Skip to comments.Can We Dispose of Radioactive Waste in Volcanoes?
Posted on 02/20/2010 11:09:33 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
Dumping all our nuclear waste in a volcano does seem like a neat solution for destroying the roughly 29,000 tons of spent uranium fuel rods stockpiled around the world. But theres a critical standard that a volcano would have to meet to properly dispose of the stuff, explains Charlotte Rowe, a volcano geophysicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. And that standard is heat. The lava would have to not only melt the fuel rods but also strip the uranium of its radioactivity. Unfortunately, Rowe says, volcanoes just arent very hot.
Lava in the hottest volcanoes tops out at around 2,400F. (These tend to be shield volcanoes, so named for their relatively flat, broad profile. The Hawaiian Islands continue to be formed by this type of volcano.) It takes temperatures that are tens of thousands of degrees hotter than that to split uraniums atomic nuclei and alter its radioactivity to make it inert, Rowe says. What you need is a thermonuclear reaction, like an atomic bombnot a great way to dispose of nuclear waste.
Volcanoes arent hot enough to melt the zirconium (melting point that encases the fuel, let alone the fuel itself: The melting point of uranium oxide, the fuel used at most nuclear power plants, is ;. The liquid lava in a shield volcano pushes upward, so the rods probably wouldnt even sink very deep, Rowe says. They wouldnt sink at all in a stratovolcano, the most explosive type, exemplified by Washingtons Mount St. Helens. Instead, the waste would just sit on top of the volcanos hard lava domeat least until the pressure from upsurging magma became so great that the dome cracked and the volcano erupted. And thats the real problem.
(Excerpt) Read more at popsci.com ...
Another “great idea” whose origin can probably be traced back to a bong hit.
The middle of the desert would seem to me a safe place to put it. What am I missing?
You are not missing anything.
No. Volcanoes are no good. Too volatile, unpredictable.
Using concrete and steel casks, the contained radioactive waste should be lowered into a deep-sea trench along a subduction zone, preferably the Aleutian Trench, which I believe is in U.S. territorial waters. There the radioactive waste can be RECYCLED under the North American Plate.
This satisfies the three criteria for safely disposing of radioactive waste: time, distance, and shielding. It won’t reappear for millions of years and in the meantime will be underneath miles of the earth’s crust. Difficult to get much better than that.
Al Gore: Earth's Interior 'Extremely Hot, Several Million Degrees'
It's actually several THOUSAND as any high school kid knows, or should know!
sent = send
Poopular Science eh.
I have never heard of proposals to destroy any atomic nucleus thermally. If underground magma got hot enough to generate the plasma energies required to literally collide nuclei, life wouldn’t be able to exist on the planet. Unless you’re Al Gore in which case you can fake the millyuns of degrees involved.
Store it safely until such time in the future we can dump it on Jupiter.
Trust me, Jupiter won’t mind. It could swallow our whole earth and not care one bit.
Actually give them to France. They’ll gladly reprocess them for their recoverable fuel content.
I’d like to see proof that stuff placed there would actually get subducted (is that a word?) before trying it with nuclear waste.
It’s possible though, that in a few more generations we may wish we hung on to the stuff.
Where to put nuclear waste: Try Al Gore’s big global warming butt.
I’m feeling nasty tonight. I couldn’t even lift my 4 foot long, 50+ lb. icicle that is lying in my yard, next to the other 2-1/2 ft. part of it which weighs about 40 lbs. It was about 8 ft long or more from my roof to the ground.
I like the old idea of putting spent nuclear rods and containers into a linked space-train vehicle and send it into the sun. Now, that would be real global warming.
Better would be at subduction zones in deep oceans, between plates.
It would take less energy to send it the other way and let it fall into the sun.
Why don’t we just reprocess the fuel into new fuel?
Oh, yeah. Politics.
Re putting radioactive waste in a deep sea trench. It won’t work. Didn’t you see the movie “The Beast from 30,000 Fathoms”? Nuclear waste made a small sea creature massive and he ate a New York Cop, a bathyscape, and destroyed a roller-coaster.
Just image 50 ft. long sea worms attacking New York City. Now, if we could get them to attack Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, Hollyweird, Seattle and Portland, then I might change my mind. Sort of like the worm attack scene from “DUNE”.
Worms love liberals. Taste like chicken. An appropo analogy.
Oh, I like that idea. Go stuff some nuclear rods down Mt. Vesuvius. Can hardly wait for the show when she next flips her lid. The last picture show.