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What we leave behind for our descendants

Nuclear waste is one of the most dangerous, most feared and most worried-over materials known to man. Highly radioactive materials that have been spent as nuclear fuel inside some nuclear reactor, now to live the rest of their (not-so-short) radioactive lives buried miles underground.

To put it simply… Radioactive waste is.. well.. it’s annoying.

The typical reactor fuels found in large scale nuclear fission reactors are: UOX (Uranium Oxide) & MOX (plutonium and mixed oxides with depleted uranium). When these fuels are “used up” (which means they have become less efficient at splitting atoms) they are dangerously radioactive for approximately 10,000 – 100,000 years.
Even with a radioactive half-life (the time in which it takes the materials radiation levels to half) of 50-70 years, UOX & MOX still are dangerous 1000 years after decommission.

This is rather irritating. We have to find big caverns deep underground (sufficient to isolate the gamma & X-Ray radiation) to effectively hide our shameful waste.

This is the real problem with Nuclear Fission Energy. It is a nightmare to get rid of the waste.

However, with Nuclear Fusion Energy – what kind of waste products could we expect? How many thousand square kilometers would have to be used as nuclear waste deposits? How many glowing, green barrels would we leave for our children and their children?

Well.. the answer, to all three, is none. The only by-product of nuclear fusion is helium and heat.
Hence why fusion is so exciting!

 

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