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From Scientific Serendipity to Scientific Problem

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Abstract

We have already seen in Chapter 1 that radioactive wastes may be divided up into various categories by source — each a legacy from society’s use of radioactive materials. These wastes include the mining and milling residues from uranium, spent nuclear fuel, either in its original processed solid form, or in a combination of liquids, solids and gases; ‘operational’ contaminated on-site solid wastes from nuclear plants, nuclear fuel cycle facilities or bomb tests; discharges in liquid and gaseous form from reactors or processing facilities and also the solid, liquid and gaseous wastes from industrial, medical and military nuclear operations; and lastly the contaminated reactor itself which will become the main source of ‘decommissioning’ wastes. It is perhaps with the original waste legacy from experimentation with uranium that we should start, for it is the use of uranium and its radioactive derivatives that has created the legacy of radioactive waste. Admittedly, there are naturally occurring pockets of concentrated radioactive materials that have the same or similar form to radioactive wastes, such as the ground soil contamination of the Oklo1 natural reactor site in the Gabon or in the Kerala region of India that has concentration levels of ‘background’ radiation higher than some so-called low-level radioactive wastes created by human endeavour. However, these are exceptions: the vast bulk of the nuclear waste is produced by social rather than natural processes.

Keywords

  • International Atomic Energy Agency
  • Radioactive Waste
  • Nuclear Waste
  • Scientific Problem
  • Nuclear Industry

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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© 1991 Andrew Blowers, David Lowry, Barry D. Solomon

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Blowers, A., Lowry, D., Solomon, B.D. (1991). From Scientific Serendipity to Scientific Problem. In: The International Politics of Nuclear Waste. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-21246-0_2

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