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Lava flow nuclear waste disposal

Entomb nuclear waste in molten lava.
  (+10, -7)
(+10, -7)
  [vote for,

Lava flows are actually pretty stable structures (We're thinking of the free-flowing basic lavas here, like on Hawaii). So, glasify high-level nuclear waste into lumps about the size of a coke can. Enclose this in a thick stainless steel can and weld it. Enclose the steel can in a thick jacket of refractory ceramic. Place the packages in a random pattern in front of an advancing lava flow. Pretty soon, they get overwhelmed and entombed in molten rock, but the ceramic jacket stops the heat getting to the inner can. Then the lava cools, freezing the waste in place. Next year, another flow goes over the top. And another. And another. Pretty soon the waste is buried under many metres of hard, impervious rock.

No "keep away" signs are needed as volcanoes are intrinsically pretty dangerous. Noone digs near them for the same reason. And if any one package is damaged or ruptured (maybe by an earthquake), the actual release will be fairly small and contained. The waste will be safe until it has decayed.

8th of 7, Jun 25 2002

Calderal Garbage Dumps http://www.halfbake...l_20Garbage_20Dumps
Similar idea. [phoenix, Jun 25 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Lava wells http://www.halfbake...m/idea/Lava_20wells
Shows [8th of 7]'s affinity for lava. [phoenix, Jun 25 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

TV audience decaying 2002-2012: 10 year 1/2life http://www.business...l-is-so-high-2013-1
[bs0u0155, Aug 05 2014]


       why wouldnt the flow simply push them along ?
mymus, Jun 25 2002

       Mymus: Ever watched a lava flow closely ? It's not like a water wave, beacuse it's not of constant viscosity; the surface is a thickened, cooled skin through which the hot core continually breaks. So the flow lays down a thin carpet of cooled semi-solid material ahead of itself, engulfing things in its path. Once it rolls over this layer, the layer remelts, bonding to the flow beneath. It's quite fascinating, but don't get too close. This is how the packages get covered and sealed in.   

       Blissmiss: We assure you there is only one of us, something for which many people are truly thankful. We just have a very inventive mind, that's all.
8th of 7, Jun 25 2002

       phobic, multiple personalities. hmmm.
po, Jun 25 2002

       Phoenix: Relevant link, thanks, but this idea is a bit more focussed on the problem of disposing of relatively small volumes of material in a safe and non-polluting way, rather than the issue of general garbage disposal.
8th of 7, Jun 25 2002

       po: don't forget immature, sociopathic and paranoid ......
8th of 7, Jun 25 2002

       its not all positive, eighth.
po, Jun 25 2002

       OK, so how do you get the nuclear waste to Hawaii?
JakePatterson, Jun 25 2002

       There seem to be a lot of Greenpeace dinghies about. Maybe we could use them to carry nuclear waste to Hawaii.
mighty_cheese, Jun 26 2002

       So this is related to an idea which was considered in the 1960's and 1970's (it was a friend's first post-PhD gig) -- the idea here was to drill down to the mohovahic layer in a subduction zone (where one tectonic plate dives under another), and drop the waste on the conveyor belt to the mantle where it'd go away for several million years.   

       I don't know what became of that plan, perhaps the rate of subduction wasn't fast enough.
whump, Jun 26 2002

       8th, no i havent. cheers for the explanation.
mymus, Jun 26 2002

       Such a bad idea. You might as well throw them in a silty river and let them get buried in sand.   

       This gives little control over what happens to the waste and does not allow monitoring. Furthermore, volcanoes are generally located in regions prone to seismic activity, and magma pressure itself can split rock and blow holes in the sides of mountains.   

       And being as they are at the tops of mountains, any contaminated groundwater would run downhill over a wide area. The area around the base of volcanoes is commonly extensively cultivated, and you would risk poisoning it.
pottedstu, Jun 26 2002

       / So, glasify high-level nuclear waste into lumps about the size of a coke can. Enclose this in a thick stainless steel can and weld it. Enclose the steel can in a thick jacket of refractory ceramic. /   

       Make up two dozen cans as you describe. Use stained glass waste instead of the radioactive. Toss them in the next flow and see what happens. Some magnetic or low level radiation markers might make them easier to find.   

       My guess is that some of the cans will float and some will rupture, but without some testing who knows.
popbottle, Aug 04 2014

       antarctica - dig down through the ice until you hit bedrock then put in a bog standard (for that temperature range) warehousing complex, maintained (including the pit) by the countries that produce the stuff. When, at some point in the future, the "waste" turns out to be useful, you can drag it out; alternatively, if civilization falls, it eventually gets covered by a couple kilometers of ice: no harm no foul, no surprises for future generations.
FlyingToaster, Aug 04 2014

       I heard there's a plan to move the poles to the equator, relocating the equator as well.
normzone, Aug 04 2014

       The problem with nuclear waste is that people say "oh, but it has to remain safe for 50,000 years".   

       Utter, utter bollocks.   

       It has to remain safe for 1-200 years. If, by that time, we haven't figured out how to un-bury the stuff and dispose of it safely, then frankly we ought to give up and go home.   

       It's a bit like neolithic environmentalists agonizing over how to safely dispose of flint shards that will remain sharp for millennia. OK, so it took us 2000 years, but we invented safety gloves and bandaids.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 04 2014

       // give up and go home. //   

       Yes, that's our plan ... what's yours ?   

       // neolithic environmentalists //   


       // agonizing over how to safely dispose of flint shards that will remain sharp for millennia //   

       It is not difficult to envision a 7000AD verion of Time Team with a Tony Robinson descendant gleefully narrating the unearthing of a genuine 21st century nuclear waste canister, which is treated with no more alarm than that which might currently be accorded to a 17th century musket ball ...
8th of 7, Aug 04 2014

       Precisely so.   

       However, if "Time Team" is still on TV in 7000 years, I may consider challenging my TV licence fee.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 04 2014

       //"Time Team" is still on TV in 7000 years//   

       If TV is still a thing in 70 years I may consider challenging my direct-to-brain internet feed fee.
bs0u0155, Aug 05 2014

       After nearly a century, basic broadcast radio's still around …
8th of 7, Aug 05 2014

       the end is nigh <link>
bs0u0155, Aug 05 2014

       Yes, but while it's relatively easy to envision a situation where the ears are available, but the eyes aren't, it's significantly harder to envision a situation where the eyes are, but the brain isn't.
MechE, Aug 05 2014

       No it's not. It's called "The X Factor".
8th of 7, Aug 05 2014

       //the end is nigh <link>//   

       The link says the half-life of TV is 10 years. Assuming that 1 billion people watch it now, it will be 290 years before the last viewer turns off.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 05 2014

       Best remind them now to check the outside doors are locked before they go to bed, then.
8th of 7, Aug 05 2014

       Nuclear waste. Bah! The stuff is thin on the ground. Hard to find when you need it. Then some man with a hat says "no you can't have it. And let me see your ID".   

       This lava idea, though; I like it. Why not work that scheme for used batteries and fluorescent lights. And that juice from air conditioners. Old TVs. Used paint. All that stuff is poison and you have to pay extra to get rid of it. Throw all that in the lava and see how it pans out.
bungston, Aug 06 2014

       Fine, as long as you don't waste anthing that will burn of its own accord. Putting tins of gloss paint in a bonfire is highly entertaining.
8th of 7, Aug 06 2014

       //290 years before the last viewer turns off//   

       That's assuming there's only one factor in play. There's probably 2. I heard CNN's average audience is 72 years old, so there's people moving away from TV as a medium and people stopping being alive. Although if they leave the TV on when they die, does it still count in the figures?
bs0u0155, Aug 06 2014


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