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Science Technology

Hitachi Developing Reactor That Burns Nuclear Waste 200

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-waste-zone dept.
Zothecula writes The problem with nuclear waste is that it needs to be stored for many thousands of years before it's safe, which is a tricky commitment for even the most stable civilization. To make this situation a bit more manageable, Hitachi, in partnership with MIT, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Berkeley, is working on new reactor designs that use transuranic nuclear waste for fuel; leaving behind only short-lived radioactive elements.
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Hitachi Developing Reactor That Burns Nuclear Waste

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  • Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @06:44PM (#47821289) Homepage Journal

    Can we get more companies doing these please?

  • by rogoshen1 (2922505) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @07:11PM (#47821483)

    option A: moderate toxicity/radioactivity for (hundreds of) thousands of years
    option B: EXTREME toxicity/radioactivity for decades

    To me it seems a no brainer that option B makes infinitely more sense. The proliferation risks are honestly marginal, considering the alternatives. (increasing reliance on coal, or a never ending stockpile of option A. (So much of it in fact we're considering boring a hole in a goddamn mountain to stuff it into.)

    The actors who'd be interesting in getting their hands on high level radioactive waste to cause mayhem would most likely be too inept to use it, and kill themselves in the process. The ones would be capable of putting it to use, probably have access to conventional weapons that would do more damage (consider a 'dirty' bomb vs a hijacked aircraft, or the type of bomb used in Oklahoma City.)

  • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by perpenso (1613749) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @07:27PM (#47821623)

    Can we get more companies doing these please?

    Lets not forget the gov't research labs -- it would be nice if the U.S. gov't didn't shut down such research to appease an ill-informed political interest group.

  • by brianwski (2401184) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @08:04PM (#47821855) Homepage
    > Fukushima's error was they didn't raise the sea wall

    Also, the backup generators to operate pumps were in the basement that flooded. If the generators had been on the roof, it would have been fine.

    I know hindsight is always easy, but it does seem like important stuff in a flood plain should be inspected and thought through once per year by smart people to find glaring problems like this.
  • by PPH (736903) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @08:51PM (#47822055)

    Nuclear waste is only a problem if you have an agenda to make it one. Scream about the evils of reprocessing and the long life stuff piles up, eventually making nuclear power uneconomical. Perhaps that's what some people had in mind from the beginning.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @09:06PM (#47822113)

    Fukushima wasn't in a flood plain.

    The area is periodically inundated by tsunamis. That would fit most definitions of a "flood". If Fukushima wasn't flooded, then neither was Noah, since that was salt water too.

    The problem wasn't glaring except in hindsight.

    Nonsense. Plenty of people thought it was a problem before it happened. The area is hit by a big tsunami about every 300 years. There are historical records of the last few, and geological sediment records of many more. The last one was 300 years ago. They were due.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by newcastlejon (1483695) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @10:11PM (#47822357)

    Lets not forget the gov't research labs -- it would be nice if the U.S. gov't didn't shut down such research to appease an ill-informed political interest group.

    Otherwise known as "the electorate".

  • by kriston (7886) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @11:28PM (#47822709) Homepage Journal

    It's mostly a United States problem that waste isn't reprocessed. This is now and has been done on an industrial scale in Europe and the U.K. for several decades. For some reason the United States, under the guise of non-proliferation, will not permit reprocessing of spent commercial nuclear reactor fuel.

    The story in this article isn't news. Everyone knows how to reprocess spent fuel since before the 1960s. What would be actual "news" is the time at which the United States allows the well-proven, industrial-scale reprocessing to be applied to its own reactors.

    Even Canada does it. The United States' nuclear energy policy is laughably stupid. It's a shame, really.

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