Dangers of Yucca Mountain
Reply 21 of 31
_ alliance _
May 26, 2002 10:42PM
[quote]Originally posted by Stroszek:
nah. how about canada? then it can be buried in ice. who wants to go spend time on a glacier looking for nuclear waste?
p.s. to all the canadians out there, i'm just kidding. don't hate me. please?
wow, so appologizing for talking about putting waste in canada, but putting waste in mexico is alright...
amazing... <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[No]" />
Reply 22 of 31
May 26, 2002 10:56PM
If SDW would be so kind as to point out my errors, I would appreciate it.
I admit that I have not run the calculations relevant to my idea. I admit that I do not know where to start, having just gotten a C on my AP Physics B test.
In the meanwhile...
There are 70,000 tons of various kinds of nuclear waste in the USA. I have no idea how many tons you can fit into a casket, or how many caskets can fit into the hollowed-out mountain. Perhaps if the govt simply poured the sludge in cement-mixer style it would fit fine, but it needs to be in the waste caskets.
Much of the waste is depleted uranium. U238, useless for power plants unless treated for long periods of time in a "breeder" reacotr, makes up most of the mass of a fuel rod. The useful stuff, U235, cannot be made into a single bar of U235 because such a mass of rapidly fissioning material would begin a chain reaction and explode.
There is a considerable portion of that waste which is the byproducts of U235 fission - all sorts of atoms, mostly radioactive. Some are useul in medicine, others in industry.
These, according to current US law, cannot be taken out and used for good purposeses due to public opinion of nuclear waste. Thus, perfectly good elements are adding to the bulk of stuff that needs to be put away in Yucca.
There's also dangerous plutonium.
Oh and about A-bombs: yes, all you need is to put high explosives in a very careful configuration around the plutonium. When they go off, they have to make a symmetrical shock, compressing the plutonium to the point where fast-flying neutrons can begin the chain reaction.
The reason that no minor groups have gotten ahold of nuclear material is becuase governments are very careful to control their assets. I doubt that if you found a source of pitchblende in the USA, that you could dig it up and try to sell it without the military taking forceful posession of your mine.
[ 05-26-2002: Message edited by: cdhostage ]</p>
Reply 23 of 31
May 27, 2002 12:16AM
<strong>There are 70,000 tons of various kinds of nuclear waste in the USA.</strong>
The USS Enterprise (CVN-65) displaces 85,600 tons. There's a lot of empty space in an aircraft carrier.
<strong>The useful stuff, U235, cannot be made into a single bar of U235 because such a mass of rapidly fissioning material would begin a chain reaction and explode.</strong>
Not to mention that this would require extracting the U-235. You seem to have a handle on the concept of critical mass. Are you still on the track that tossing a nuclear weapon in the waste facility would cause the unfissioned isotopes to explode?
<strong>Thus, perfectly good elements are adding to the bulk of stuff that needs to be put away in Yucca.</strong>
I haven't taken the time to look this up for myself, but using your statistics, your 70,000 tons should account for all this. 70,000 tons is not a great volume of dense material.
Just as a point of reference, the mass of combustion byproducts from the burning of coal in the state of Texas in a single year is over 13 million tons. Which, by the way, likely has a radioactivity level significantly greater than background levels. Uranium is said to be one of the most abundant elements in the earth's crust.
<strong>Oh and about A-bombs</strong>
But as far as your story goes, how are your guys going to get a nuclear device into the storage facility? You admitted to a "careful configuration". Do you think your guys are going to bring an assembled device into the facility? Do you think they will be able to assemble a device? They are not going to be able to incorporate it into an actual storage container.
Reply 24 of 31
May 27, 2002 9:05AM
[quote]If SDW would be so kind as to point out my errors, I would appreciate it. <hr></blockquote>
I believe I already did. But, OK. Without getting into the nuclear physics lesson you did, here goes:
1) I assure you that Yucca mountain is big enough to hold the waste. As another poster indicated, 70,000 tons of that dense a material wouldn't be as big as you think.
2) Making a nuke isn't as simple as strapping some explosives to some plutonium. I agree explosives are needed to my knowledge. I never said they weren't, so please don't put words in my mouth. What I AM saying is that if it were that easy to make an A-bomb, we would have all been killed by now. The reasons it is not easy DO include governments regulating the materials needed, but also include the enormous amount of technical knoweldge, facilties, etc. that are required.
3) DELIVERING the nuke is even more problematic. Are we talking about an ICBM here? That would require a nation-state to launch one at us. Given that scenario, I would assume they would opt to take out a popluation center (assuming the goal is to destroy/kill). If we are talking about a smaller device, it would have to be launched in a similar manner to the "tank killer" weapons we used during the gulf war. But, those are quite small, and, having seen footage of their use, I can assure you these are not sufficiently powerful to level Yucca mountain. Even one somehow launched into the entrance wouldn't do it.
Other delivery methods: Plane----again, is someone going to get a powerful enough nuke to level the mountain? What is he/she going to fly it in, a Cessna? A lear jet? I suppose we could have a repeat of a suicide plane attack, but even one aimed at the entrance would be problematic. The timing of such an explosion would be critical.
By hand: Most unlikely. I can only assume that after 9/11, the security at such a site would be extraordinary. Is someone going to get a hand-carried nuke INSIDE the facility? Quite unlikely.
4) I really doubt the stuff inside the mountain would explode. It simply isn't the same material. Even if the whole mountain was leveled, which I argue might not even happen with an ICBM, the only likely outcome would be the spreading of nuclear waste. In such a case I would further argue that there would be more danger from the ICBM radiation itself than the waste material.
[school bell] CLASS DISMISSED [/school bell]
[ 05-27-2002: Message edited by: SDW2001 ]</p>
Reply 25 of 31
May 27, 2002 9:27AM
Oh well. I guerss there are too many holes in this idea to make a story. <sigh>
Don't worry - I won't share the whole notebook of ideas I have unless you ask
Reply 26 of 31
May 27, 2002 10:29AM
[quote]Originally posted by cdhostage:
<strong>..... single bar of U235 because such a mass of rapidly fissioning material would begin a chain reaction and explode.....</strong><hr></blockquote>
It wont "explode". Stop using that word. If it were to react and cause a chain reaction it would heat up and mealt and drip away and stop reatcting. If it were as easy as you say the A-bomb would have been a cinch.
You claim to know almost nothing and don't even know where to find the information yet you keep making dumb claims.
Here's a hint search for "Yucca Mountain" at <a href="
; target="_blank">this site</a> and only read things with ".edu" and ".gov" on the end.
Reply 27 of 31
May 27, 2002 12:54PM
[quote]Originally posted by Samantha Joanne Ollendale:
SDW, I am not an engineer and I cannot explain how that device works. But a relative of mine who has visited the place on a number of occasions has seen it functioning, and it does work...they (the Methernitha Community in Switzerland) have 3 or 4 of those generators which supposed convert the "Zero Point Energy" of the vacuum of space itself into usuable electricity which supplies their community. This sounds kind of "out there" and wacky but it
isn't a "perpetual motion" machine
, which of course we all know is *NOT* possible.
Here's a link on "zero point energy. Perhaps this is the source of "energy" that this machine taps?
T. Henry Moray of Salt Lake City back in the 1920s also built a similar machine....
; except this one had no moving parts, and incandescent lamps that were powered by his generator ran *cold* (!!!)...weird.
Any physicists here?
I have just been shown [last week] another invention that does require electricity to start, but then it would self propel for about 20 minutes until another dose of electricity is required. A very good efficiency, I believe. But self generating out of what our science today calls nothing, that would be a revolution.
Reply 28 of 31
the power of x
May 29, 2002 8:22AM
cdhostage- What are you basing your facts on? Have you actually looked at the <a href="
; target="_blank">Yucca Mountain Project</a> site and looked at the information there. If someone wanted to use nuclear weapons on the US, targeting Yucca Mountain would be pretty useless, you would just be sealing off the waste in there. Ever watched Armageddon and the analogy of a nuke and a firecracker? I'm not a physics major but theoretically it's not far off. Also there has been some 20 years into the research of this project and thousands of people from all over the world working on this, don't you think they should know what they are doing? According to the information on the site; 40,000 yard of radioctive waste material existed as of 1999, thats enough to cover a football field 4 yards deep. It MAY increase by 1/2 by the year 2010. The materials they are looking into using for the casks should be extremely secure, remember this is a government project- cost not an issue. The government has enlisted <a href="
; target="_blank">The Bechtel Corporation</a> for the project and if you see the list of projects they have undertaken and completed many of the world largest projects. I have faith it will be done right.
I wouldn't be too worried about it if I was living in Las Vegas or Reno or LA. If a terrorist wanted to do damage by means of a nuclear device there are a lot larger resources to hit elsewhere than Yucca Mountain that would make a much more profound statement and do much more damage.
[ 05-29-2002: Message edited by: The Power of X ]</p>
Reply 29 of 31
May 29, 2002 3:37PM
I did read the SciAm page and have a BS in physics and a PhD in a related field. My expert opinion is that zero point energy machines are BS.
Reply 30 of 31
May 29, 2002 3:44PM
Then you muct hate these guys: <a href="
Reply 31 of 31
May 29, 2002 4:39PM
Why not just go to a former Soviet republic and BUY a nuke? Or steal a decommsioned warhead (our new nuke treaty with Russia doesn't say anything about destroying warheads) from a warehouse guarded by the Russian Army who haven't been paid in months?
And who cares it it fissions or fusions, just scatter a buncha highly radioactive stuff in a major metropolitan area.
And I wouldn't worry about the storing of highly radioactive waste with a 10,000 year half-life. Mankind has shown a strong propensity to plan for our species (and planet's) long term best interests.