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The Mexican radiation accident (Part II)

A highly respected colleague and friend of mine says he no longer refers to “lessons learned” but, rather, to “lessons recognized” because he has noticed that we don’t always learn our lessons. It’s not too early to recognize some lessons from the Mexican accident of the other week, but the fact that this accident happened […]

The post The Mexican radiation accident (Part II) appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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Yucca Mountain: Questions and Concerns

Yucca Mountain raises a lot of controversy – let’s face it; if it didn’t then a 4-part series of blog postings would hardly be necessary. Part of the reason for the controversy is that there are a number of worries about the impact of spent fuel disposal on the environment and on the health of […]

The post Yucca Mountain: Questions and Concerns appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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Yucca Mountain – Packaging and Storing Radioactive Waste

So – thus far we’ve gone over a little of the history of the Yucca Mountain project and how both geology and hydrogeology can affect waste disposal. What I thought could be interesting today would be to talk a little about how the spent reactor fuel is packaged – both for transport and for disposal […]

The post Yucca Mountain – Packaging and Storing Radioactive Waste appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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Yucca Mountain – hydrogeology

Although I’m a radiation safety professional I studied geology as an undergrad and for my MS (my doctorate is in Environmental Science). This included several classes in hydrogeology – these were some interesting classes, and I added to the experience by doing some work as a field hydrogeologist for a project at a Department of […]

The post Yucca Mountain – hydrogeology appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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The rocks of Yucca Mountain

As I noted in last week’s posting, nuclear reactors produce high-level radioactive waste during their normal operation. This waste is not voluminous, but it can be dangerous and it needs to be sequestered in an out-of-the-way location for several millennia – in the 70 years since the first nuclear reactor was built there have been […]

The post The rocks of Yucca Mountain appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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Yucca Mountain

In the mid-1990s I was on a technical advisory committee to the organization that was working to find a location for a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility that was to service several states in the Midwest. Even with stringent siting criteria there were a number of locations that would have been acceptable; what stopped the […]

The post Yucca Mountain appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

How clean is clean?

How clean is clean? Does something have to be spotless to be considered “clean” or is it good enough to be “clean enough?” And, if the latter, how good is clean enough? Bringing the matter home – should I insist that my sons’ room be spotless continually, or can I tolerate a little bit of [...]

The post How clean is clean? appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

Post-RDD radioactive waste

Radioactive waste disposal is not cheap. When I was a radiation safety officer we spent $10,000 each year to dispose of a fairly small amount of waste, and a few years our disposal bill was closer to $50,000. At another university I worked at we spent over a half million dollars to get rid of [...]

The post Post-RDD radioactive waste appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

Research reactors and weapons-grade uranium

As I discussed in a past posting on uranium enrichment, the uranium we dig out of the ground is unable to sustain a nuclear chain reaction without a lot of coaxing – it has to be immersed in heavy water or surrounded by graphite as opposed to natural (light) water. This is why we enrich [...]

The post Research reactors and weapons-grade uranium appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

Thorium reactors and radioactive waste

As I mentioned in my first posting on thorium reactors, this is a huge topic that deserves a careful discussion – even four postings isn’t enough to do justice to the topic, but it’s a good start. So this will be my last posting on thorium reactors for now, but I might come back to [...]

The post Thorium reactors and radioactive waste appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.