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Why Geologic StorageCan Not Possibly Solve TheHigh-Level RadioactiveWaste Problem by Dr. Gordon Edwards, President, CCNR, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility firstname.lastname@example.org (514) 839 7214
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.
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.
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.
ACCUMULATION OF IRRADIATED NUCLEAR FUEL WITHOUT GEOLOGIC STORAGE AFTER 16 YEARS The changing colour indicates reduced radioactivity & heat output.
ACCUMULATION OF IRRADIATED NUCLEAR FUEL WITHOUT GEOLOGIC STORAGE AFTER 32 YEARS The older irradiated fuel can be moved into dry storage containers.
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 . . . .
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!)
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.
WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE HELLO ROBERT AFTER 4 YEARS So the most radioactive and hottest fuel cannot be moved.
WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE HELLO ROBERT AFTER 8 YEARS As long as the reactor keeps operating, the problem remains.
WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE HELLO ROBERT AFTER 16 YEARS Irradiated fuel continues to accumulate at the reactor site.
WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE . AFTER 16 YEARS THIS PORTION ONLY MAY BE BURIED Only the older, less radioactive, less volatile wastes can be buried.
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.
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)
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.
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!
WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE > 90 % < 10 % . . . . .. . . WITH 6 REACTORS
WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE > 90 % < 10 % . . . . .. . . . . . WITH 8 REACTORS
WITH GEOLOGIC STORAGE > 90 % < 10 % . . . . .. . . . . . . . . So: WE HAVE AN EVER- GROWING INVENTORY OFUNBURIED WASTE!
The Moral of the Story is: Geologic StorageCANNOT POSSIBLY Solve TheHigh-Level RadioactiveWaste Problem . . .. . . unless there is a complete phase-out of nuclear power
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.
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.