How long is nuclear waste reactive and dangerous after use?

Even after it is done being used, nuclear waste is reactive nad dangerous. But for how long?

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3 Responses to “How long is nuclear waste reactive and dangerous after use?”

  1. Wish You Were Here said:

    The half-life of a sample would depend on the specific element. Some elements have shorter half-lives than others.

    The radioactivity of most elements used in the production of power have half lives of hundreds to thousands of years.

    It also depends on the process being used… Canada, for example, uses a process involving the “Used” radioactive materials in a process that involves Heavy Water.

    I can’t remember anything about it off hand…

    Here are some resources that might interest you.

    PLEASE watch this quick video:

    Nuclear Power: In Laymen’s Terms
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Usg7-xbQOcM

    Radioactive decay
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioactive_decay

    Heavy Water
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy_Water

  2. tannyprankster said:

    half life of an element is the time it takes for the element to come to its half life i.e. stable state where it would not radiate anymore, for eg when uranium comes to its half life it becomes lead (if i am correct.) and so does plutonium.
    another point of interest is that most radioactive elements used in power and mass destruction are isotopes of lead.

  3. goober said:

    The spent material in a reactor core has a mix of many radioactive substances, each with its own half life. The half life is the time it takes a radioactive substance to lose half of its radioactivity. So it just gets smaller and smaller with time never totally going away but eventually just fading into insignificance. Unfortunately some of the substances have half lives that measure in the thousands of years, so it would take many thousands of years for this stuff to become harmless.

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