Almost every industry in the world produces waste that has to be handled in some way; industries within the nuclear sector are not an exception. Because nuclear waste is so potentially harmful the waste management for this industry is a huge concern for all the producers of radioactive waste. The main goals of nuclear waste management are to keep human life safe and minimise all negative effects of radiation on the environment. Here in this article we look at how nuclear waste is managed and how important this process is for the planet and human life.
Out of all the industries, nuclear energy is one of the only ones that take full responsibility for its own waste. In most cases the waste management is included within the cost of utilising nuclear energy. This is due to the cost of disposing of radioactive substances being very expensive. Radioactivity is a process that occurs when unstable atoms decay and emit particles that are harmful to humans and to the environment. Radioactive waste therefore has to be disposed of in a way that stops these harmful particles reaching humans and the environment. This in itself is a difficult task considering that radioactive waste can penetrate some metals.
One unique task of those that deal in nuclear waste management is the time slot in which radioactive substances can remain dangerous. Some substances decay and become harmless within minutes or even seconds, but others can take decades. Scientists are able to determine the time it takes for radioactive product to decay by measuring their life span. Half the life of radioactivity is the time it takes for it to decay halfway and loose half of its radioactivity.
There are three main methods to dealing with radioactive waste; in some cases the nuclear waste is condensed into a small area where it cannot harm anyone. In other situations the waste is diluted to a level that is harmless and then distributed into the environment. The first two methods are able to deal with many dangerous substances; radioactive substances can also be placed in lead as the particles are unable to penetrate its surface. It is kept in there until the waste has decayed and become harmless.
Nuclear waste management is maintained by power plants on a daily basis and usually stored at the site of the nuclear reactor. It is kept safely underground surrounded by layers of concrete and lead and then eventually buried deeper underground. Waste management is an incredibly important process that has to be taken very seriously due to the harm it can cause if not dealt with carefully and safely.
Dominic Donaldson is an expert in the nuclear industry. Find out more about Nuclear Waste and how the services available can help with environmental waste maintenance.
Article Source: The Process Of Nuclear Waste Management