Nuclear ground level facility (WNA).One of the major
Nuclear power plants make up 19.7% of the electricity in the U.S., and there are 30 states in the U.S. that have operating nuclear reactors in 2016 according to Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI). In the U.S. alone there are 99 operating nuclear reactors (NEI). Unlike other power plants, nuclear power plants provide clean energy with no air pollution or carbon dioxide emission, what it does produce is nuclear waste, which is radioactive according to the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA). Nuclear power plants’ contribution to global warming and greenhouse gases are very little according to Time of Change.The radioactive waste is either disposed deep underground in deep-geological disposal or near the surface in near-surface disposal according to World Nuclear Association (WNA). There are three types of nuclear waste Low Level Waste (LLW), Intermediate Level Waste (ILW), and High Level Waste (HLW),(WNA). LLW and short lived ILW can be disposed by near-surface disposal, while long lived ILW and HLW are disposed by deep-geological disposal. Deep geological disposal is where nuclear waste is buried deep underground, while near-surface disposal can be in an underground disposal facility like in a cavern, or on ground level facility (WNA).One of the major disadvantages to nuclear energy is the radioactive nuclear waste which can be dangerous for up to 10,000 years according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and this is why it has to be stored.Benefits Nuclear energy is fairly clean and doesn’t cause much air pollution or global warming according to Time of Change. Nuclear power plants are efficient at making large amounts of energy with not much fuel, and is not as hazardous or hard to manage when compared to other industrial waste, most of the waste has to be diluted or contained(WNA).Storage In the U.S. the only deep-geological disposal facility is the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It is also the only place in the U.S. that stores transuranic waste (TRU). TRU waste is long lived, and it is kept by deep-geological disposal. The waste is kept in salt beds, and it is in this way because the salt beds are geologically stable, it is free of flowing water, is easy to mine, and is impermeable, it also seals fractures and openings, (DOE). Before storing used fuel, it has to be kept under water for at least five years (WNA). The disposal and storage cost is added to the consumer’s bill (WNA).