Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
The containment structures around nuclear
reactors provide important protection.
secure areas near reactors
or at other sites. Often, it is
kept at the bottom of deep
ponds, below at least 10 feet
(3 meters) of water. Some
waste is kept, surrounded by
concrete, in dry containers
or rooms, with air lowing
by to carry away the heat
produced by the waste. Over time, the radiation and heat
decrease. After about 40 to 50 years, the levels have dropped
enough so that it is possible to ship the waste to a permanent,
or long-term, storage facility.
Even after this time, though, high-level waste remains
dangerously radioactive. So far, no country has been able to
decide on a way to create a permanent storage site for the
most dangerous reactor waste. Scientists have thought of many
ways to handle such waste. They have considered sending it
into space, placing it under the ocean loor, and even burying
it in polar ice caps. Currently, many experts think high-level
radioactive waste would best be stored deep underground. The
place should be remote, dry, and quiet, with no known threat of
earthquakes. Finding a place that meets those conditions now—
and will meet them for thousands of years to come—is very
hard. Plus, some communities simply oppose putting a waste-
storage facility anywhere nearby. That is why no permanent
storage site for high-level reactor waste has yet been set up.
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