PATRICK LANDMANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PATRICK LANDMANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nuclear fuel reprocessing. Nuclear fuel rod (centre) being removed by lifting machinery from a container of waste nuclear fuel at a nuclear fuel reprocessing centre. The fuel rod contains waste nuclear fuel from a nuclear power station. Waste nuclear fuel, a highly radioactive mix of nuclear fission products and unused nuclear fuel, is stored under water for a few years to allow the radioactivity to decrease. The water absorbs the radiation. 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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