Friday, April 08, 2005

Nuclear Waste Cleanup

God I hate articles like this. I think calling this massive pile of tillings and uranium extraction nuclear waste is just deceptive. It didn't come from any nuclear events. Well, not in the last several billion years in any case.

Nuclear waste is generally the term used for wastes from nuclear power plants and similar nuclear fission systems. Putting this 12 million tons of material in the same category just strikes me as irresponsible. Radiologically it's not much different than when it came out of the ground. Chemically it is worse, seeing that there are some chemicals in that mess that were used in extraction.

Then you get statements like this:
The waste has given rise to sharp debate over what should be done with the remains of uranium ore processing, which contain potentially deadly chemicals like ammonia, residual uranium and radon, which can cause lung cancer and leukemia and won't decay for thousands of years.
Ammonia is only deadly in strong concentrations, I'm kinda betting that doesn't exitst here. As for the residual uranium and radon, there is less of it in the material after the processing than there was before. The problem is that they are in a great sodding pile in the flood plane. Oh, and the Radon/lung cancer etc. part is still pretty much a debated issue.

I just wonder if anyone has considered how much more of it will get into the river environment during the clean up. I'm pretty certain that there is no way to encapsulate the whole mess right where it sits.

Well, some one is going to make a big chunk of change on this one. Move 12 million tons 30 miles. I wonder if any of the big earth moving companies have "environmentalist" lobbies. [Yes that is sarcasm for you people that are too dim witted to see it.]

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