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Harrison R.M. Nuclear Power and the Environment

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Harrison R.M. Nuclear Power and the Environment
Royal Society of Chemistry, 2011. 247 p. — ISBN: 978-1-84973-194-2, ISSN: 1350-7583 — (Issues in Environmental Science and Technology. Vol. 32).
The environmental implications of generating electric power from nuclear fission have been a matter of concern since the construction of the earliest nuclear reactors and power stations in the 1950s. After two or more decades of construction of nuclear power stations, this ceased in many countries, largely as a result of concerns for the environment and human health. However, the pressing need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is leading many countries to plan extensive new programmes of construction of nuclear power stations which serves to re-emphasise concerns over environmental impacts. Volume 32 of the Issues in Environmental Science and Technology series is concerned with reviewing the political and social context for nuclear power generation, the nuclear fuel cycles and their implications for the environment. Known issues of nuclear accidents, the legacy of contaminated land and low level waste, and the decommissioning of nuclear sites are considered together with a more forward look at the deep geological disposal of high level waste and the pathways of radioactive substances in the environment and their implications for human and non-human organisms. This topical work will be of interest to scientists and policy makers working within this field or related areas as well as advanced students.
Contents
Nuclear Power Generation – Past, Present and Future
John Walls
Introduction
Origins of Nuclear Power: The Nuclear Weapons Programme
Expansion of Nuclear Power
A Period of Decline
A Nuclear Renaissance? Possibilities and Challenges
Uranium: A Sustainable Energy Source?
Nuclear Power Economics
Shortages in Skilled Labour and Materials
Nuclear Safety
Nuclear Waste Disposal and Decommissioning Nuclear Plants
Proliferation Risks
Conclusions
References
Nuclear Fuel Cycles: Interfaces with the Environment
Clint A. Sharrad, Laurence M. Harwood and Francis R. Livens
Nuclear Fission as an Energy Resource
Nuclear Fuel
Uranium Mining
Uranium Fuel Production and Use
Modern Civil Reactor Fuels
Plutonium
Irradiation of Nuclear Fuel
Alternative Fuels
Uranium/Plutonium Fast Reactors
Highly Enriched Uranium
Thorium
Nuclear Fuel Recycling
Separation of Uranium and Plutonium
Other Reasons to Reprocess
Historical Reprocessing Technologies
Precipitation Processes
Purex
Wastes from Fuel Reprocessing
Other Solvent Extraction Processes
Waste Management Options
The UK Waste Inventory
Impact of the ‘‘Global Nuclear Renaissance’’
Growth in Demand
Implications for the Fuel Cycle
Conclusions
Acknowledgements
References
Nuclear Accidents
J. T. Smith
Introduction
The 1957 Windscale Fire
Events Leading to the Accident
Environmental Contamination
Radiation Exposures and Health Impacts
Social and Psychological Consequences
The Kyshtym Explosion
Events Leading to the Accident
Environmental Contamination
Radiation Exposures and their Environmental and Health Impacts
Social and Psychological Impacts
Three-Mile Island
Events Leading to the Accident
Environmental Contamination
Radiation Exposures and their Environmental and Health Impacts
Social and Psychological Impacts
The Chernobyl Accident
Events Leading to the Accident
Environmental Contamination
Radiation Exposures and their Environmental and Health Impacts
Social and Psychological Impacts
Conclusions
References
Management of Land Contaminated by the Nuclear Legacy
Richard Kimber, Francis R. Livens and Jonathan R. Lloyd
Introduction
Contamination at Worldwide Nuclear Facilities
United Kingdom
Sellafield
Dounreay
Russia
Mayak
United States of America
Rocky Flats
Oak Ridge
Hanford
Depleted Uranium
Remediation
Bioremediation
Chemical Redox Reactions
Permeable Reactive Barrier
Sediment Washing
Electrokinetic Remediation
Case Studies
Hanford Case Study
Rifle Case Study
Oak Ridge Case Study
Conclusions
Acknowledgements
References
Decommissioning of Nuclear Sites
Anthony W. Banford and Richard B. Jarvis
Introduction
The Goal of Decommissioning
Stages of Decommissioning
The Scale of the Decommissioning Challenge in the UK
Decommissioning Techniques
Selection of a Decommissioning Approach
Environmental Impacts of Decommissioning
Conclusions
References
Geodisposal of Higher Activity Wastes
Katherine Morris, Gareth T. W. Law and Nick D. Bryan
Introduction
Radioactive Wastes
High Level Wastes
Intermediate Level Waste
Low Level Waste
Other Potential Wastes
Geological Disposal
The GDF Concept
International Experience
Suitable Host Geologies
Engineering Approaches
Implementing the UK GDF
Historical Perspective, Public Consultation, Policy Decisions, and Responsibilities
Guiding Principles and Timeline
Site Selection
Inventory of Geodisposal Wastes
Conditioning and Packaging of Geodisposal Wastes
Interim Storage of Geodisposal Wastes
Reference Scenarios
Environmental Chemistry Research Challenges in Geological Disposal
Acknowledgements
References
Pathways of Radioactive Substances in the Environment
Joanna C. Renshaw, Stephanie Handley-Sidhu and Diana R. Brookshaw
Introduction
Sources of Radionuclides in the Environment
Nuclear Weapons
Nuclear Fuel Cycle
Depleted Uranium
Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material
Accidental Release
Environmental Chemistry of Key Contaminants
Processes and Factors affecting Radionuclide Transport in the Atmosphere
Processes and Factors affecting Radionuclide Transport in Aquatic Systems
Sorption to Mineral Surfaces
Redox Reactions
Complexation Reactions
(Co-)Precipitation
Colloidal Transport
Conclusions
References
Radiation Protection of the Environment: A Summary of Current
Approaches for Assessment of Radionuclides in Terrestrial Ecosystems

B. J. Howard and N. A. Beresford
Introduction
Radiation Protection of Wildlife
Environmental Transfer in Terrestrial Ecosystems
Atmospheric Deposition
Radionuclides in Soil
Radionuclide Transfer to Plants
Quantification of Transfer to Plants
Radionuclide Transfer to Terrestrial Animals
Gastrointestinal Absorption
Radionuclide Distribution in Animals
Quantification of Transfer to Animals
Dosimetry for Wildlife
Dose Rate Calculation
Effects on Wildlife
Environmental Radiological Protection
Benchmarks for Wildlife Assessment
The ICRP’s Derived Consideration Reference Levels
Alternative Approaches used in Radiological
Risk Assessments
Acknowledgements
References
Radiological Protection of Workers and the General Public
Jan Pentreath
Introduction
The Health Effects of Radiation
The Scientific Framework for the Protection of Humans
The ICRP’s System of Protection
Justification
Optimisation
Dose Limits
Dose Constraints and Reference Levels
Radiation Protection in Practice in the UK
Radiation Exposure of Workers
Radiation Exposure of the Public
Experience Gained from Nuclear Accidents Outside the UK
Conclusions
References
Subject Index
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