Major concerns in the production of nuclear power

Canadian Nuclear Association,

Major concerns in the production of nuclear power

Nuclear power is very expensive and moreover, many alternatives are available which can reduce CO2 emissions far more effectively, for infinite time periods, and at far lower costs.

However, some people argue that climate change is such an important issue that we must employ all available methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, no matter what the cost. There are so many other serious problems associated with nuclear power that any minor and temporary benefits are of tiny significance compared to the problems.

These problems have existed since the introduction of nuclear power and are still not resolved. The chance that they will be solved within a reasonable time becomes more and more unlikely. In this section we will highlight the four major problems: Storing radioactive waste One of the most serious and persistent problems of nuclear power is what to do with radioactive waste.

Supporters argue that radioactive waste is actually not a major problem since the quantities are small. Whilst this may be true in relation to coal-fired power plants, there are still huge amounts of waste created during the nuclear process.

In fact the production of 1, tons of uranium fuel typically generatestons of tailings and 3. The amount of sludge produced is nearly the same as that of the ore milled. At a grade of 0. In addition, the sludge contains heavy metals and other contaminants such as arsenic, as well as chemical reagents used during the milling process.

Still, the volume of waste is not the main problem associated with nuclear waste. The main problem is that high-level waste remains dangerously radioactive for up toyears Greenpeace, After half a century of research there are still no satisfactory solutions to this problem.

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The most commonly suggested solution is to build underground waste repositories for long-term storage. Inthe U. Department of Energy announced plans to build such a repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

According to the plan, high-level radioactive waste will be buried deep in the ground where it will hopefully remain unexposed to groundwater and unaffected by earthquakes Cunningham et al, On a timescale of hundreds of thousands of years, however, it is impossible to predict whether an area will remain dry or geologically stable.

Moreover the costs of monitoring and maintenance over such a timescale are unimaginable and generations for hundreds of thousands of years to come would still have to pay the cost for a few years electricity for our generation.

The Yucca Mountain scheme has generated huge public outcry and it is likely that the project will never go ahead. Similar problems elsewhere in the world mean that there are currently no final repositories in operation. In the last decades researchers have been working on the technology to reduce radioactivity and the decay time of nuclear waste, the so-called transmutation process.

Major concerns in the production of nuclear power

This has often been optimistically heralded as the future solution to the waste problem, however, there is no guarantee that this research will be successful, and if it is the financial costs will be enormous.

Nuclear waste contains many different types of radioactive isotopes, which must all be partitioned separately and then transmutated separately.

The aim is to decrease the decay time of the radioactivity of these isotopes.

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This will not be possible for all isotopes and not all isotopes can be partitioned. It will require new processing technologies and plants.Disposal of radioactive waste is a major concern in nuclear power production.

Which method of disposal is least dangerous? distributing nuclear /5(16). Nuclear Power in Japan (Updated November ) Japan needs to import about 90% of its energy requirements. Its first commercial nuclear power reactor began operating in mid, and nuclear energy has been a national strategic priority since This is an unofficial and privately-maintained list of Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ's) regarding nuclear power generation in Canada.

It is designed to meet general as well as technical interest needs. A major environmental concern related to nuclear power is the creation of radioactive wastes such as uranium mill tailings, spent (used) reactor fuel, and other radioactive wastes. These materials can remain radioactive and dangerous to human health for thousands of years.

Nuclear power is a major source of energy in France, with a 40% share of energy consumption in Nuclear power is the largest source of electricity in the country, with a generation of TWh, or % of the country's total production of TWh, the highest percentage in the world..

Électricité de France (EDF) – the country's main electricity generation and distribution company. The first commercial nuclear power stations started operation in the s. Nuclear energy now provides about 11% of the world's electricity from about power reactors. Nuclear is the world's second largest source of low-carbon power (>30% of the total in ).

50 countries utilise nuclear.

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