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First off, the waste problem is greatly exagerated. Using reprocessing, the waste can be turned into useful reactor fuel. The problems with reprocessing are political, not technical.
The waste is not really waste, anyway. It is a collection of isotopes, many of which are radioactive at various levels. Generally the level of radioactivity is inversely coorelated to the length of the half-life, i.e. isotopes with a longer half-life have relatively low radioactivity.
After extracting the useful isotopes (cesium, etc for medical uses, et. al.), the remainder can be reprocessed into useful fuel. The quite small amount left after reprocessing can be easily sequestered in Yucca mountain or a salt mine in Kansas until mankind finds a use for it.
Anyone who seriously believes that sequestration for 10000 years is required doesn't understand the progress of technology. Only 100 years ago, there were no uses for Uranium, and Plutonium was basically unknown (being man-made :-), I fully expect that mankind will find uses for the remaining relatively low-level, long half-life waste long before 10000 years elapses, if nothing else, for low-power, long lasting RTG devices.
It would be quite foolish to dispose of the waste in some fashion where we cannot get to it in the near future (as some wags have suggested shooting into the sun - a suggestion that also evidences a lack of understanding of orbital mechanics).
scott
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A typical light water power reactor produces somewhere between 10,000 and 50,000 cubic ft of radioactive waste per year, mostly DAW and ion exchange media.
In terms of volume, the spent fuel is insignificant.
OTOH, the high volume waste is all short-lived isotopes that will decay to near background levels in only a few hunder years.
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Scott Lurndal wrote:

Perhaps using nuclear rockets? An Orion could put quite a lot of nuclear waste into the sun in a single go <eg>.

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There's still the orbital mechanics issue. It's a lot easier to eject it from the solar system than to shoot it into the sun.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On Wed, 08 Jun 2005 00:19:34 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal) wrote:

I'm a far cry from a physicist, and I imagine that an average nuclear power plant doesn't come anywhere near the efficiency of the E=MC^2 equation, but even if is several thousand times less efficient, those plants really can't be making much waste- can they? I really have no idea, so don't go jumping down my throat about it- I'm just curious. If a spent fuel rod is fairly small, and we can get a whole lot of them in a concrete and lead-lined bunker, who cares if it has to sit for a while until we find a use for them? Put 'em next to all the nuke silos, and you don't even have to have extra guards...
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On Wed, 08 Jun 2005 06:23:11 -0500, the inscrutable Prometheus

Why not dismantle all the ICBM silos and use them for underground storage. They're concrete-lined, bomb-proof, and already exist. They are in secure areas and are now staffed by military guards.
Our nuke subs have enough missile capacity to blow up the world many times over. Why do we need all those useless silos?
"Be the change you want to see in the world." --Mahatma Gandhi - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - http://diversify.com Website Application Programming
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Because someone may find a way to track the subs.
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On Wed, 08 Jun 2005 05:30:44 -0700, Larry Jaques

See, there ya go! It is rather funny the way we seem to need enough explosives to kill every living thing on Earth a several times over- I figure just enough to kill everything once should be plenty for anyone.
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Brings to mind all the garbage that Toronto, Ontario is shipping down to a landfill in Michigan while they're shipping all their spent fuel rods for storage up here in Ontario. If I had to pick living besides one or the other, I'd choose the landfill even if they say that the spent fuel rods are safely stored.
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Brings to mind all the garbage that Toronto, Ontario is shipping down to a landfill in Michigan while they're shipping all their spent fuel rods for storage up here in Ontario. If I had to pick living besides one or the other, I'd choose the landfill even if they say that the spent fuel rods are safely stored.
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I wouldn't want to live really close to either. But if I *had* to make a choice, I'd rather stay away from the landfill. A few weeks ago I drove down the West Side from the GWB, and did notice the odors from the odor- free sewage plant around 150th/160th Street. Was difficult not too.
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China.

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130.81.64.196:

I125 here. Did an iodination myself too -- once...
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With the startling increase in the number of cases of Autism, there's renewed interest in Mercury contamination.
I personally find the amount of Mercury that comes from coal-fired plants objectionable and would prefer alternative energy sources.
I'm more than willing to entertain a discussion on revitalizing our nuclear plants. But as one who remembers TMI very well, I'm damned motivated to ensure proper oversight of the General Contractor and Operator.
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Oh yeah. You said a mouthful there. TRUE bidding processes.
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Don't forget: TMI, 0; Chappaquidick, 1.
Patrick Conroy wrote:

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Remember that NRA-esque bumper sticker? "Ted Kennedy's car has killed more people than my gun!"
Not an NRA member myself, but always snickered at that one.
On the other hand, what happened to Mary Jo was far from funny. Mary Jo Kopechne, Catherine "Kitty" Genovese - the list is far too long.
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