Radioactive waste management
Pohl, Robert O. Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
- Spent fuel and high-level waste
- Transuranic waste
- Uranium mill tailings
- Low-level wastes
- Decommissioning of nuclear facilities
- Additional Readings
The treatment and containment of radioactive wastes. These wastes originate almost exclusively in the nuclear fuel cycle and in the nuclear weapons program. Their toxicity requires careful isolation from the biosphere. Their radioactivity is commonly measured in curies (Ci). The curie, chosen to approximate the activity of 1 gram of radium-226 (226Ra), is equal to 3.7 × 1010 becquerels. The becquerel (Bq), the SI unit of activity (radioactive disintegration rate), is the activity of a radionuclide decaying at the rate of one spontaneous nuclear transition per second. Considering its toxicity, the curie is a rather large unit of activity. A more appropriate unit is the microcurie (1 μCi = 10−6 Ci), but the nanocurie (1 nCi = 10−9 Ci) and picocurie (1 pCi = 10−12 Ci) are also frequently used. A common unit of nuclear generating capacity is the gigawatt (electric) [GW(e)], equal to 109 watts of electric power, as opposed to thermal power. See also: Units of measurement
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