The safe and environmentally sound management of radioactive wastes, including their minimization, transportation and disposal can be achieved at a local level. In most locations with a substantial nuclear power program, technical and administrative measures have been taken to implement a civilian waste management system. In many other locations preparation for an individual and local nuclear program can help to ensure that radioactive wastes are safely managed, transported, stored and disposed of, with a view to protecting human health and the environment. People can create within a wider framework an interactive and integrated approach to radioactive waste management and safety.
According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, there are several examples of nuclear energy having positive influences on the environment – clear air, clean energy for transport, lower carbon emissions (for the entire Nuclear Energy Institute report click here). Keeping in mind these beneficial uses of nuclear energy, we also need to responsibly dispose of spent nuclear fuel and decrease radioactive pollution. Reducing the problems with radioactive waste will ensure the bright and productive future of nuclear power.
Still, some hugely destructive accidents have happened. Here’s a video by a person who visits the sites of almost all of them and then explores how exposure to the radioactivity when visiting these sites compare to some common experiences almost every one of us has had several times in our life. Prepare to be amazed:
The fact remains, however, that Radioactive pollution has many detrimental effects for the environment. Radioactive soil contamination can lead to genetic mutation of plants. Radioactive contamination in water can negatively affect the entire aquatic food web. Cancer and tumors can be caused by long-term exposure to radioactivity. In view of these problems with radioactive waste, individual efforts can be taken to curtail the impact of radioactive pollution.
Radioactive waste consists of mainly uranium with minor amounts of plutonium and enrichment products present as well (To gain a complete overview of what radioactive waste consists of click on this link). The production and composition of radioactive waste also depends on how nuclear reactors work. In the overall history of nuclear power, scientists and engineers have championed efforts to increase the efficiency of nuclear plants (To get an understanding of how nuclear reactors work click on this link from the Nuclear Energy Institute. To learn about the history of nuclear power click here). However, the unpredictable nature of a nuclear chain reaction still leads to the creation of radioactive waste problems associated with spent nuclear fuel such as thermal pollution (To learn more about nuclear chain reaction click here. Click here to read up on what is thermal pollution).
In order to address the problem of radioactive waste pollution we can use sound management of radioactive wastes, including their minimization, transportation and disposal.
Most approaches to implementing waste management policies to curb radioactive pollution can be achieved at a local level. In most locations with a substantial nuclear power program, technical and administrative measures have been taken to implement a civilian waste management system. In many other locations preparation for an individual and local nuclear program can help to ensure that radioactive wastes are safely managed, transported, stored and disposed of, with a view to protecting human health and the environment. People can create within a wider framework an interactive and integrated approach to radioactive waste management and safety.
Ideas for those interested in implementation
- Plant mushrooms! Here’s an article about how how mushrooms clean up radioactive soil contamination
- Help your community to support efforts to develop and promulgate radioactive waste safety standards or guidelines and codes of practice on an individual and locally accepted basis for the safe and environmentally sound management and disposal of radioactive wastes in order to decrease the ill-effects of radioactive pollution such as radioactive soil contamination and radioactive contamination in water
- Help your community in the safe storage, transportation and disposal of radioactive wastes produced by spent nuclear fuel by facilitating the transfer of relevant technologies to those locations and/or the return to the supplier of radiation sources after their use, in accordance with relevant individual and local regulations or guidelines to mitigate problems with radioactive waste
- Promote responsible uses of nuclear energy and create a safe and sustainable future of nuclear power by helping your community to develop an environmental impact assessment that promotes the safe and environmentally sound management of radioactive waste, including implementing emergency ideas, storage, transportation and disposal, prior to and after activities that generate such waste.
- Decrease radioactive waste problems by working in cooperation with relevant individual and local organizations to assist in developing locations to support and/or help support radioactive waste pollution management infrastructures, including action, organizations, trained manpower and facilities for the handling, processing, storage and disposal of wastes generated from nuclear applications
- Learn about the International atomic energy agency’s safety standards for protecting people and the Environment and promoting safe uses of nuclear energy
- Use this resource from the World Nuclear Association to learn about Radioactive Waste Management
- You can learn about the EPA’s role in radioactive waste pollution management using this link
- Check out this resource from the Nuclear Energy Information Centre to learn about the environmental impact of nuclear power generation and the effects of radioactive pollution
- Have a look at IAEA’s free training resources for safe, secure and efficient disposal of radioactive waste
- Start a sustainability team that encourages the safe disposal of spent nuclear fuel to reduce radioactive waste pollution by using this resource from the GAIA Project. Also, learn about the safe uses of nuclear energy using this nuclear generation link which has several examples of nuclear energy management practices.
- Use this resource from the Nuclear Energy Institute to learn about the different legal policies governing the uses of nuclear energy for a sustainable future of nuclear power