Nuclear waste reprocessing, fuel storage

Nuclear waste reprocessing, fuel storage

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Credit: PATRICK LANDMANN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Nuclear fuel reprocessing. Workers preparing to store a container of waste nuclear fuel after arrival at a nuclear fuel reprocessing centre. Waste nuclear fuel, a highly radioactive mix of nuclear fission products and unused nuclear fuel, is transported in heavily-shielded lead-lined containers. This container is being prepared for lowering into a large mass of water where the radioactive fuel will be removed and stored for a few years to allow the radioactivity to decrease. Eventually, 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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