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Nuclear Waste

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Dominic Codina

on 10 June 2013

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Transcript of Nuclear Waste

By Rodrigo Morales
Dominic Codina
Nuclear Waste
Nuclear waste is the material that nuclear fuel becomes after its used in a reactor.
Why nuclear power?
Several major reasons that people working in the field still remain optimistic about nuclear power are:
What is it?
Who and where?
the energy produced per amount of material consumed is the highest available
costs are competitive with coal, the major source used in the world
uranium, the source material, is abundant
plutonium, a by product of commercial nuclear plant operation, can also be used as fuel
the amount of waste produced is the least of any major energy production process
nuclear energy provides benefits other than electricity generation
Exempt waste very low level waste
Low-level waste
Intermediate-level waste
High-level waste
Mining and milling
Contains radioactive materials at a level which is not considered harmful to people or the surrounding environment
Consists of material such as concrete, plaster, bricks, metal, etc produced during rehabilitation on nuclear industrial sites
Generated from hospitals and industry, as well as the nuclear fuel cycle
It contains paper, rags, tools, clothing, filters etc, which contain small amounts of mostly short-lived radioactivity
Contains higher amounts of radioactivity and some require shielding
It is made up of resins, chemical sludges and metal fuel cladding, as well as contaminated materials from reactor decommissioning
Arises from the burning of uranium fuel in a nuclear reactor.
It is highly radioactive and hot, so requires cooling and shielding
Traditional uranium mining generates fine sandy tailings, which contain virtually all the naturally occurring radioactive elements naturally found in uranium core
The primary obstacle in disposing of nuclear waste and cleaning nuclear development facilities is the duration of half lives of the elements that compose nuclear waste
Uranium 235 has a half-life of approx. 700,000,000 years
There is no real way of disposing of the waste, the only option is effectively manage the waste for the thousands of years until it decays completely
This issue of the longevity of nuclear waste is a major problem facing the United States because of the large number of nuclear waste facilities
Environmental damages are extensive groundwater contamination, extensive soil contamination, buried soil or water containing harmful material or waste, and underground disposal facilities storing large volumes of hazardous, radioactive waste
Everything on Earth is exposed to radiation
Exposure to certain high levels of radiation, such as that from high-level radioactive waste, can even cause death
Radiation exposure can also cause cancer, birth defects, and other abnormalities, depending on the time of exposure, amount of radiation, and the decay mechanism
High-level radioactive waste from nuclear reactors can be hazardous for thousands of years
Radioactive waste management includes the possession, transportation, handling, storage, and ultimate disposal of waste
The safe management of radioactive waste is necessary to protect public health
One option for nuclear waste disposal is storage in a long-term facility, where radioactive materials could decay undisturbed
Most isotopes decay to safe levels within decades; the most persistent would require 10,000 years to become harmless
Fun Facts
Every 18 to 24 months, a power plant must shut down to remove its spent uranium fuel, which has become radioactive waste
Nuclear energy is being used in more than 30 countries around the world, and even powers Mars rovers
1 in 5 households and business in the U.S. are electrically powered by nuclear energy
Full transcript