Storing Nuclear Waste on an Asteroid or the Moon

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Woggles

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xavalex":3malz07q said:
Bill Gates just invested in the concept of 'Travelling Wave Reactors', that will use precisely the nuclear waste we think of launching into space. Who knows what we shall be able to do with this 'waste' in the future? Let's just keep it handy, in Yucca mountains or similar safe places.
Thank xavalex. I just did a Wikipedia read. If this works wow the possibilities!!
Paul

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traveling_wave_reactor
 
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Windbourne

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bdewoody":1nx0wtbb said:
Certain elements of the population get very agitated even when NASA launches a probe or satellite with a small nuclear power pack. I live fairly close to Cape Canaveral and I have to admit I wouldn't be very comfortable knowing they were preparing to launch several tons of nuclear waste into space.

Way back the SciFi series Space 1999 had a nuclear waste dump on the far side of the moon. It went critical and ended up launching the moon on it's own cosmic journey.

Maybe if we ever discover/invent some form of anti-gravity then the really bad nuclear waste can be safely deposited into space and eventually toward the sun. Until then I believe Yucca Mountain is the safest place to store the USA's nuclear waste.

All wrong. Nearly all of the 'waste' can be used. In fact, if America uses all of our 'waste' today in IFR as well as in Terra Wave reactors, we would have 3000 years worth of energy. IOW, the amount of waste from all that we have today, could be put in a shuttle and launched to the sun.
 
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TheNative

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Nuclear waste is recyclable. Why it's not recycled in the US is a mystery to me, but it is being done in France and UK. Perhaps cost is a major factor; it might be cheaper to dump it in the US since we have lots of land.

Check out this site.
http://www.whatisnuclear.com/articles/waste.html

Anyway I don't think it would be a good idea to send into space; far too dangerous, there is no "safe" rocket launch into space.
 
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FrankT

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Why don't we just recycle the stuff like the French and others do? The French repository of waste fits into a room sized enclosure in one of their nuclear sites. The only reason we don't recycle is because Jimmy Carter, who should have known better, was so scared that terrorists would get some of the plutonium byproduct. The whole anti-nuclear issue is premised on fraud, much like climate change.
 
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UniqueThinker

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I agree that we should recycle it. We can seprate Elements and store seprately. Those elements which can be used in making neuclear bomb can be kept in safe and secure place, others simply dealt in normal way, we can find the use of these elements.
 
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Delphinus100

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mr_mark":22jlnjb4 said:
Ok, this is out of left field but here goes. A solution, in the future, for storing Earth bound reactors nuclear waste, maybe store it on an asteroid, the moon or a space barge. You could eventually launch the space barge toward the sun. You could do the same thing with an asteroid but it would take a lot more to change it's course. You could also store nuclear waste on the moon, but I don't want the moon to be a dumping ground. Better to keep the moon for colonization.

The Moon is just fine, whenever it becomes practical. You know where it is and any given time, it's safely down in another significant gravity well where it *cannot* make its way back to Earth's biosphere unless someone goes out of their way to do so. The material can never relocate itself on the Moon via wind, ground water, volcanic activity, etc. (you *will* want to guard against a significant meteor strike, though) But if there's a use for it later, it's easily accessible.

Colonists need not worry. there are 'remote' areas, even on the Moon, from places where humans are most likely to live. Walls and fences can still be built. (even on the Moon, you'll still put it underground...perhaps a lava tube or other cave) Signs in a dozen languages indicating basically: "If you enter this crater, you may die." And if you're a Lunar colonist, you'll be brought up with a working understanding of ionizing radiation risks from the Sun and cosmic rays already.

Asteroids have few, if any of these advantages.
 
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starshipomega

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A mass driver is only useful for launching payloads off airless bodies, like the moon or asteroids. Whatever you wanna launch would have to be accelerated up to escape velocity, which if I recall correctly is about 17.5 kps from the Earth's surface. Simple math, that's 153 MegaJoules of energy per kilogram you want to launch, which isn't even accounting air resistance, so the energy cost would be several times higher at least. Clearly this would be prohibitively expensive.
 
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prometheus7

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:mrgreen: Obviously the best solution would be the development of anti-matter devices to annihilate nuclear waste. Like I always say, one good technological solution deserves another.
 
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starshipomega

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MeteorWayne":3kwi0mhc said:
Actually, escape velocity from earth is 11.2 kps.
my bad, but the basic point still stands that a mass driver on that scale in atmosphere is completely unfeasible
 
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NuklearReign

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I've read a bunch of replies on this and it strikes me as odd that so many people have referred to Space 1999 and the moon. Seriously? We couldn't produce enough energy to move the moon's orbit like that even with all the nuclear fuel and waste on the planet sitting there.
Recycling nuclear waste is our best option at this time. But if we were to store our waste on the moon or asteroids it wouldn't be bad at all. The worst part about it is the effort and cost in launching all that mass up into orbit for later transfer to those bodies.
All the whiny complaints about soiling the moon with our waste. LAME! Space is filled with radiation and a little bit of of extra radioactive waste really isn't an issue when considering human colonization. We have to have our habitats shielded from cosmic rays anyway. Dumping our waste on the moon is like spitting in the ocean. It does something but completely insignificant.
As for asteroids. They're another awesome place to dump things. Nevermind the prohibitive cost of getting that much mass to a NEO, if it were feasible an asteroid would be a perfect place to store stuff. And for everyone who complains about the unlikely possibility of that waste coming back down to earth, you have a bigger problem at hand, THE ASTEROID. Seriously people? I'm less worried about how sharp and painful a hood ornament would be if i'm about to get hit by the car that it's attached to.
Finally the sun. There's no point to launching anything into the sun, and it has nothing to do with the orbital velocity of the earth. You only have to cancel out the earth's orbital velocity if you want it to be relatively stationary in orbit around the sun and then fall straight into it. That's totally overkill. All you need is the standard 12-15km/s deltaV that it usually takes to get something out of the earth's gravitational sphere of influence from LEO. Just as long as it's escape vector puts it in line with a trajectory that takes it into the sun then it doesn't matter how fast or slow it's moving. The only thing that matters is that it's not dominantly under the earth's gravity. Regardless of this, there's still no reason to waste materials by tossing them at the sun.
 
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MeteorWayne

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NuklearReign":299et7pe said:
I've read a bunch of replies on this and it strikes me as odd that so many people have referred to Space 1999 and the moon. Seriously? We couldn't produce enough energy to move the moon's orbit like that even with all the nuclear fuel and waste on the planet sitting there.
Where have you read that? Not in this thread!
 
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hyperspeed

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I agree with the proposition of putting the waste into the sun, but getting it there is the problem. Too bad we don't have teleportation technology developed to a point where we could just "teleport" nuclear waste into the sun without having to use expensive rockets.

Perhaps we should wait until that option becomes available. How long before that is possible..10..20 yrs?...

Hyperspeed
 
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garyegray

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Assuming we can eventually find a way to launch things cost effectively and safely in sufficient tonnage to be able to accomplish the task, it would make no sense to then use up more fuel to land it on the Moon or an Asteroid. Once it was in orbit around Earth, it would then make sense to propel it toward our Sun, where it would be instantly absorbed without issue.

As such, to answer your question, no, it makes no sense whatsoever to store nuclear waste on our Moon or on an Asteroid. It would be utter non-sense to do so. Our Sun is a much better repository.

In reality, I do not foresee us having the ability to launch nuclear waste safely and cost effectively anytime in our lifetime. One rocket disaster would spew nuclear waste over hundreds if not thousands of square miles. Such a risk is simply unacceptable in my view, and I am sure, many other people who enjoy living as opposed to dying a horrible death from radiation exposure.
 
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garyegray

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hyperspeed":18905nh3 said:
I agree with the proposition of putting the waste into the sun, but getting it there is the problem. Too bad we don't have teleportation technology developed to a point where we could just "teleport" nuclear waste into the sun without having to use expensive rockets.

Perhaps we should wait until that option becomes available. How long before that is possible..10..20 yrs?...

Hyperspeed
10 or 20 years to telesport stuff? Are you kidding? Try 500 to 1,000 years, or more. If it is possible, that is very very very advanced technology. In comparison, we are still living in caves compared to the technical prowess needed to pull that off.
 
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StarRider1701

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I wasn't aware that much of that waste could be recycled or that we here in America were not recycling. If the stuff is still usable, then let us use it. Then we won't have to waste any $$$ on sending whatever little is left that cannot be used anywhere.
 
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zenmaster43

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Anyone done a cost analysis of maglev launch tube to achieve 66000+mph? Encase the nuclear waste in iron, magnetize it and place it into solar free-fall by launching into earth's orbital wake. Initial construction is certainly costly, but over time, perhaps you come out way ahead, and you avoid the pitfalls of earth-based, lunar or asteroid storage.

Better yet, save that launch tube idea for shooting at doomsday asteroids to break them up. Uranium does wonders for armored tanks. Imagine what a series of rods smashing into a comet or asteroid would do to softer materials at a combined speed of over 90,000mph! Maybe it'd be like taking a mini-gun to a chunk of concrete. With tiny speed and angle changes imparted in the last section of the launch tube, you could set up a bombardment pattern that fractures the asteroid and accelerates each part into different speeds and orbits, separating them enough to result in lower risk of the entire mass striking Earth, or perhaps even avoiding it altogether. If you run short of spent rods, just fill with lead. You might even consider coatings such as teflon, to cut friction losses and to help the rods pierce deeper into the asteroid, where they can have greater effect.

At least if you miss, your problems aren't going to be from the spent rods coming back to haunt you!!!
 
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superstretch

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MassDrivers away! Pack it in tight and light 'er up. Of course you would need a massive amount of power, all nuke, so the supply of waste is self perpetuating. Once you get the junk on orbit why put in back in a well? Just park it in the lunar LaGrange points. Stable orbits, ease of access, no neighbors to complain to the city council... That is of course if we must remove it from our A.O.. With the new tech that is coming on line and the U.S. re-embracing nuke power it might be like dumping all of our iron ore in the ocean. Lots of energy put into removing a resource.
Waste not want not.
 
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hyperspeed

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Forgive my ignorance, but I read somewhere that scientists were already teleporting "minute" particles, and that got ideas roaming in my head about teleportation...
 
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stellardust

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Of course! Provided it can be safely launched and landed there - and provided the asteroid is on a trajectory out of the Solar System forever!
 
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01speed21

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The cost of sending nuclear waste into space would be extravagent. Not to mention all the safety precautions that would have to be taken. It will never happen.
 
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dbarden

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Storing nuclear waste in a space location is a great idea. The only problem is getting it into space. It would require a special cannister that could not be damaged, in case of a launch failure. You would also need a heavy life launch vehicle. The launch would have to take place over water....i.e. Cape Canaveral. Sending the payload to the sun would be the best alternative. It would take many launches to send a substantial amount of nuclear waste into space. It would also be expensive. The logistics, to do this, would probably make such an endeavor all but impossible...not to mention the cost. If we could do it, it would be the perfect solution to a very real problem. Nuclear waste disposal will always be a challenge as the future holds nuclear energy as the most efficient means of meeting future energy needs. If an economical means of sending nuclear waste into space, could be found, this would be the way to go.
 
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rreilly656

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Just store it in the freakin' ground. Contrary to popular hysteria, there isn't as big a hazard to storing nuclear waste in deep, remote underground storage facilities as is assumed. Nor are we likely to "run out" of such storage space for the foreseeable future. In addition to those realities, new ways to neutralize nuclear waste in preparation for storing have ben developed.

Storing nuke waste on asteroids or the Moon or shooting it into the Sun is utterly impractical nonsense.
 
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Stanley1

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Why store Nuclear Waste??? Just deorbit it into the Sun, much easier than transporting to an asteroid that can be hit by another object and deflected possibly into the Earth. You could dump the entire Earth into the sun and it's wouldn't ever burp.
 
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