.The total radioactivity of 120 kilograms of CANDU irradiated fuel, sampled at the rate of one kilogram per month over a period of 10 years, is found by adding up the radioactivity of all the samples. It turns out to be about 269,000 curies.If we do the same calculation for 480 kilograms of irradiated CANDU fuel, discharged at the rate of 1 kilogram per month over a period of 40 years, the total radioactivity is about 290,000 curies.We note that 269,000 curies is almost 93 percent of 290,000 curies. Thus the 90 percent figure used in this presentation is conservative.

Source: AECL-9881. J. C. Tait, I. C. Gould, and G. B. Wilkin.

Derivation of Initial Radionuclide Inventories for the

Safety Assessment of the Disposal of Used CANDU Fuel.

AECL Whiteshell Nuclear Research Establishment, August, 1989.