TED Conversations

Kevin Jacobson

This conversation is closed.

The U.S. Really Needs to Recycle it's Radioactive Waste. Here's Why.

The U.S. is going to go Thorium withing the next couple of decades. What I mean is that we are going to start using commercial LFTR instead of modern Uranium/Plutonium reactors. But, before we get there, the U.S. NEEDS to recycle it's radioactive waste. You hear scientists complain about how modern nuclear reactors are consuming more Uranium at an exponential rate which is a horrible thing since Uranium is only around a quarter as common as Thorium. Well you know what I say about it. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Recycle radioactive waste! Going Thorium is definitely doing something about it, but LFTR's won't be a main power source for a decade or more. If radioactive waste was recycled, so much fuel would be saved. I believe that this would reduce the the stress on the remaining Uranium supplies and would reduce the amount of waste dumped in waste sites. If you took the tons of waste from all the dumping sites and reactor pools, just imagine how much fuel would come out of that. I know you would have to build reprocessing facilities, but it would be well worth it. What do you think?

Topics: nuclear energy

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Aug 5 2012: I think Is it possible to bombard Thorium 232 with Helium 3 in plasma form to transmute the atom to U235 and at the same time fision the atom. A blanket of U238 can be transmuted and used on government regulated fast breed nuclear rector plants.

    The ionization and acceleration process on He3 looks more efficient and we can find He3 in the moon which makes the reaction proliferation resistant by controlling the He3 supply.

    I do not make the calculations. If you do please let me know.
    • thumb
      Aug 6 2012: You could also have a Plutonium core surrounded by radium encased in Beryllium so the alpha emissions from the radium could produce neutrons to fission the Plutonium. And surrounding that would be more Plutonium and surrounding that could be Thorium with shavings of Plutonium in it to help boost reactions. I'm not sure if I explained this well enough but I hope I did.
      • Aug 6 2012: It will be great that nuclear fuel design become our future revolution.
        A good simulator software will be great for this process.
        • thumb
          Aug 6 2012: I agree. Especially since fossil fuels simply won't be able to produce enough energy for our needs unless you increased consumption by a lot.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.