8 Technologies to Help Save the World [04] Nuclear Waste Neutralizer

Overstock.com, Inc.
17 02 2007

Forget Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Homer Simpson. Nuclear energy is making a comeback, and it’s now being touted as a greenhouse-gas-free solution to global warming. But one big problem remains: What to do with untold tons of radioactive waste that will be red-hot for hundreds of thousands of years?

The answer: Recycle it. But not with current nuclear waste reprocessing technology, which leaves behind an unfortunate by-product - weapons-grade plutonium. Instead, scientists at the government’s Argonne National Lab near Chicago are devising a chemical technology called Urex+ that extracts reusable uranium and separates out cesium, allowing four times as much waste to be packed into nuclear burial grounds.

Such technology would at last make a nuke-plant-building boom ecologically feasible, but that’s far from the only benefit. It would also leave the plutonium encased in other elements, rendering it all but useless to terrorists, North Korean dictators, and other evildoers. In addition, plans are afoot for a new type of nuclear reactor that could burn the reprocessed waste as fuel. But the inevitable fight over a nuclear revival is some time off - it’ll be five to 10 years before the waste-reprocessing technologies are ready for prime time.

Via Business 2.0

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2 responses to “8 Technologies to Help Save the World [04] Nuclear Waste Neutralizer”

18 02 2007
Tim Fleming (11:43:30) :

What a plan..

18 02 2007
James Aach (20:10:23) :

Experience tells me we need to be very careful about confusing scientific work on energy issues, such as the Argonne report above, with practical applications that can be applied on a broad scale. That doesn’t mean some reports don’t pan out - just that most don’t seem to.

When making decisions about our energy future, I think we need to start by first understanding our energy present. So I’ve written an introduction to my own field of expertise - nuclear power. To avoid reader boredom it’s in the form of a thriller novel, and it’s available at no cost to readers at http://RadDecision.blogspot.com . Reader reviews at the homepage have been very positive. “Rad Decision” is also available in paperback at online retailers.

“I’d like to see Rad Decision widely read.” - Stewart Brand, founder of The Whole Earth Catalog and noted futurist.

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