Nuclear Waste

Essay by Anonymous UserJunior High, 8th gradeA, June 1994

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Essay on nuclear waste, it's problems, and possible solutions good, should be updated

Nuclear Waste

Nuclear waste is one of the most pressing and provocative

environmental issues of our time. This radioactive waste, which

remains deadly for thousands of years, is incredibly difficult to

deal with. Unfortunately, time is running short for a solution, as

a growing number of reactors, (111 in the United States alone),

radioactive remnants of Cold War weapons, and increasing medical

uses of radioactivity will soon create enough waste to exceed the

current holding capacity for radioactive materials.

There are two types of nuclear waste. The first is low-level

radioactive waste, which contains small amounts of radioactivity.

This sort of waste usually comes from medical facilities and

pharmaceutical companies and includes clothing, test tubes, and all

kinds of diagnostic waste. The other kind, which is of most

concern, is high-level radioactive waste, which is created when

reactor fuel is mined and processed and when atoms are split in

reactors. This 'hot' waste includes spent uranium fuel rods and

the liquid waste produced when those rods are dissolved in acid to

make plutonium for nuclear weapons.

Disposing of low-level waste presents difficulties, but not

insurmountable ones. As of now, it is shipped to special disposal

sites in the United States. Expectedly, the public is not pleased

to have any type of radioactive waste in their own backyards, even

the relatively harmless low-level trash. The main obstacle in

dealing with this type is to educate the public, which tends to

equate anything radioactive with that of the highly dangerous,

nuclear fuel cycle variety. Without good information, the people

will always fear anything remotely connected with nuclear power and

will continue to incorrectly liken what goes on in an X-ray

laboratory with what goes on in a plutonium...