Extinction Rebellion UK ex-spokes person:

"For many years I was skeptical of power. Surrounded by anti-nuclear activists, I had allowed fear of radiation, nuclear waste and weapons of mass destruction to creep into my subconscious. A friend sent me a scientific paper on the actual impacts, including the (very small number of) total deaths from radiation at Chernobyl and Fukushima, I realised I had been duped into anti-science sentiment all this time."

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And the plan for safely storing long term nuclear waste for 100000 plus years is?

"In the United States alone, the Department of Energy states there are "millions of gallons of radioactive waste" as well as "thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel and material" and also "huge quantities of contaminated soil and water.""


If you wrote "trillions" or "gazillions" and add 20 more zeros it would definitely look much scarier! If you talk about engineer, try to put things into scale.

In reality, the whole UK nuclear power program for 60 years produced ~2100 m3 of high-level waste. This is less than volume of an Olympic swimming pool.

And this is about how much ash a coal-powered power plant produces in a DAY. Yet, we somehow manage with this enormous volumes, even if it's radioactive too.


And no, it's not "100000 years". The fun thing about radioactivity is that the more intense it is, the faster it decays. Typical high-level waste goes down to just 30% radioactivity in just 10 years, then to 7% in 100 years and so on.


I don't know of any radioactive isotopes with half-lives of "trillions" or "gazillions" of years.

In 100,000 years you will still have nontrivial amounts of, for instance, Plutonium-239, half-life 24,110 years.

Or Uranium-234, half-life 245,000 years.



Now, if you're so scared about 2000 m3 of nuclear waste that is vitrified and stored in billion-years old geologic formations and quickly losing its activity, I probably shouldn't tell you about *actually* toxic waste that we store underground?

Byproducts of manufacturing of your laptop, router and smartphone is arsenic, cyanide and mercury waste, which is also stored in deep geological repository, except it remains just as toxic in 10, 100, 1000 years.

@hhardy01 @kravietz Another very frequently missed important point is:
nuclear power is not only uranium based. This technology was developed with priority because of the plutonium

There are other types of nuclear reactors that produce a lot less radioactive waste. Check the Molten salt reactor (MSR) for example and the related technologies:

@_1751015 @hhardy01

I just bought a thick book on ITER - starts very interesting, tons of engineering and organisational details πŸ˜€ Scale of the project is stunning!

@kravietz @hhardy01 They have very impressive videos:

And yes, the engineering and manufacturing scale is mind-blowingπŸ‘

@kravietz @hhardy01 Also the successor project of ITER is interesting:

But I haven't explored details beyond the Wikipedia page.


So in Germany everyone was freaking out about even a possibility of building a deep geologic repository for nuclear waste... except they already have two of them storing mercury, arsenic and cyanide waste, and nobody cares.

They even have website:

And they're right not to care, because it's done safely. It's just silly to freak out about a decaying waste while not freaking about about a non-decaying one...

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