Nuclear energy is a huge part of modern society and is also one that is deadly when mishandled. The waste created by used up nuclear fuel is radioactive and a serious, high level hazard to the public and the environment. Because of the hazard nuclear wastes poses, finding safe and effective methods of its disposal is extremely important.
Argillaceous Rock Formations And Underground Disposal
In many countries like Canada and Switzerland, experts are making plans to create tunnels through shale formation for the sole purpose of storing nuclear waste. American geological experts agree that nuclear waste is not able to permeate shale formations. Storing nuclear waste in argillaceous rock (shale) formations is predicted to also produce an extremely low risk of radioactive by-products making their way into groundwater sources, a huge benefit for researchers trying to find the best methods to dispose of huge amounts of nuclear waste. Some of the techniques being examined for being able to store nuclear waste in argillaceous rock are included below:
- Drilling deep boreholes: While this seems like a successful way to get rid of nuclear waste, there are many aspects to be reviewed about borehole construction before it can become a mainstream application in the field of nuclear of energy. Several problems need to be addressed, like the location of the first boreholes, how to package the waste for placement in a borehole and how to get back the waste after it is placed. Being able to retrieve disposed nuclear waste is a regulation of the federal US government. Ensuring successful drilling would mean boring an extremely deep hole (5 kilometers is the depth being presently investigated; 3 mile deep boreholes were first considered) that would be smooth enough for inserting a liner. If a liner does fit properly, there is a high risk of the radioactive waste packages getting trapped if it cannot move over a smooth liner surface. Researchers with the US Department of Energy are working hard to make progress in the safest disposal of nuclear waste using advanced drilling technology for boreholes.
- Mining tunnels: Cutting tunnels through shale formations for the storage of hazardous nuclear waste. Many countries are leaning towards mining tunnels as the fastest, safest and most economical method for handling their nuclear waste management problems.
One of the common problems facing every waste management professional, both now and in the future, is how to best protect the public and the environment. When it comes to high level waste like that from nuclear reactors and the manufacturing of nuclear military weapons, the responsibility is huge and covers all the people in the nation as a whole. For more information about waste management in your area, contact a company like B-P Trucking Inc.