Nuclear and Hazardous Waste Management





Nuclear and Hazardous Waste Management

Executive Summary

Nuclear and hazardous waste management involve considering many things that can help human beings to stay safe from wastes that can otherwise result in deaths and other devastating effects. The radioactive rays from nuclear and other hazardous materials have made people, plants, and animals live in difficult conditions, especially when leakages occur during transportation. Nuclear is also one of the good ways to generate power; however, people must be cautious when dealing with incidences that involve exposing oneself to nuclear wastes such as scavenging, poor transportation arrangements, and accidents. Developing a nuclear power station is costly, and can have devastating effects on plants and animals. Some of the dangers of disposing nuclear wastes are explained in this essay, and they include long half-life and storage. It also offers an explanation on topics that relate to effects of hazardous wastes on people, animals, and the environment in general.


Radioactive waste management or nuclear waste disposal has been an essential part of nuclear power production. Nuclear powers stations and other companies have to follow the strict guidelines in ensuring that all of the nuclear wastes are disposed of carefully and safely to ensure that any damages that people, plants, and animals suffer are as minimal as possible. Luckily, nuclear power plants leave subtle amounts of radioactive material as compared to wastes that other energy generating methods emit. For example, burning gas or coal is expensive, and must just be conducted in the absolute right way. The analysis of nuclear and hazardous waste management methods helps readers to understand the effects of radioactive wastes on people’s health and the environment. It also looks into the safe disposal, management, and protection from radioactive rays.

Nuclear is one of the great ways to generate power that heats and lights people’s homes. It has the capability to generate electricity without greenhouse gas emission. However, it has led to some horrible disasters that have made people understand that nuclear energy, if not treated carefully can pose a significant threat to the way people live (Smert & Vogel 214). Storing nuclear also calls for observation of health and safety measures. Fortunately, recent observations suggest that operating nuclear power plants is now safer because more strict measures have been put in place to improve safety. However, these plants still emit tons of dangerous waste materials that are hard to shift every year.

Human beings have played a significant role in suffocating the world with Carbon Dioxide. Unfortunately, nuclear power plants that play no role in emitting such gasses continue to survive the threat from people who mire them in obstruction and objection, and despite every continent’s renewed interest in nuclear energy, it is unlikely that the United States of America will build such plants in the near future.

Dangers of waste disposal of nuclear

When people dispose of nuclear waste, they put it into steel storage containers that are then placed inside concrete cylinders. The protective steel and concrete layers prevent the rays from getting outside and causing damage to people, plants, animals, and the atmosphere (Maneseer 38). It is one of the easiest ways to deal with hazardous wastes and does not need special storage or transportation. However, some risks are associated with the disposal of nuclear wastes.

Long half life

Most of the nuclear fission products have long half-lives, which means that they continue being radioactive and consequently dangerous for many years in the future. Meaning that any interference with the cylinders which contain the nuclear waste can cause damages for thousands of years to come because the material inside is extremely volatile for many years. In some cases, hazardous waste material from nuclear plants are never stored in special places and such, are easily accessible, and in case some had the ill motives to cause damages to these contents, then they have the privilege to get some of it from the reservoir and use.


Storage is one of the problems that firms and other parties face. It is something that has been discussed for long it terms of which ones are likely to be implemented for future use, but very few have been considered as effective because storing hazardous nuclear waste, which will remain radioactive for many years to come, is hazardous. Some of the suggestions for which the people voted included disposal into ice sheets, ejecting the storage facility into space, ocean disposal, and above-the-ground storage.  Of all these, only ocean disposal was adopted by thirteen countries and became the preferred method to dump nuclear waste into the ocean. However, this method of disposal is no longer in use.

Effects on the environment and nature

The most worrying problem that humanity has with the disposal of radioactive waste is the effects of these damaging materials on plant and animal life. Leaks can sometimes occur even though the contents are usually in large tanks with layers of steel and concrete. Nuclear wastes have bad effects on plant and animal life such as causing growths associated with cancer, resulting in genetic problems for many generations of plants and animals. Failing to dispose of nuclear waste safely is most likely to have huge impact on the environment that can harm many animals and plants for thousands of years.

Effects of disposing of nuclear waste

Nuclear waste does not need to have huge negative impacts on plants and animals, especially with the adoption of proper and safe methods of disposal because the waste can stay in its storage facility for many years until it becomes dormant (Gilliam 205). Unfortunately, if the nuclear waste is not disposed of in a safe way, or in case the disposal method is not commendable, there is likely to be a huge negative influence on plants and animals.


Most of the time, people put emphasis on the need for adoption of safe methods of nuclear waste; however, accidents still occur. There have been situations in which radioactive wastes have not been disposed of safely. This has led to a number of damaging situations, including such wastes being swept by dust into areas of a settlement with animals and humans consequently contaminating water bodies such as ponds, sea, or even rivers (Johnson & Rahman 122). Usually, accidents can have damaging effects on animals that live in such areas or those that rely on water to survive. Drinking such water is also hazardous to residents who are likely to be at the epicenter if the accident occurs.  If nuclear wastes find their way into the ground, it can penetrate into reservoirs and other water storage facilities and from there, finds its way into people’s homes, those who drink high radioactive water without their knowledge. Accidents of similar nature have always occurred in different parts of the world, with bad accidents occasionally happening but resulting in huge effects on a number of people.


In less developed countries, people scavenge in areas with abandoned radioactive nuclear waste, and in other places, people have markets for such wastes, which exposes them to high radiation levels in the name of making money. Radio wastes are highly explosive and cause a number of damaging effects. In a number of cases, people who take part in such activities end up in hospitals, and they sometimes die from complications that are related to problems caused by nuclear wastes. The damage spreads fast because those who have exposed themselves to radioactive material are likely to pass on the rays to other people who do not go scavenging.


Transporting nuclear material from plants can sometimes result in damages. For example, if a company decides to use poor shipping casks to transport radioactive material, a small knock is likely to cause the contents being shipped to leak to a full radius, and this can have devastating effects on plants and animals. Accidents will sometimes occur, despite the measures put in place to avoid such incidences, and they will have damaging effects on plants and animals in the vicinity.

Health effects

The biggest fear is the bad effect that radioactive rays are likely to cause on the human body that has been exposed to radiation. Long-term effects of nuclear wastes lead to cancer (Bitchaeva 107). It is interesting for people to note that they are exposed to radiation naturally and that their lives come from underground below them. Radiation can lead to changes in the human DNA, which can ensure cell repair.


In case such an accident occurs, the hidden costs of cleaning the mess and repairing the damaged equipment can be high. The effort to make plants and animals safe from such radioactive waste can also be costly. Usually, there is not easy part of work that involves cleaning nuclear waste; instead, it can make the people involved work for years to ensure that safety returns to affected area (Blackman 92). Severe accidents may take many years to return things to normalcy.


There has been the rising need to keep humanity safe from nuclear and hazardous wastes. The management of such radioactive materials has played a significant role in ensuring that plants and animals live in a safe environment. Even though such materials can be hazardous to the environment when accidents occur, radioactive rays still play an essential role, as they generate useful energy. Learning about the effects of disposal of nuclear waste helps the readers to understand why such materials have remained as a threat to the entire humanity, and as consequent, it reminds people of the importance of taking good care of the environment by avoiding any activities that can expose one to nuclear wastes such as scavenging. Poor transportation arrangements can also play a role in spilling such wastes to the environment. The health effects that results from poor management of nuclear and hazardous materials include exposing one to cancerous infections that are extremely dangerous because they can cause deaths. The materials from damages caused by nuclear wastes are extremely volatile, and many countries should follow the example of the US to stop the production of nuclear energy.


Works Cited

Bitchaeva,  Ronneau. Biotechnology for Waste Management and Site Restoration: Technological, Education, Business, Political Aspects. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media, 2007. Print.

Blackman, William. Basic Hazardous Waste Management.  New York, NY: CRC Press, 2016. Print.

Gilliam, Michael. Stabilization and Solidification of Hazardous, Radioactive, and Mixed Wastes. England: ASTM International, 2002. Print.

Johnson, Simon & Rahman, Hafiz. European Directory of Hazardous Waste Management. New York: Springer Science & Business Media, 2012. Print.

Maneseer, Akthem. Concrete and grout in nuclear and hazardous waste disposal. Los Angeles: American Concrete Institute, 2005. Print.

Smert, Bath & Vogel, Timothy. Hazardous Waste Management. New York: EOLSS Publications, 2009. Print.

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