100 Thousand Years and Counting: A Graphic Report on Nuclear Waste

Gordon Edwards

Two talented québécois artists, Miguel Tremblay and Julien Castanié, were hired to create a graphic report on the high-level radioactive waste question in Canada for publication in the French Language magazine “Nouveau Projet” in 2014.

Now this informative and entertaining graphic report has been made available in English translation – translation by Tom Robinson.

In the graphic report linked below the description of “reprocessing” irradiated nuclear fuel refers to dissolving the solid fuel in nitric acid, thereby creating a corrosive and fiercely radioactive liquid. That is indeed how most reprocessing in other countries has so far taken place. However, the only current plan for reprocessing Canadian nuclear fuel involves dissolving the solid fuel in high-temperature molten salt rather than nitric acid – a process (called “pyroprocessing”) that also results in a corrosive and fiercely radioactive liquid. Whatever technique is used for reprocessing, the radioactive wastes are reduced only marginally (less than one percent) and are in a much less stable form that the solid irradiated fuel elements. Meanwhile, the fear is that the extracted plutonium is more accessible to others, including criminal, terrorists and militaristic regimes. It only took 6.2 kilograms of plutonium to destroy the city of Nagasaki on August 9 1945.

Join discussion: leave a comment