Nuclear Energy

By Oriel Wilson Race Poverty and the Urban Environment Professor Raquel R. Pinderhughes Urban Studies Program San Francisco State University Spring 2003
*Public has permission to use the material herein, but only if author, course, university and professor are credited.

This presentation focuses on the entire nuclear fuel cycle. It is designed to explain the negative effects caused by the use of and production of nuclear energy. It takes you through the cradle to grave lifecycle of nuclear energy, paying particular attention to the social, environmental, and public health impacts of the processes associated with nuclear energy.

We will start with a brief introduction, then extraction and processing of uranium. We then discuss the distribution of uranium to enrichment facilities, and the enrichment process. This is followed by a more detailed explanation of nuclear uses for weapons and electricity production. Following each will be a discussion of distribution and consumption. Finally, we will end with an analysis of nuclear waste.

1945 in New Mexico. On August 6th 1945 the first uranium bomb was detonated over Hiroshima. Three days later a plutonium bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. There is over 200. Electricity wasn·t produced with nuclear energy until 1951.000 deaths associated with these detonations. Source: The Green Peace Book of the Nuclear Age by John May . The first plutonium bomb. was detonated on July 16. code-named Trinity.Brief History Nuclear energy was first discovered in 1934 by Enrico Fermi. The first nuclear bombs were built in 1945 as a result of the infamous Manhattan Project.

manmade radiation is much stronger. Natural radiation is everywhere³our bodies. Half-life is the average amount of time it takes for a sample of a particular element to decay half way. Source: http://theodoregray. water. rocks. sunshine.Radiation Radiation is the result of an unstable atom decaying to reach a stable state.html . However. There are currently 37 radioactive elements in the periodic table³26 of them are manmade and include plutonium and americium (used in household smoke detectors).com/PeriodicTable/index.

beta radiation is what is released from this change. and neutron emission. gamma rays. and microwaves. light. radio waves. Alpha radiation is the release of two protons and two neutrons. Beta radiation is when a neutron is changed to a proton or visa versa. but are hazardous if ingested. but not light metals. Alpha particles are heavy and cannot penetrate human skin. Gamma rays is a type of electromagnetic radiation which is left over after alpha and beta are released and include X-rays. Source: The Green Peace Book of the Nuclear Age by John May . Beta particles can penetrate the skin. beta radiation. and normally occurs in fission of heavier elements.Types of Radiation There are several different kinds of radiation: alpha radiation.

html .ratical.Penetration of Radioactive particles Source:

leukemia. hair loss. and death. hemorrhage. radiation doses are measured in rems or sievert. An exposure of 100 Sv will cause death within days. Golomb. vomiting. Source: The Green Peace Book of the Nuclear Age by John May and Energy and the Environment by James A. The average radiation dose per year for non-nuclear workers is about one mSv. breast. blood changes. The effect of radiation is on a cellular level³changing its functionality (causing cancer or inherited birth defects) or killing it. beta. Fay and Dan S. Depending on the information source. in any case 100 rem = one sievert. Severe affects consist of burns. and skin cancers). .Dosage Radiation is sometimes called ionizing radiation because ions are created with the passage of the alpha. but also include eye cataracts. The current occupational dose recommended by the International Commission for Radiological Protection is 50 mSv per year. and with an exposure of 3-5 Sv will cause red bone marrow damage half of the time. increased susceptibility to infection. and gamma rays. The radiation can also affect DNA causing mutations that change individuals· genes and can be passed on to future generations. With lower levels of exposure symptoms are cancer (namely thyroid. 10-50 Sv will cause death from gastrointestinal failure in one to two weeks.

Next I will explain some of the other community and environmental impacts associated with the mining processes. Then we will look at the Navajo uranium miners who were some of the first uranium miners. .Uranium Uranium is usually mined similarly to other heavy metals³under ground or in open pits³but other methods can also be used. The mining process explained here is a combination of two of major mines in Australia. After the uranium is mined it is milled near the excavation site using leaching processes.

so tons of tailings waste are generated by the mining Uranium concentrations are a small percentage of the rock that is mined.Mining Uranium ore is usually located aerially. core samples are then drilled and analyzed by geologists.pdf and http://www.energyres. The uranium ore is extracted by means of drilling and blasting.htm .au/mining/ Sources: http://www.worldnuclear.anawa.html and http://www. Mines can be in either open pits or underground.

Next the uranium ore is separated from the depleted ore in a multistage washing system. and then put into leaching tanks where 90% of the uranium ore is leached out with sulfuric acid.html and thickened.pdf . The depleted ore is then neutralized with lime and put into a tailings repository. Sources: http://www.Milling & Leaching The ore is first crushed into smaller bits. The fine ore is mixed with water. then it is sent through a ball mill where it is crushed into a fine Meanwhile. After purification the uranium is put into precipitation tanks³ the result is a product commonly called yellowcake.html and http://www.anawa. Sources: .au/mining/index. and then goes through a solvent extraction process that includes kerosene and ammonia to purify the uranium solution. the uranium solution is filtered.

pdf .html and The dark green powder is put into 200 liter drums and loaded into shipping containers and are shipped overseas to fuel nuclear power plants.anawa.Transportation In the final processes the yellow cake is heated to 800ÜCelcius which makes a dark green powder which is 98% U3O8. Sources:

Following is two charts³one is the major uranium producing countries. the other is of the major corporations that actually do the while the mining in Canada is mostly underground. The aforementioned process that takes place in Australia is exported because Australia does not have a nuclear energy program. Source: http://www.html . The mining in Australian is primarily open pit.Mining Leaders Australia and Canada are currently the biggest Uranium miners.antenna.

714 2.746 company Cameco Cogema WMC ERA Navoi Rossing KazAtomProm Priargunsky tonnes U 7218 6643 3693 3564 2400 2239 2018 2000 Source: http://www.682 7.htm .org/search/index.000 1.350 2.752 2.578 2.Production in 2000 Canada Australia Niger Namibia Uzbekistan Russia (est) Kazakhstan USA South Africa China (est) Ukraine (est) Czech Republic India (est) France others Total world 10.456 878 500 500 500 200 319 422 34.

However. it is less expensive. and there are no large tailings deposits.antenna. unknown risks involving the leaching liquid reacting to the other minerals in the deposit. Source: and an inability to restore the leaching site back to natural conditions after the leaching process is done. This method is by-product 15% used because there is reduced hazards to the employees of the mines.html open pit 29% .Other Mining Methods Another method of underground 40% uranium mining is in-situ in situ leach (ISL) 16% leaching. there are also several significant disadvantages including ground water contamination.

nl/wise/uranium/uisl.antenna.html .In-Situ Leaching Source: http://www.

little was understood about the dangers of uranium exposure. Despite safety efforts. Early on. . The Navajo Indians in Arizona were the first uranium miners back in the 1940·s to the 1970·s.Community & Environmental Impacts Communities located near the mines and the workers in the mines are most heavily impacted by the uranium mining industry. uranium miners are still at risk. In addition. and as a result there have been many illnesses related to the mining. tailings dams have broken and contaminated drinking water in the communities near the mines.

but because there was little alternative employment. and since then the Office of Navajo Uranium Workers has sought to identify exposed workers and to provide medical care.450 registered workers. once the element was discovered.inmotionmagazine. Vanadium mining started there around 1918. there was a large prospecting movement throughout the reservation.The Navajo Miners Some of the first uranium miners were Navajo Indians in New Mexico and Arizona. Before uranium was discovered there. which sought to warn other workers and families of the danger of exposure to uranium. To make things worse.html .µ Benally explains how the Navajo people came to know the dangers of uranium exposure and how they are getting compensated. a bill was passed in congress to compensate radiation exposure victims. and 412 recorded deaths of Source: http://www. There are currently 2. it was not clear what this element was. the major corporations that ran these mines. and as a result the tailings from the Vanadium (that contained high levels of uranium) were not stored properly³leading to excessive human exposure and environmental impacts on the water supply and food production. In 1960 the workers and their families started the Uranium Radiation Victims Committee. It was not until people got ill and were dieing that the workers and their families found out. but uranium mining did not start until after the Second World War. many kept their jobs in the mines anyway. In the article by Timothy Benally ´Navajo Uranium Miners Fight for Compensation. In addition. the Vanadium Corporation of America and the Kerr-McGee. companies paid unfairly low wages and did not warn the workers of the dangers of the uranium. In 1990.

He says that the US government will only compensate someone if they have lung cancer.html .Floyd Frank Floyd lost several brothers and other relatives to uranium related illnesses. His view is that the US government wanted to see what happens to people exposed in these conditions. so has the The water has been contaminated and.inmotionmagazine. but he says that his brothers had sores all over their bodies . He witnessed calves that had been born defected and sheep that have had lung problems. through the tributaries. Source: http://www.

He recalls piles of uranium around his house and in his Yellowhorse Donald Yellowhorse is a resident of Cove.html .inmotionmagazine. He says that some people had their foundations of their houses built with the rock. Source: http://www. He remembers that the effects took some time to notice and that by the time effects were observed it was too late to turn back. and that the debris was dumped directly upstream from the drinking water so that everyone was exposed. Arizona .

000. According to the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. producing mutations.Uranium miners today ´Uranium threatens the health of mine workers and the communities surrounding the mines. This type of radiation releases high energy particles that damage cells and DNA structure. uranium mining has been responsible for the largest collective exposure of workers to radiation. impairing the immune system and causing . One estimate puts the number of workers who have died of lung cancer and silicosis due to mining and milling alone atµ Source: http://www. Mine workers are principally exposed to ionizing radiation from radioactive uranium and the accompanying radium and radon gases emitted from the ore. Ionizing radiation is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that extends from ultraviolet radiation to cosmic rays.

Even worse than the Beverly mine record is that of Olympic Dam in which hundreds of thousands of liters of uranium mining slurry was leaked from a storage tank³for the seventh time. and was not immediately reported.Australia Tailings Spills According to a Planet Ark article online. ´Australia Uranium Mines Come Under Beverley.µ Australia currently has four uranium mines³Ranger. The article is about an inquiry that the Australian government is making into the mining business at the request of the Aborigines and environmental groups.htm . In May of 2002 the Beverley mine spilled uranium-contaminated water for the fourth time. and Olympic Dam³and they have plans for six more. In 2002 there were two incidents involving the Ranger mine in which the stockpile with low-grade ore got downstream. Honeymoon.cfm/newsid/16505/story. The Beverley mine is owned by a subsidiary of a US company called General Atomics. Source: http://www.

USA Tailings Spills
On July 16, 1979 the largest spill of radioactive isotopes in the United States, other than weapons testing was in the form of uranium tailings erupted from the Church Rock Dam. The broken dam released eleven hundred tons of mill waste and ninety million gallons of contaminated liquid in the Rio Puerco area immediately effecting over 350 Navajo ranching families, and endangering the water supply of New Mexico, Arizona, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles³including Lake Mead. The cause of the breach was a dam that was not built to code³an accident that could have been prevented if the proper authorities had done their jobs. The United Nuclear Corporation, a corporation with a history of leaks, owned the dam. They have acknowledged fifteen tailing spills between 1959 and 1977³seven of those were dam breaks³and at least ten of the spills got into major water systems.
Source: Killing Our Own by Harvey Wasserman and Norman Soloman.

´«uranium mining, a polluting activity that devastates large areas. Uranium ore sometimes contains as little as 500 grams recoverable uranium per 1000 kilograms of earth. So, enormous amounts of rock have to be dug up, crushed and chemically processed to extract the uranium. The remaining wastes, which still contain large amounts of radioactivity, remain at the mines. These "tailings" are often stored in a very poor condition, resulting in the contamination of surface- and groundwater.µ

Nuclear Fuel Cycle
We will start the nuclear fuel cycle with a brief explanation of how nuclear energy works, the enrichment process, and then power reactors. Following will be information on Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the risk of reactor leaks, and the impacts on the communities and the environment. Then we will discuss the nuclear weapons program, including the use of depleted uranium, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, weapons testing, and the effects on soldiers, victims, communities, and the environment.

Key terms Nuclear energy³synonymous with atomic energy. Isotopes. Fusion³is the combining of one or more atoms³usually isotopes of hydrogen. When these radioactive isotopes split. In general. Isotope³if an atom has a different number of neutrons from protons. To force the atoms together it takes extreme pressure and temperature. Atomic number³the number of protons in an element that identifies it. atomic number 92. While Uranium. The most easily fissionable elements are the isotopes are uranium 235 and plutonium 239. Source: The Green Peace Book of the Nuclear Age by John May and Energy and the Environment by James A. . measured by their total weight called ´mass numberµ are the sum of neutrons and protons. and electrons . neutrons. the fission process uses higher numbered elements. Golomb. they form new radioactive chemicals and release extra neutrons that create a chain reaction if other fissionable material is present. which are deuterium and tritium. is the energy produced by fission or fusion of atomic nuclei. The protons and neutrons make up the center of the atom while the electrons orbit around the center . Ion³if an atom has a different number of electron from protons. Fission³ occurs when an atoms nucleus splits apart to form two or more different atoms. many other elements can be made by adding protons and neutrons with particle accelerators or nuclear reactors. Fay and Dan S. is the heaviest naturally occurring element. Fissionable elements are flooded with neutrons causing the elements to split. Atoms naturally repel each other so fusion is easiest with these lightest atoms. Some isotopes are unstable and will decay to reach a stable state³these elements are considered radioactive. Atoms³are made of three main parts: protons. this can be produced by a fission reaction.

Conversion To enrich uranium it must be in the gas form of UF6. Source: http://www. Next the UF4 is mixed with fluorine gas to make uranium hexafluoride.html . This liquid is stored in steel drums and crystallizes. This is called conversion.gat. The conversion diagram shown here is from Honeywell. First the yellow cake is converted to uranium dioxide through a heating process (this step was also mentioned in the mining process).com/converdyn/dfcp. Then anhydrous hydrofluoric acid is used to make UF4.

Domestic reactors usually require fuel in the form of uranium dioxide and weapons use the enriched mix in the form of a metal. and naval reactors. There have been numerous accidents during the conversion and enrichment process.anawa. Depleted uranium is the waste that is generated from the enrichment process. Source: In addition. Domestic power plants use a mixture that is 3-5% U235. The conversion and enrichment process is very dangerous because not only is the uranium hexafluoride it is also chemically toxic. if the uranium hexafluoride comes in contact with moisture it will release another very toxic chemical called hydrofluoric acid.html .Enrichment Uranium enrichment increases the amount of U235 in comparison to U238. while ´highly enriched uraniumµ is generally used for weapons. some research facilities.

It takes approximately 25 tonnes of fuel to power one 1000 MWe reactor per year.htm . the UF6 is taken to a fuel fabrication facility that presses the powder into small The pellets are put into long tubes. The picture on the right is a fuel assembly. Source: http://www.Fuel Fabrication After being A fuel assembly is a cluster of these sealed rods. Fuel assemblies go in the core of the nuclear reactor. These tubes are called fuel rods.

ocrwm.htm Picture: http://www. People involved in the transport process are trained to respond to emergencies. and finally to the power plant. Source: http://www. and Western Europe transport is mainly by truck.000 shipments with no incidents and limited operator exposure. Intercontinental transport is usually by ship. then from the enrichment location to the to the fuel fabrication Asia.shtml . and sometimes by Radioactive materials are transported from the milling location to the conversion location. and in Russia mainly by train. Since 1971 there has been over 20. These materials are transported in special containers by specialized transport companies. In the US.doe. then from the conversion location to the enrichment location.

htm .Nuclear Reactors There are usually several hundred fuel assemblies in a reactor core. plutonium is created and half of the plutonium also fissions accounting for a third of the energy. During the fission process. There are several types of reactors. Source: http://www. The fission process makes heat that is converted to energy (see following diagrams). but they all use a controlled fission process with a moderator like water or Pictured above is the Diablo Canyon reactor in California.

4) high voltage power lines make up the ´gridµ that connects power generators and neighborhood substations. 6) the distribution systems link to most customers. 5) substation steps down the power and connects to the distribution system.pge.Electricity Consumption 1-3) power is generated or imported. Source: .

Complex and difficult to examine. CANDU³Canadian Deuterium Uranium³Doesn·t use enriched fuel. Uses U235. Very dangerous because it uses liquid sodium in the primary circuit and in inflammable with air and explosive with water. Fast Breeder³high temperature gas reactor. Also considered a light water reactor. (UK). but uses the pressure of the water to heat a secondary source of water that generates electricity. BRW³Boiling Water Reactor³boils water (coolant) that makes steam to turn turbines. Uses enriched uranium.Reactor Types PRW³Pressurized Water Reactor³does not boil. AGR³Advanced Gas-cooled³also cooled with carbon dioxide or helium. Cooled with carbon dioxide or . (UK and France). and uses natural uranium. Most popular (accounts for 65% of reactors world wide). Conducive to internal contamination. Has lots of tubes and internal contamination issues. and Plutonium 239. Magnox³Gas cooled reactor. RBMK³Graphite-moderated pressure tube boiling-water reactor similar to BWR but uses graphite and oxygen. Considered a light water reactor. Source: www.

Pressurized Water Reactor Source: .

org/info/chernobyl/inf07.htm .Russian RBMK Source:

µ The implication is that if this reactor can leak. ´Bechtel·s Nuclear Nightmaresµ talks about a reactor that the Bechtel corporation built in San Onofre³that·s been shut down since 1992 for lack of safety upgrades.* In an article featured on CorpWatch. but this leak is in at the bottom of a reactor. The problem is that there is no place to permanently send the reactor to and is a risk because it was built on a fault **Source: www.jsp . Typically.nytimes. so can others. Recently the New York times featured an article ´Extraordinary Reactor Leak Get·s the Industries Attention. *Source: www.** Three Mile Island and Chernobyl are two of the worst incidences of reactor breaches and are explained in the following Hazards Reactor pose a serious threat radiation threat³especially to the employees and surrounding communities. the reactors develop boric acid under their lids³which eats away at the steel encasement (fixable).

the Pilot Operated Relief Valve was stuck open and caused pressure to be released from the primary cooling system. The fuel rods came apart and radioactive material discharged into the sky.htm . Although there were no official instructions to do so. 1979. Two days later On March 28. The second one was built in a hurry for tax purposes (started operation on December 30. Numerous residents in the aftermath developed various cancers and thyroid diseases.psu.libraries.Three Mile Island Three Mile Island is a pair of PRW·s. 1798 to meet deadline). picture: http://www. Source: The Green Peace Book of the Nuclear Age by John May.500 pregnant women and children were evacuated. many others left as well.

uk/ . The top of the reactor blew off and spewed radioactive material into the atmosphere for 10 days. and on April 26.chernobyl. Source: The Green Peace Book of the Nuclear Age by John May Picture: 1986 the result was rapid power levels rising inside the core³ melting fuel and causing a reactor containment breach³in addition to an internal hydrogen explosion. In an experiment. technicians let the power of reactor 4 fall.Chernobyl Chernobyl had the RBMK design.

Since the accident rates of Thyroid cancer has risen additional deaths were related to the accident. They were the workers in the plant and the people who assisted in the cleanup. Source: http://www.Health Impacts Thirty people died in direct relation to the accident. 64% of these cases were in the most contaminated regions.chernobyl. The rate of thyroid cancer in children 15 years and younger increase from 4 to 6 per million to 45 per million in the Ukraine region between 1986 to 1997 (compared to 1981 to 1985). Approximately . There was also a shortage of electricity.000 people were evacuated from 1990 to 1995 and . Source: http://www. Agricultural activities had to be reduced.Community Impacts 116. which lead to a reduction in income.000 were resettled. Major infrastructure had to be rebuilt.

co. The natural environment is recovering but there may be long-term genetic effects. In the local ecosystem (10 km radius) coniferous tress and small mammals died. Source: http://www. and eventually the whole northern hemisphere.chernobyl.Environmental Impacts Radioactive fall out spread throughout the Ukraine and .

org/wgbh/amex/three/maps/index.pbs.html .Locations of Facilities Source: http://www.

Fusion is almost the reverse because it requires the putting together of two nuclei. fusion reaction. which causes a huge amount of energy to be released. Fission is splitting the nucleus of an atom into two or more elements. there is an explosion of neutrons and gamma rays that causes a silent flash of heat and light. When a thermonuclear weapon explodes. and then fission again. The Hydrogen bomb is a fusion weapon. A thermonuclear weapon detonates in three steps: fission chain reaction. followed by the extreme pressure of a mushroom cloud that raises millions of tons of earth resulting in nuclear fallout. Source: The Green Peace Book of the Nuclear Age by John May . In addition if there is left over neutrons they will cause fission in other elements³ sustaining a chain reaction. while weapons that use U235 and Pu239 are fission weapons.Weapons Nuclear weapons fall under two categories³fission weapons and fusion weapons.

and Fernald Ohio (contaminated ground water)**. Of special note are Hanover Washington (evacuated in 1943)*. **Source: www. there are many severely contaminated environments surrounding these sites.Weapons Production Production plants involved in the manufacturing of weapons have also done significant harm to the environment and surrounding Long ´Half-life: The Leathal Legacy of America·s Nuclear Wasteµ National Geographic July 2002.fernald. Rocky Flats Colorado (plutonium spontaneously igniting cause two major fires)*.pfd . *Source: Michael E. All three of these sites are currently in the process of being cleaned up. Because the US was in such a hurry to make as many nuclear weapons as possible.

1945 was Trinity test. Source: The Green Peace Book of the Nuclear Age by John May . the first atomic explosion. and Trinidad (Colorado). The Trinity test spread radioactive material over a 300 square mile area. Later two bodies were discovered 20 miles from the detonation location³the couple had been living in a nearby canyon in an adobe house. Las Vegas.Trinity In New Mexico on July 16. including Santa Fe.

csi. The physical. 1945 killing approximately 140. Source: http://www.000 altogether. ´Fat Manµ (on the right) was dropped three days later on Nagasaki killing approximately 70.Hiroshima & Nagasaki The Hiroshima bomb was nicknamed ´little boyµ (on the left) and was detonated on August 6.000 people. Entire families were wiped out. while others could no longer have babies. psychological. and environmental impacts of these atrocities can hardly be put into words.000 by the end of that year³and an estimated total of 200. The effects of the radiation caused birth defects in some of the survivors· .ad.

Hiroshima³before Source: .aracnet.

com/~pdxavets/1260a.gif .Hiroshima³after Source: http://www.aracnet.

htm .com/~pdxavets/hiro3.Hiroshima³after This picture was taken by a US army medic named Henry Dittner in October 1945.aracnet. Source: http://www.

**http://www.050 nuclear weapons tests world* This picture is of ´Dog Shotµ in the Nevada desert in 1951. The second series of tests. the first series with large scale troops present. ** Source: * http://armscontrol.aracnet.htm (and picture) Testing Since 1945 there has been 2.

Trinity. prostate. and Redwing. Further study and data is needed to isolate target area. urinary. Greenhouse.Health Impacts ´The morbidity study for Crossroads contains data received from 1. These percentages for the most part are seen in data on Ranger.htm .572 veterans of the 42.µ Quoted from: http://www. The incident of all types of cancers in deceased Crossroads Veterans is 59%. and esophagus. Tumbler-Snapper.aracnet. are skin. ranging from 23% down to 6%. units. Buster-Jangle. The average death age of the 380 deceased veterans is 57 years. tests. The leading cancer types. ships. lung. The Incidence of all types of cancer in the 1572 reporting Veterans is 35%.000 participating veterans. Castle.74 %. UpshotKnothole. ie. This represents a sample size of 3. Information from veterans from other tests is needed before an analysis can be performed. lymphoma.

The mushroom clouds break up slowly. and travel with weather patterns which distributes fallout across the globe. mainly uninhabited areas. Other important test sites that have drastically impacted indigenous peoples include the Marshall Islands (US) and Mururoa (France). . Many of the tests focus in rural. and as a result disproportionately affect indigenous and other peoples living in these rural areas.Environmental & Community Impacts Nuclear weapons devastate large areas of land with a forceful blast and intense heat. The land around the blast zones are contaminated with radioactive debris.

and dumping. and submarines have also sunk into the ocean. the casings will eventually corrode resulting in radioactive contamination of our ocean and marine life. In addition there have been incidents in which material has just been dumped as well. plane crashes. Source: The Green Peace Book of the Nuclear Age by John May .Weapons Transportation Another significant threat is planes armed with these weapons can (and have) crashed. Although very strong casings likely guard them. May estimates that there are 60 nuclear weapons and 10 reactors on the ocean floor from submarines.

the Gulf War. Depleted uranium is currently being used in Iraq. When a depleted uranium Source: http://www. Depleted uranium is also a toxic hazard. Uranium is a heavy metal that can easily penetrate amour.Depleted Uranium Depleted uranium is what·s left over from the enrichment process and is radioactive. and Bosnia. and was used in Kosovo.html . radioactive particles are release into the air.

ca/national/pgminfo/du/index.cbc. When the shrapnel was removed it was discovered that is was . Source: http://www.Impacts Jerry Wheat was hit with friendly fire during the Gulf war and suffered mysterious ailments when he returned home.html ´DU has been blamed for a number of leukemia cases among former Balkans peacekeepersµ ´The Iraqi authorities claim that DU is responsible for a marked increase in cancers´ Source: http://news.

and uranium mill tailings.Nuclear Waste There four different kinds of waste: Highlevel (spent fuel and plutonium waste). 11. low and mixed low-level (hazardous waste from hospitals). Source: Michael E. transuranic (contaminated tools and clothes).3 million cubic feet of transuranic waste. Long ´Half-life: The Leathal Legacy of America·s Nuclear Wasteµ National Geographic July 2002. 472 million cubic feet of low and mixed low level waste. In the US there is approximately 91 million gallons of high-level waste. . and 265 million tons of uranium tailings.

Typically. Other sites are in the process of being cleaned. Source: Michael E. Long ´Half-life: The Leathal Legacy of America·s Nuclear Wasteµ National Geographic July 2002. Nuclear waste lacks permanent safe storage.5 billion years. . and permanent storage may be in Yucca mountain. after ten ´half-livesµ the element is considered safe. Mean while waste and tailings are pilling up. but there is no place to store the waste. Part of the problem is the half-life.Storage Many facilities store their own waste on site. Uranium 238 takes 4. but they are quickly running out of space. Temporary storage is being proposed for the Skull Valley Goshute Indian reservation. Half-life is how long it takes for an unstable element to decay half way.

in the north is a magnesium production plant. On the Skull Valley Goshute website it is stated that since the reservation is already surrounded by hazardous facilities. Finally.Skull Valley Goshutes According to the Skull Valley Goshute Indian website the Goshute Indians in Utah recently made an agreement with a private utility to temporarily store . Source: http://www. they have entered into this agreement. To the east is a government depository of nerve gas. Also to the south is the Intermountain Power Project. The Goshute reservation is 18.000 acres. and already surrounded by other polluting industries. and to the northeast is a low-level radioactive disposal site and toxic waste incinerator. and after careful consideration and consultation with the government.skullvalleygoshutes. To the south of the reservation is the Dougway Proving Grounds³a government chemical and biological weapons testing site.000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel. which mainly makes coal-fired electricity for California. and corporations. scientists.

nationalgeographic. The clean up will cost an estimated 64 million dollars. The pile is right next to the Colorado so no the citizens of Moab are waiting for the Department of Energy to clean it up. and leaks ammonia into it threatening the fish. The owners of the pile when bankrupt. Source: http://magma.Moab.html . Utah This is a picture of a ten-million ton pile of uranium tailings.

Although this location has not been built yet.Yucca Mountain Yucca Mountain located in southern Nevada. The waste would then be repackaged for final burial. the plan is to have the waste buried deep in the mountain.nationalgeographic. Waste would be transported from all over the country in specially design railroad cars and truck trailers. This plan is highly .ocrwm.html Picture: www.doe. Source:

. Because the waste will remain radioactive for so long.Impacts Radioactive waste is highly dangerous to humans and the environment. it will remain to be a threat for thousands of years.

Conclusion Overall. nuclear energy disproportionately effects rural communities and the communities near nuclear facilities. If you find yourself in a situation where you are being exposed to radiation. and then move as far away from the detonation area as possible (otherwise remain indoors).gov . the effects of radiation (cancer. and death) are significant. shield yourself from the blast. illness. Uranium mining and bombing are particularly detrimental to the environment. Further. Source: Ready.

org/radiation/KillingOurOwn/ US locations .Source: Killing Our Own by Harvey Wasserman and Norman Soloman.ratical. http://www.

nl/wise/uranium/ Navajo Indian Miners http://www.html DU article http://news.htm WISE TMI picture: The Green Peace Book of the Nuclear Age by John May Atomic Veterans website WWW A bomb museum UK Chernobyl site Arms Control website

gov Skull Valley Goshutes: National Geographic waste article (online version of above): http://magma.ratical.html World Nuclear Association http://www.doe.nationalgeographic.pfd DU article: Fernald document: www.html Yucca Mountain Picture: www. Long ´Half-life: The Lethal Legacy of America·s Nuclear Wasteµ National Geographic July Source: Michael .cbc.Sources Source: Killing Our Own by Harvey Wasserman and Norman US Nuclear Map

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