View Full Version : Sellafield waste? What waste?

2005-Feb-06, 02:21 PM
So you lot are worried about burning more fossil fuels, eh? Well, here's the solution. We have, sitting up in Sellafield, vast supplies of plutonium, formerly from the old days of weapons manufacturing. Detractors always moan about it and yet refuse to do the obvious thing; burn it.

We need more MOX reactors. MOX reactors to burn the plutonium. We get rid of this long lived waste in return for short lived fission products that can be vitrified at will or used for whatever purpose we desire. Either way, it's better that pools of sludge that detractors keep on screaming about. I think they just like moaning.

We also get loads of clean electricity that didn't require us to dig new mines and we have energy stability for a while since we are less reliant on those fluctuating fossil fuel prices.

Everyone's a winner.

So sign the petition to burn the plutonium.

2005-Feb-06, 05:05 PM
Those who voted no, please explain. (I mean that in the nice asking-for-discussion context rather than the mean you're-a-total-idiot context.)

2005-Feb-06, 05:32 PM
I didn't vote because I'm not familiar with the situation.

but... doesn't burning imply oxidation?

2005-Feb-06, 05:38 PM
In most contexts, but the term is used to describe using fissile material in a sustained fission reaction.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Feb-06, 08:39 PM
Well, I said yes. Surprise, eh? :)

2005-Feb-06, 09:55 PM
Unfortunately Sellarfield (aka Winscale) can't 'burn' the waste that's been dumped into the Irish Sea. Wish they could. :(

2005-Feb-06, 10:21 PM
The waste discharged into the Irish Sea is technetium isotopes, not actinides. Brazil nuts are still more radioactive though so don't lose sleep over it.

2005-Feb-07, 12:11 AM
The waste discharged into the Irish Sea is technetium isotopes, not actinides. Brazil nuts are still more radioactive though so don't lose sleep over it.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sellafield)

The site has been the subject of much controversy because of accidental discharges and alleged deliberate discharges of radioactive material into the Irish Sea. For example, in his 1986 book The Worst accident in the world : Chernobyl, the end of the nuclear dream, Nigel Hawkes estimates that about 250 kg of plutonium have been deposited in the marine sediments surrounding the site during its lifetime.

Now I don't know if that figure of 250kg of plutonium was weapons grade or suitable fuel material but that estimate of lost/dumped/discharged material is widely quoted and I have deliberately stayed away from any Greanpeace sites. Windscale had a lousy record of slack management, accidents and poor record keeping but some of us do have long memories. Nuclear has to clean up its act before more power plants can be built. They are necessary for the future generation of power because coal is dirty, gas is rapidly depleting and wind power, though admirable, is at best a marginal power source.

What the nuclear industry cannot afford to do is to rewrite history by conveniently changing a site name, building a visitor (buy your dayglo pens here) centre well away from the actual plant and rubbishing folk with genuine concerns about decommisioning costs and cleanup of contamination. Hells teeth, they had open settling ponds that pigeons were using as a birdbath and then spreading contamination over the local fields! If that's not incompetant complacency I don't know what is.

Honesty cuts both ways and I have no truck with Greenpeace and its exagerated paranonia or the fanatical pro nuclear lobby and their, 'we know better than you', patronising attitude.

2005-Feb-07, 05:30 AM
Why would you throw Technetium into the sea, doesn't it have a really short half life? :-?

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Feb-07, 10:04 AM
doesn't it have a really short half life? :-?
Depends on the isotope (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technetium).

2005-Feb-07, 10:51 AM
Why not build one your self glom?

Google add

Nuclear Consulting

Building your own nuclear reactor?


2005-Feb-07, 01:08 PM
Sure Sellafield has had its problems, but the problems in the nuclear industry are always demonised far more than equivalent problems in other industries. For example, 250kg of plutonium deposited over a large area over the course of 50 years is not a lot, compared to the releases of toxic materials from the chemicals and other industries. But it is the one of the most demonised. The nuclear industry is subject to draconian regulations, far in excess of those designed to prevent similar levels of hazard in other industries so transgressions that would be overlooked in other industries is a cause for great concern in the nuclear industry.

For example, the Mihama incident, which killed four people, was not anything nuclear, it was a steam explosion, such as the variety that can and has happened in all manner of industries. Yet, because it was nuclear, it was splattered across international headlines and paraded as Japan's worst nuclear accident. Recent coal mine explosions in Ukraine and Russia that killed about 40 each didn't get the same attention as the Mihama accident.

Our reactors are old, relatively primitive, and the time has come for them to be replaced by newer and better ones, but I think it is unfair to characterise the nuclear industry as exceedingly dirty. All heavy industry is a bit dirty and the nuclear industry takes far more responsibility for its dirt than any other.

The Windscale incident will be covered on the Freedom For Fission website.

2005-Feb-19, 03:09 AM
Sure Sellafield has had its problems...
17 Feb 2005 (http://www.cbc.ca/story/world/national/2005/02/17/plutoniummissing-britain0217.html)
"Britain's biggest nuclear site can't account for 30 kilograms of plutonium...officials...said Thursday that it's a measurement problem and the plutonium is not really missing..."

2005-Feb-19, 04:37 AM

"For some reason, it keeps loosing mass! Our best physicists can't figure it out!"

:lol: Maybe it was lost to hyperdimensional flux...? :P

2005-Feb-21, 02:38 PM
As I was about to say, Burn it for sure. But they've got to find the stuff first.