Friday, June 19, 2015

Moment of Truth Nears for Nuclear Waste Time Bomb

A worker looks through a thick glass window at part of the treatment of nuclear waste at the Areva Nuclear Plant of La Hague, near Cherbourg, western France, western France, April 22, 2015.  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Waste treatment at the Areva Nuclear Plant, western France
Reuters: By Vera Eckert - More than half a century after the world's first commercial nuclear plant went into operation in the United States, the industry may finally be nearing a way to store radioactive waste underground permanently.

The world has 270,000 tonnes of used fuel stockpiled, much of it under water in ponds at nuclear power stations, adding to the urgency of finding a permanent storage solution for material that can remain toxic for hundreds of thousands of years.

Finland and Sweden hope to be the first countries in the world to be able to put the most dangerous high-level waste (HLW) into underground storage in the next decade, using a new technology to encase fuel rods and protect them from erosion.

At a conference in Vienna this week, the 164-nation International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) heard updates from the Finish and Swedish authorities on their model solution.


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