Why Care?

Your World Is Full of Spent Fuel

Spent Fuel Amount Map
Notes

[1] Canada: 46,000 tons of heavy metal (as of June 30, 2012), spent fuel policy: direct disposal, Nuclear Fuel Waste Projections in Canada, December 2012.
[2] China: 1100 tons of heavy metal (1994-2005), spent fuel policy: plan to reprocess.
[3] Finland: 1,600 tons of heavy metal (as of Dec 2007), spent fuel policy: direct disposal, use the Swedish KBS method for a repository and has chosen a site.
[4] France: 13,500 tons of heavy metal (as of Dec 2010), spent fuel policy: reprocessing.
[5] Germany: 6,800 tons of heavy metal (as of Dec 2010), spent fuel policy: direct disposal (now) following the March 2011 Fukushima accident, Germany decided to close all nuclear power reactors by 2011. National Report of Germany for the Third Review Conference of the Joint Convention on The Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.
[6] Japan: 19,000 tons of heavy metal (as of March 2010), spent fuel policy: reprocessing.
[7] South Korea: 10,952 tons of heavy metal (as of Dec 2008), spent fuel policy: storage. Disposal undecided. Research on dry pyroprocessing technology.
[8] Russia: 13,000 tons of heavy metal (as of Jan 2008), spent fuel policy: some reprocessing. Second National Report of the Russian Federation on Compliance with the obligations of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.
[9] United Kingdom: 5,862 tons of heavy metal (as of Dec 2007), spent fuel policy: reprocessing but future unclear.
[10] United States: 67,440 tons of heavy metal (as of Dec 2010), 15,350 tons in dry casks, spent fuel policy: direct disposal. U.S. Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage, (May 2012).
[11] Sweden: 5,400 tons of heavy metal (as of Dec 2007) spent fuel policy: direct disposal. In March 2011 the applications were submitted to the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) and to the Environmental Court to build the Spent Fuel Repository in Forsmark.

Resources

 

Spent Fuel Exists Worldwide



  • The amount as of 2009 is about 240,000 metric tons of heavy metal, mostly uranium.
  • Spent fuel can emit lethal radiation for many many years.
  • Spent fuel remains radioactive for many years and poses a significant risk.
  • Approximately 10,500 tons of heavy metal is generated each year.
  • The US has 64,500 tons of spent fuel, Russia has 13,000 tons of spent fuel.
  • Spent fuel is vulnerable to nuclear terrorism, nuclear power plant accidents, and environmental disasters.
  • Plutonium in nuclear spent fuel can be used to create a nuclear weapon.
  • Radioactive spent fuel could be used to make a dirty bomb.
  • Where is all the spent fuel going to go?
  • So far there are no promising solutions to this problem.

Source: Managing Spent Fuel from Nuclear Power Reactors by International Panel on Fissile Materials, Sept 2011.

Who Can Help?



What happens inside a nuclear reactor? What does it use for fuel, and where does that fuel go after it has been "spent"?

Even if you have never heard of "Nuclear Spent Fuel Management," you probably heard about the recent Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan or about the prospect of nuclear terrorism.

CAN you guess how these events are related to the management of nuclear spent fuel? Can you imagine tons of nuclear waste in your own backyard?


The high school students selected for this year's Virtual Science Challenge are:

  • Concerned about the future of our planet and believe that science will be part of the solution.

  • Part of a US-Russian team of science students working on global problems related to radiation and nuclear weapons.

You can also be part of the solution!

Use this project-based website, including education modules, anytime, anywhere in the world for individual or classroom use.

Videos

Students Making a Difference

Taylor Wilson: Yup, I built a nuclear fusion reactor

When he was 14, Taylor Wilson built a working fusion reactor in his parents' garage.

Advocating for a Nuclear Free Zone in the Middle East
By Cushing Academy High School Students at the Critical Issues Forum
Presentation with short film based on original archival films of modern Iranian history.

Using Geospatial Analysis Tools for Nonproliferation Research

Tamara Patton discusses how to construct 3D models of reactors, using satellite imagery and shadow measurements in Google SketchUp and Google Earth.


The Science of Nuclear Energy

Nuclear Energy Overview

Karen Hogue, CNS graduate research assistant

Nuclear Spent Fuel

Ferenc Dalnoki Veress

Nuclear Safety

Ferenc Dalnoki Veress


Nuclear Safety and Security

Nuclear Renaissance

Miles Pomper

Nuclear Safety and Security Interface

Dr. Patricia Lewis

Nuclear Security

Miles Pomper