A New Approach to Military Nuclear Waste

This article focuses on the many pressing nuclear waste issues that the United States is faced with. The most problematic seems to be the nuclear waste left from the manufacturing of nuclear weapons. For the past decades, the goal has been to solidify the waste by mixing them with glass – a process known as vitrification. In this process, the wastes and glass are usually heated to melting temperature by giant electrodes submerged in this mixture. The problem is, these electrodes will eventually wear out…which is an issue if the plant has to run for decades and is so radioactive that the maintenance work has to be done by remote control. At the end of this process, the molten glass cools in stainless steel containers that are then welded shut. What happens to those containers is still an open question.

Isabella Victoriano

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