China opens its first plant that turns radioactive waste into glass

WION Web Team
Beijing, China Published: Sep 13, 2021, 08:59 PM(IST)

The plant is situated at Guangyuan in southwest China's Sichuan province Photograph:( Others )

Story highlights

Although some elements such as uranium can be recycled in a reprocessing facility, the remaining spent fuel needs to be disposed of safely

Expanding its effort to cut carbon emissions, China opened its first plant that will turn radioactive waste into glass.

The disposal technique was carried out on Saturday at a facility in Guangyuan in southwest Sichuan province, according to state news outlet The Global Times which cited the country’s State Administration of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defence.

Although some elements such as uranium can be recycled in a reprocessing facility, the remaining spent fuel needs to be disposed of safely.

Nuclear power is often viewed as a green source of energy due to nuclear power plants not producing greenhouse gasses.

However, a major environmental concern related to nuclear power failure to dispose of radioactive wastes such as uranium mill tailings, reactor fuel, and other radioactive wastes.

However, they do produce nuclear waste, because although spent nuclear fuel is no longer useful for generating power, it does still release heat and radiation for many, many years afterwards.

China’s disposal method was carried out by mixing liquid nuclear waste with glass materials at temperatures of around 1,100 degrees Celsius.

Once cooled, the nuclear waste is then stored within the glass, which helps prevent dangerous radioactivity from leaking out.

China is not the first country in the world to perform this technique, which is referred to as nuclear waste vitrification.

A number of countries, including the US, France, Germany and others have disposed of nuclear waste in this way.

(With inputs from agencies)

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