Physical Insights

An independent scientist’s observations on society, technology, energy, science and the environment. “Modern science has been a voyage into the unknown, with a lesson in humility waiting at every stop. Many passengers would rather have stayed home.” – Carl Sagan

Archive for the ‘nuclear astrophysics’ Category

Thinking about “nuclear waste”.

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Many people worry greatly about “nuclear waste” from the production of nuclear energy.

Let’s consider stars – you know, like that big, hot, relatively close one you can see in the sky for about half the day.

Stars are vast nuclear reactors – they produce vast amounts of energy, by nuclear means, and it is that vast amount of energy which makes it possible for life, at least on this world, for sure, and perhaps on other worlds, too, to exist.

Life exists in a very low state of entropy – it requires large amounts of energy to exist. The nuclear fire within the stars provide that energy.

But, as a byproduct of that energy generation, stars produce new nuclei – nuclear waste, right?

The nuclear waste from the stars is the stuff of which solar systems and planets, asteroids and worlds, and all life, including ourselves on our world, and all our material things are made. That’s nuclear waste, right?

Does this put nuclear waste into perspective for you? “Nuclear waste” is filled with perfectly usable, perfectly valuable materials – why can’t they be used productively?

Written by Luke Weston

March 18, 2008 at 5:44 am