Chicago meeting: Nuclear waste traveling soon to your neighborhood

September 16, 2016

When: Monday, September, 19, 20166:30 PM
Where: News & Letters Library, 228 S. Wabash, Room 230, Chicago

News & Letters Committees invites you to a discussion on: 

Nuclear waste traveling soon to your neighborhood

Nuclear packages, much of their contents radioactive waste, are constantly being transported around the world by land, sea and air. In the decommissioning process at the Zion nuclear reactor in Illinois, part of the radiating debris was sent to Clive, Utah. It included gloves, clothing and tools of the nuclear plant workers, the turbines, miles of pipe and hundreds, if not thousands, of valves, gaskets, and gauges.

The reactor vessel itself—a thick stainless-steel bowl 11.5 feet across and about 33 feet high, which had been subjected to decades of close-range neutron and gamma ray bombardment—is strongly radioactive.

The spent fuel rods are a horse of a different color. Spent fuel, classified High-Level Radioactive Waste (HLRW), is one million times more radioactive than new fuel. What to do with it is a conundrum. Presently it is in huge casks made of steel and thick concrete (dry cask storage) at the site of the former Zion plant.

When fuel is swapped out of the reactors that power the U.S. submarine fleet, the used assemblies are placed in dry casks specially formulated for transportation along water, rail, and roadways to a military site. In all there have been more than 1,300 shipments of HLRW since the mid-1970s. The less dangerous military waste goes on roadways to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, New Mexico

Speaker: January, author of “Nuclear Waste Traveling to Your Neighborhood,” September-October News & Letters

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