Plutonium Problem

Glass or Cement May Encase Nuclear Waste




J.D.S./Shutterstock.com

Congress might consider authorizing the U.S. Department of Energy to encase much of the nuclear waste at the Washington state Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the nation’s largest waste repository, in a cement-like mixture, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. It states that when burying the waste, cement would be less expensive and faster than vitrification, an alternative process currently used to turn the waste into glass logs.

A $17 billion vitrification plant, one of the federal government’s most expensive construction projects, is intended to separate much of the waste into high- and low-level radioactive material, but construction has stalled over design and safety concerns. After the highly radioactive waste is immobilized in the glass logs, it would theoretically be shipped to an as-yet-nonexistent national repository proposed for Yucca Mountain, in Nevada.

The 56 million gallons of waste in question is left over from plutonium production for nuclear weapons since World War II, and the site itself has a history of leaks. The Department of Energy likes the cement burial, but state officials believe the best way to safely deal with the waste and protect the environment is by turning it into glass.


Source: enews.earthlink.net


This article appears in the September 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Lissa Rankin on Moving from Fear to Freedom

Fear often arises in us because of stories we unconsciously harbor in our mind—and understanding that unleashes the calming power of our intuition.

Try Some Stretches

Not all stretches are alike, so it helps to know what kind to do for what purpose.

Pumped Up About Geothermal

People are finding that geothermal pumps, which draw on the below-ground temperature of 50 degrees to heat and cool buildings, make sense environmentally and economically.

Preventing, Reversing and Managing Diabetes Naturally

When we’re aware of the physical and emotional components of diabetes, it’s easier to make the lifestyle changes that ward it off.

Not Your Grandma’s Stuffing

The time-honored Thanksgiving dish is evolving to include healthy ingredients such as black rice, cauliflower, chestnuts and pecans, sometimes stuffed in an apple or squash.

Add your comment: