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Radioactive Waste

Treatment Of Radioactive Waste

High-level radioactive waste can be treated by fuel reprocessing, which separates still-useful fuel isotopes from the rest of the waste. The useful isotopes can then be sent to a fabrication plant, which produces new nuclear fuel. Some technologists view this strategy as an excellent alternative to long-term storage, since it is essentially a re-use practice as opposed to disposal. Fuel reprocessing plants exist in Britain, France, Japan, Germany, India, and Russia. The United States, Canada, Spain, and Sweden do not have reprocessing plants, and are planning on long-term storage of their spent fuel.

Low-level radioactive waste is commonly a high-volume material, which can often be reduced prior to storage, transport, or disposal. It can be concentrated by filtering and removing the liquid portion, so only the solid residue remains for disposal. Alternatively, the material may be solidified by fusing it into glass or ceramic, which are highly stable materials.

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