Nuclear Power

 

Use nuclear reactors to release energy to generate electricity.

 

 
 
 
Nuclear Life Cycle
  • Fuel mining

 

 

 

 

 

  • The fuel is mined and converted into a stable form, usually yellowcake.
  • Transported to an enrichment facility.
  • Made into rods which are used for about 6 years in a nuclear reactor.
  • Rods moved to a spent fuel pool where short-lived isotopes decay away creating considerable heat.
  • After about 5 years in a spent fuel pool the spent fuel is radioactively and thermally cool enough to handle, and it can be moved to dry storage casks.

 

 
High-level Radioactive Waste
  • There are several long-term deadly components of spent nuclear fuel:
    • Technetium-99 (half-life 220,000 years)
    • Iodine-129 (half-life 15.7 million years)
    • Neptunium-237 (half-life two million years)
    • Plutonium-239 (half-life 24,000 years)
  • High-level radioactive waste requires sophisticated treatment and management to successfully isolate it from the biosphere.

 

Low-level radioactive waste
  • The nuclear industry also produces a large volume of low-level radioactive waste in the form of contaminated items like:
    •  clothing
    • hand tools
    • water purifier resinsand
    • materials of which the reactor itself is built.

 

 
Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository

 

 

 

  • A deep geological repository storage facility for spent nuclear fuel and other high level radioactive waste.

 

 

 

A tour group entering the North Portal
of Yucca Mountain