Monday, March 26, 2007

Waste Storage Breakthrough?

Over at the Energy Blog there is a post on a new Israeli method of waste disposal that safely deals with radioactive waste.

I'm skeptical, I think something may have been lost in translation. Like some of the commenters there I suspect this is only for very low level waste. It might still be useful in reducing landfill usage and possibly detoxifying some toxins.

Here is the description;

...EER's waste disposal reactor does not harm the environment and leaves no surface water, groundwater, or soil pollution in its wake. The EER reactor combines three processes into one solution: it takes plasma torches to break down the waste; carbon leftovers are gasified and inorganic components are converted to solid waste. The remaining vitrified material is inert and can be cast into molds to produce tiles, blocks or plates for the construction industry.

EER then purifies the gas and with it operates turbines to generate electricity. EER produces energy - 70% of which goes back to power the reactor with a 30% excess which can be sold...

Okay, sounds reasonable except for that part about plasma torch is going to get rid of that.
...The cost for treating and burying low-radioactive nuclear waste currently stands at about $30,000 per ton. The EER process will cost $3,000 per ton and produce only a 1% per volume solid byproduct....

OK, it reduces the volume significantly, that is a good thing.

Anyway I found it interesting, your milage may vary.


Steven Den Beste said...

If they're reducing the volume by 99% it's because they're venting a lot of the original mass up the flue as gasses. What if the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur etc. was radioactive?

Wonderduck said...

What he said.

Something seems... wrong with this plan, but I'm hardly an expert on this sort of thing.

But, for example, they suggest that the radiation is dealt with in some way ("1. Feed radioactive item into hopper. 2. ??? 3. Profit!"), but it can't just 'go away', can it?

If they CAN do it, fantastic! But...