High-Level Nuclear Wastes and the Environment: Analyses of Challenges and Engineering Strategies


The main objective of this paper is to analyze the current status of high-level nuclear waste disposal along with presentation of practical perspectives about the environmental issues involved. Present disposal designs and concepts are analyzed on a scientific basis and modifications to existing designs are proposed from the perspective of environmental safety. A new concept of a chemical heat sink is introduced for the removal of heat emitted due to radioactive decay in the spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste, and thermal spikes produced by radiation in containment materials. Mainly, UO2 and metallic U are used as fuels in nuclear reactors. Spent nuclear fuel contains fission products and transuranium elements which would remain radioactive for 104 to 108years. Essential concepts and engineering strategies for spent nuclear fuel disposal are described. Conceptual designs are described and discussed considering the long-term radiation and thermal activity of spent nuclear fuel. Notions of physical and chemical barriers to contain nuclear waste are highlighted. A timeframe for nuclear waste disposal is proposed and time-line nuclear waste disposal plan or policy is described and discussed.

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M. Rana, "High-Level Nuclear Wastes and the Environment: Analyses of Challenges and Engineering Strategies," World Journal of Nuclear Science and Technology, Vol. 2 No. 3, 2012, pp. 89-105. doi: 10.4236/wjnst.2012.23015.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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