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Radioactive Waste Disposal, High Level 1980

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Radioactive Waste Disposal, High Level 1980

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Highly radioactive wastes are dangerous and deadly wherever they are, whether stored at reactor sites (indoors in pools or outdoors in dry casks); transported on the roads, rails, or waterways; or dumped on Native American lands out West. Highly radioactive wastes include solid irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies (called spent or used by the industry that creates them) and liquid high-level radioactive wastes resulting from the reprocessing (extraction of fissile plutonium and uranium) of solid irradiated fuel rods. The vast majority of highly radioactive wastes generated in the U.S. come from commercial nuclear power reactors. Irradiated nuclear fuel rods discharged from commercial nuclear power plants are highly radioactive, a million times more so than when they were first loaded into a reactor core as fresh fuel. If unshielded, irradiated nuclear fuel just removed from a reactor core could deliver a lethal dose of radiation to a person standing three feet away in just seconds. Even after decades of radioactive decay, a few minutes unshielded exposure could deliver a lethal dose. Certain radioactive elements (such as plutonium-239) in spent fuel will remain hazardous to humans and other living beings for hundreds of thousands of years. Other radioisotopes will remain hazardous for millions of years. Thus, these wastes must be shielded for centuries and isolated from the living environment for hundreds of millenia. For more on the problems of this waste disposal, go to the Radioactive Waste Project site of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service at http://www.nirs.org/radwaste/hlw/hlw.htm . This clip is from the 1980 Disney film, The Atom: A Closer Look, available at the Internet Archives,.

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http://YouTube.com

Date

2009-08-13T09:50:25.000Z

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