Sunday, September 22, 2013

The reference designs for nuclear waste - Part 2

Low and Intermediate Level Waste

I have noted that there seems to be a vast misunderstanding on what this is.  Low level waste can go in plastic barrels.  The radiation doesn't go through the plastic or the skin.  Intermediate level waste has to go in shielded concrete barrels.  Things like old pressure tubes.  But the radioactive nucleotides are tightly bound in the material.  That metal what Bruce wanted to ship out through the lakes is this stuff.

Since nobody wants to ship it around, it has to be put in a dump.  You could just throw it in landfill, but it needs to be protected for a long time, and maybe somebody would put up a luxury condo there.  So, the consensus of reasonable people (not those who read the Star) is that it has to be in rock caverns.

You have to understand that 'where' this facility is located has no technical relevance.  It's all in that first few metres of rock around the waste.  My number one principle is that it must be 'Diffusion Only', that is, no water-filled cracks.  Then we are assured that a million years from now the nasty stuff could have only gotten a few inches into the rock.  It is not Superman, able to shimmer through solid walls.

My reference examples for this are the old storage caverns at Wesleyville.  That rock is solid and tight, the only transport of water molecules is through diffusion.  Thus, they would be dusty-dry during operation, when there is ventilation.  I would seal the whole thing up afterwards with a clay slurry.  You could stand on top for a million years and nothing would get out.

-to be continued.

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