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Disposal of Nuclear Waste, Examples From The Big International Players


6.siOver the past month or so, the FIFA World Cup was making everyone forget boundaries and explore the mysteries of various countries around the world. In line with the international spirit, websites covered different stories with an foreign twist, from different foods to incredible natural beauty around the world.

Here is our contribution. It is related to different ways to tackle pollution, or more precisely, nuclear waste. It is now commonly accepted that the best way to handle it is to store it underground, however, not many are willing to provide their land and turn it into a radioactive site. Every country that has a nuclear power station has had to deal with the issue of disposal at one point or another, and this is how the big nuclear players approach it.

1. Japan.

The country is among the biggest producers of nuclear power in the world, yet they have not found a dump site for nuclear waste, despite of their enormous efforts. To compensate for this, Japan is following a strict recycling program, which should continue until they realize their plan to construct an underground facility. Governmental officials and experts are convinced that the construction of such place, alongside all needed safety and precaution measures, can be done by 2040 at a reasonable price of $35 billion. The problem, however, is that they still do not have a site available.

2. The United States.

Although they already had a site for underground disposal at Yucca Mountain, Nevada and they spent $90 billion to construct and secure it, the plan failed due to safety concerns. At present, the country is relying on dry cask storage, which should serve the purpose until 2048, when a new facility should be launched.

3. Finland.

In 2020, the country will begin nuclear waste storing at a site named Onako. The site is constructed on crystalline bedrock at 450m (1,480 feet) depth, and will be able to contain 9,000 tons of nuclear waste placed in protective casks. The site is seen as one of the most successful projects worldwide.

4. Sweden.

Just like their fellow Scandinavians, Sweden is not far from completing their construction of a nuclear dump site. The project has been in progress since 1990, with an anticipated launch date in 2029. The storage facility will be  located at 500m (1640 feet) depth, and will be able to store 12,000 tons of waste.

5. France.

The country is by far the most experienced one when it comes to handling nuclear waste and developing various recycling and reprocessing technologies. They are now also constructing an underground storage facility near Bure, northeast France. It will be located at 500m (1640 feet) depth, and it will be used only for vetrified and high-level waste. The launch date of the facility is expected to be some time in 2025.

6. The United Kingdom.

The country’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has been trying to find a suitable location for nuclear waste disposal since 2008, but no luck yet. There is a plan to construct an underground facility by 2050, however it is still not clear whether they will be able to find a site for the purpose in time.

7. Germany.

Instead of searching for dump sites, Germany has introduced a phase-out policy, according to which all nuclear power plants and facilities will be shut down and sealed by 2022. The federal government is responsible for the final disposal of all waste, which is currently being handled by utilities for interim storage. In addition, nuclear waste from Germany has been sent to France and the UK for reprocessing, and it should be returned to Germany by 2022.

Image (c)  Reuters

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