Nuclear waste reprocessing, safety check

Nuclear waste reprocessing, safety check

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Credit: PATRICK LANDMANN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Nuclear fuel reprocessing. Safety check on a container of waste nuclear fuel after arrival at a nuclear fuel reprocessing centre. The check will make sure that no radioactive material has leaked from the container. Waste nuclear fuel is a highly radioactive mix of nuclear fission products and unused nuclear fuel, and is transported in heavily-shielded lead-lined containers. After storage for a few years to allow the radioactivity to decrease, the unused fuel (plutonium and uranium) will be extracted to make new fuel rods. The waste fission products will be sealed in containers and stored for hundreds of years until they are safe. This is the La Hague reprocessing centre in northern France. Photographed in 2004.

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