Have you ever wondered what companies should do in order to safely dispose of nuclear waste? Considering the current charging rate per cubic foot, it is bound to be quite a lot, but actually, according an article at the The New York Times entitled “America’s most valuable hole in the ground“, the figures are completely unjustified, especially in the the U.S.
So let’s look into the process a bit more closely. Before any waste is delivered to the site, the company responsible for the nuclear disposal has to dig a hole, put a layer of solid, almost waterproof clay and cover it with steel-reinforced concrete. On top go three layers of plastic, then the waste, then another layer of the concrete, which is around 40 foot-thick, then more clay and then a bio-intrusion cap. Now, how much could this be? Well, the lone owner of such business across nearly 30 U.S. states, Waste Control Specialists, charges a minimum of $10,000 per cubic foot, but depending on the level of radioactivity, the price goes up.
The company based in Texas is only one across 29 states, who takes certain low-level waste from nearly 100 nuclear reactors, making an annual revenue of around $15 billion, as stated my the company owner, or $30 billion, as estimated by the industry.
Low-level nuclear waste includes contaminated tools, filters for radioactive water, laboratory wastes or protective clothing. Although since the 1980s the U.S. Congress promised to find places where such waste should be disposed of, the site in Texas is currently the one and only in the country. Others exist, but they handle waste with different levels of contamination, allowing WCS to manipulate and control the prices entirely. In terms of safety, it is quite debatable whether such monopoly should be allowed. Leaving the ridiculous prices aside, one lone owner could simply select any location, regardless of its suitability.
So, it seems, if you want to make easy money, open up your own low-level nuclear waste disposal site. It might well turn out to be a hidden gold mine.
Image (c) Waste Control Specialists