Environmental Issue
The by-product of nuclear energy—nuclear waste—has created one of the greatest problems of the 20th century. The storage and disposal of the waste is a controversial and serious topic. The nuclear waste poses a serious threat on people and the environment and an efficient, safe, and cheap solution to store and dispose of the waste is needed.



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Where Nuclear Waste is a Problem

Currently, in Japan, there is a nuclear crisis. A containment vessel in a reactor unit at the Stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan ruptured and appeared to be releasing radioactive steam, which as it sounds, isn’t good. The nuclear crisis is so bad that if you are within 20 km from the site, you need to evacuate immediately. And if you are 20-30 km away from the site, it’s necessary to stay indoors and to keep windows and doors shut. Nuclear waste isn’t just a problem in Japan, Greenpeace today revealed that France's iconic sparkling wine, Champagne, is threatened by radioactive contamination leaking from a nuclear waste dump site in the region. Low levels of radioactivity have already been found in underground water less than 10 km from the famous Champagne vineyards. Greenpeace has written to the Producer of Champagne to warn them that their production risks contamination, as experienced by dairy farmers in Hague, Normandy. Nuclear waste poses a threat to everyone, everywhere; for that reason, it is vital that we can come up with a solution to rid the Earth of nuclear waste.





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Current or Possible Solutions to Nuclear Waste
The search for a possible site for nuclear waste storage and disposal has turned towards the moon. Critics say it is impractical because of the expenses and the challenges it poses of depositing nuclear waste on the moon’s surface without making the moon permanently off-limits for further exploration. Though this solution would rid planet earth of dangerous nuclear waste and sounds like a possibly successful plan, the expenses would be greater than those of the current solutions and would make moon exploration an even more risky task. Currently, we store low level and intermediate level wastes near the surface for they pose minimal threats. We bury long-lived, high-level wastes deep in the ground because these take a long time to diminish and pose a serious threat. An Immediate solution is vital but we must think before acting otherwise we could put an even greater predicament on planet earth.
In the US, a permanent storage site has been selected at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Yucca Mountain is in an extremely dry area of Nevada. This minimizes the possibility of water seeping through the rock and corroding the casks. Additionally, if the casks do get corroded, there is not much water flow to carry the nuclear wastes away. The casks will be buried about 1500 feet underground, further preventing the waste from escaping. It is also far from the nearest population center in Las Vegas. While Yucca Mountain is near a fault line, the fault is believed to be inactive. There are several volcanoes in the vicinity, but scientists believe that they have been dormant for almost a million years and think it unlikely that they will erupt in the next 10,000 years.
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Impact on Environment
Nuclear waste constantly poses a threat on the environment, animals, humans and their resources. Nuclear waste can be very lethal when you come in contact with it. At certain doses, it can kill a full grow man. When coming in contact with smaller doses, you are still going to get very sick. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, and headaches. The possible solutions for the future would be great for the environment if we could find one that could be efficient, inexpensive, and could rid the environment of the nuclear waste that can be so dangerous.


Future Outlook
People are working hard to come up with efficient solutions that are safe and clean that won’t cost a fortune. One solution that experts are debating includes storing nuclear material on the moon. Though it sounds like a solution worth trying, it would ruin moon exploration and there would be too many risks along the way. One might say that we should just stop creating the waste, but the nuclear energy meets the demand for energy so well that people think it’s not worth stopping. whatever way you look at the situation, nuclear waste is a dangerous threat that can only harm the environment and its populations.