Remarkable research at Sheffield University
In a remarkable informative video posted on the Sheffield University web site, Professor Neil Hyatt and Dr Claire Corkhill discuss how nuclear waste can be safely contained in glass.
Nuclear Waste is a major issue and how it is being dealt with to date is inadequate. As reflected in the 4000 Generations video on GFC's Community Profile page. It is remarkably important research that is being undertaken.
Sheffield University have kindly provided a download link on the website, so I have shared the video here.
The UK produces 650,000 cubic metres of nuclear waste – enough to fill Wembley Stadium – that will be radioactive for more than 100,000 years.
The total volume of radioactive waste in stock at 1 April 2016 and estimated to arise in future from all sources is 4,490,000 cubic meters - UK radioactive waste inventory
One of the projects currently being worked on involves examining how to deal with hazardous radioactive dust being created at the sites of the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters.
These two events – Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011 – are the world’s two worst nuclear accidents and the only ones to be classified at Level Seven - the maximum possible - on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale.
from an article by Chris Burn in the Yorkshire Post, Claire Corkhill makes the following important comments...
Regarding the work at Sheffield University, Dr Corkhill states:
“We had been the first people to accurately simulate what it looked like at Chernobyl. It is really like baking a cake. We managed to recreate the Chernobyl model and are confident we can do the same at Fukushima.
“Chernobyl happened 33 years ago but after the collapse of the USSR, Russia just left Ukraine to deal with it. They spend seven per cent of GDP trying to clean up Chernobyl. It will take a couple of hundred years. It should be much quicker in Japan, they want to clean it up as quickly as possible. Every time we go, the level of safety clothing you have to wear has decreased massively. They are doing a really good job and they plan to start taking the fuel out in 2021. This is going to take 25 years. I think the work we are doing is really going to help with planning to take the fuel out of the reactor.”
The safe disposal of the UK’s nuclear waste, most of which is kept at Sellafield in Cumbria, should also receive focus. One element of the work is mixing small samples of dried high-level nuclear waste with glass, which is then solidified and sealed away. Watch the video to get a better understanding of how this creates nuclear safe material!!!
In a broader view of nuclear waste she makes the observant commentry:
“Nuclear waste is going to be radioactive for over 100,000 years, some of it for millions of years. Our oldest man-made structures are only several thousand years old. We are not going to be around to see if our materials have done the job.”
“We have had 70 years of the nuclear age. That came about through a real desire to build weapons to end the Second World War and then the Cold War. They built plants to produce plutonium so it was quicker to have the bomb. There were a lot of radioactive by-products but thinking about what to do with the waste was further down the list of priorities.
“In the US, I have been working on processes with the US Government where they are trying to clean up big grain silos they buried in the ground in Washington State after they had been filled up with nuclear waste and which have been leaking. When it was done, there was no thought of how to manage these things in the long-term.”
The Government’s long-term aim is to follow the example of Finland and create what would be known as a ‘Geographical Disposal Facility’ deep underground. But the £12bn project has been delayed after plans for the site in Cumbria were rejected by councillors in 2013. A search for a new location began last year with financial incentives expected to be on offer to communities which accept it.
She says in her opinion that new nuclear power stations should not be built in the UK until an effective disposal system – such as the planned underground facility – is in place.
Given the long-term nature of the challenge, Corkhill says she hopes her work will make a positive difference.
“For me, being able to influence Government policy on nuclear waste so they are making the right decisions would be a really great outcome. Even if it is just a sentence in a policy document, I will know I have made a difference.”
Created: Sun 02 Jun 2019