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Geological Repositories: Mitigate Environmental Pollution (Essay Sample)


The best solution for the disposal of nuclear waste is a deep geological repository.
Make sure the statement you are supporting is not a simple fact (like 'nuclear power plants contributes to 20% of the US electricity'), but instead a personal analysis of a nuclear issue supported by facts (research/reading). It is imperative that you cite your source(s) of information you use to support your argument. I will emphasize the necessity that this is your own written work. If you have any questions regarding what constitutes plagiarism, I am happy to answer. Sometimes plagiarism is not intentional. Make sure you reference your source of information and use quotations when using the words of others.


For a long time, countries around the world have been trying to come up with ways that can help mitigate environmental pollution, especially the emission of greenhouse gases by conventional methods of energy generation. For instance, the most typical technique of producing electrical power is the use of coal and fossils, which leads to a substantial release of carbon and other environmentally destructive elements and compounds. In this regard, developed countries have resolved towards the use of nuclear energy. Despite the fact that this method promises a significant reduction in environmental pollution, the safe disposal of its wastes has not yet been perfected. Perhaps, one of the most prominent techniques being employed is the use of deep geological repositories. In particular, these are nuclear waste depositories excavated deep within an unchanging geologic environment, conventionally below 300 meters. Because of the security as well as sustainability offered by these facilities, it is undoubted that they are the best means of discarding the nuclear waste.
To begin with, it is undoubted that those countries that use nuclear technology for nuclear medicine (for treatment and diagnosis), nuclear, and electricity generation release radioactive waste inevitably. It should be noted that the waste produced by the process of electricity production accounts for only 1% of the total amount. However, the degree of radioactivity associated with this seemingly insignificant portion is the highest. Consequently, there is an incontestable need for countries that use nuclear substances in whatever form to find safe and sustainable ways of storing the associated wastes. In many OECD nations, low- and intermediate-level as well as short-lived nuclear wastes are discarded using surface and underground repositories. However, these storage facilities are usually safe for the environment and people during the time that the wastes are radioactive. In this regard, there is a need to use temporal storage means with strict safety conditions to hold long-lived and high-level wastes for several decades. Afterwards, a permanent facility for them can be found. Apparently, the use of repositories has not yet provided a lasting solution for the storage of radioactive wastes.
Despite the fact that the use of ecological depositories has not yet provided a permanent solution for storing radioactive waste, many specialist scientists prefer this technique. Specifically, they make use of deep, stable geological settings such as clay, salt, tuff, and granite formations that have remained unchanged for several years. Particularly, the main aim of utilizing this technique is to ensure that stored waste remains undisturbed for the several years required to decline their radioactivity levels to a point where they do not pose any danger to the future generations. It is noteworthy that the concept of utilizing deep geological disposal was incepted more than 40 years ago, and the technology required to build, operate, and maintain such facilities is now mature enough for deployment. Furthermore, the natural security provided by a selected geological formation is usually enhanced by other precautionary measures. Typically, wastes are frozen in an insoluble form such as glass blocks and then held inside containers made of corrosion-resistant material. Based on the arguments raised above, it is clear that for all their controversy, deep ecological repositories are sustainable and safe to an appreciable extent.
Once radioactive waste is immobilized and converted into blocks, spaces between these packages are usually filled with pure, impermeable clay. What is more, waste depositories may be strengthened further by concrete structures. These barriers are successive and mutually reinforcing, and they ensure that wastes are contained for thousands of years. It is worth to note that repositories are usually configured so that no radioactivity can reach the Earth’s surface. Additionally, environmental impact evaluations spanning 10,000 years or more typically analyze worst-case scenarios, including climatic and geological changes as well as accidental human intrusion. These assessments fittingly observe that even under those conditions, the effect on people and the environment would be less than the current limits. To put the above sentiments into perspective, it should be pointed out that the safety of geological repositories has been demonstrated. For instance, a natural reactor moderated by water currents operated for several years at a uranium ore deposit located in Gabon. A depository was utilized, and the radioactive wastes released from nuclear fission reactions moved from their initial location. Based on the evidence provided above, it is apparent that the use of deep ecological depositories provides a secure means of storing radioactive waste.
All in all, it has been established that ecological disposal of radioactive waste is a contentious concept, but its sustainability and safety have been demonstrated albeit political and public concerns. Given the fact that nuclear waste poses a great danger to the current and future generations, it is incontestable that there is a need to come up with a technique that would provide a long-term solution to the issue at hand. In this regard, geological depositories have been shown to be able to hold radioactive waste for thousands of years until the associated danger is substantially eliminated. What is more, this technique does not provide room ...
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