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Word Count: 550
As we enter the new millenium the disposal of nuclear waste is a very important factor we must consider for the future generations Nuclear energy is a very important and dominant as a source of heat energy It is used to produce steam to drive turbines that generate electricity Every nuclear plant has its own design but they each generate heat from nuclear reactors and use this heat to produce steam The main problem with nuclear energy however is the storage and disposal of the waste from the nuclear plants Nuclear energy is usually classified as either low level radioactive waste or high level radioactive waste Since the level of radioactivity in low level nuclear waste is minimal the waste includes materials that have come into contact with the radioactive nuclear reactors eg Cooling water pipes and the materials from radioactive medical procedures eg x-rays The decaying period is only 10 to 15 years for the radioactive isotopes The decaying period in high level nuclear waste is far higher it can remain radioactive for more than 100 000 years This waste includes the material from the core of the nuclear reactor itself or nuclear weapons eg uranium plutonium Low level waste is easier to dispose of whereas high level waste is much more dangerous because of its radioactivity Accounting for 95 of all waste produced by nuclear plants high level waste is not only extremely dangerous to handle but its very difficult to find proper storage sites which will not allow the waste to spread At the present time nuclear waste is put into steel-lined concrete canisters filled with water and stored near the nuclear plants However this method is only temporary and space for this type of storage is limited Many possibilities for waste disposal are being explored Foe example there would be an extended amount of storage space if the canisters were placed in the inner rock
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