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Nuclear Energy

Searching for Green Nuclear Waste Disposal

Yucca Mountain: it’s nice to look at, but green it ain’t. The thought of endless nuclear waste barely contained inside a seismically-active mountain is enough to give anyone the chills. That’s why nuclear design engineer Dean Engelhardt started Permanent RadWaste Solutions, a company that proposes to send nuclear waste to the surface of Earth’s inner core.

According to Engelhardt, waste is contained in a Submarine Transport Vessel (STV)–similar to a nuclear submarine–that travels into a 75-foot deep hole in the sea at a Pacific Ocean subduction fault (earthquake fault at the edge of the continental crust).

The details get a little fuzzy after that, but Engelhardt claims his solution is “permanent, zero maintenance, less expensive, and terrorist proof.” Since the STV moves slowly into the fault, nuclear waste will be rendered harmless by the time it reaches magma. The goal, he says, is not to bring the waste to Earth’s core. It is only to subject it to the increasing pressure of descent for a million years.

It’s a a far-out solution, to say the least, but so far I haven’t seen any better ones.

 

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Written By

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

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