Radioactive wastes

Radioactive wastes

Why are nuclear wastes at times said to be a problem which is too complicated to solve? Radioactive wastes are wastes that contain radioactive material. Radioactive wastes are usually by-products of nuclear power generation and other applications of nuclear fission or nuclear technology, such as research and medicine. Radioactive waste is hazardous to most forms of life and the environment, and is regulated by government agencies in order to protect human health and the environment. Radioactivity diminishes over time, so waste is typically isolated and stored for a period of time until it no longer goes a hazard.

The period of time waste must be stored depends on the type of waste. Low-level waste with low levels of radioactivity per mass or volume (such as some common medical or industrial radioactive wastes) may need to be stored for only hours or days while high-level wastes (such as spent nuclear fuel or by-products of nuclear reprocessing) the time frames in question range from 10,000 to millions of years. Current major approaches to managing radioactive waste have been segregation and storage for short- lived wastes, near-surface disposal for low and some intermediate level sates, and deep burial or transmutation for the high-level wastes.

Nuclear waste is radioactive and can damage/mutate surrounding organisms that come in contact with the radiation. Not only that, but also because the half-life of some types of nuclear waste is in the thousands and millions of years, and nothing that’s man-made has ever stood up to that kind of deep time. Remember, the last ice age wasn’t that long ago, if you’re measuring in thousands and millions of years before the waste is safe using our current understanding of nuclear physics.

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