Another Cold War legacy becoming a hot issue

After the reckless destruction of South Pacific atolls during hydrogen bomb testing the USA buried thousands of tonnes of radiactive material in a blast crater in the Marshall Islands…it was “sealed” temporarily with this 18 inch thick concrete dome. This was never intended to be permanent and now the cracks are beginning to show. See Independent article below.

This is typical of the time when leaders thought nothing was as important as acquiring a nuclear detterent! It is reminiscent of the horrible Windscale mess of metal silos rusting in the salty, seaside wind and crumbling concrete tanks which formed the temporary dump for some of the dangerous waste from the UK hydrogen bomb program. Zero care or thought for the future, only blind pursuit of a short term goal.

Dome covering nuclear waste in Marshall Islands is beginning to crack, UN warns | The Independent | The Independent

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Hopeful – long life batteries from waste

This emerging technlogy from Bristol Universities Chemists and Physicists looks like a great future way to reduce the pile of nuclear waste offering a solution for the 95,000 tonnes of graphite blocks that the UK is storing following their use in reactors. The idea is that Carbon 14 from irradiated graphite is combined with industrial diamond to make a battery.

British university unveils ‘diamond’ nuclear-powered battery – World Nuclear News (

It won’t be for free – production of industrial diamonds requires high energy input (being done at pressures and temperatures in the range 4.5–6.0 GPa and 1127–1527 centigrade) so making all the carbon 14 in our waste stockpile into batteries is going to require a massive amount of energy over a long period.

Any expert comment on when this technology will start production would be very interesting!

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Frightening – Can bacterial spread radioactivity?

A study by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory suggests that bacteria can ingest some of the most dangerous radioactive waste and provide a mechanism to spread it.

Nuclear waste interaction in the environment may be more complicated than once thought | Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (

Highly concentrated radio-active material like the waste from nuclear power is a man made phenomonen and it is truly frightening that we could create the conditions for bacteria that feed on it to multiply and spread it.

Surely more needs to be known about this before we rush to build new reactors justified by the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions.

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