By Rodney Stark, Charles Y. Glock
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Extra resources for American Piety: The Nature of Religious Commitment (Patterns of Religious Commitment)
Special care must be taken when this involves materials capable of a nuclear explosion. To prevent the latter, criticality analyses must be done to provide guidelines to prevent criticality events. When such guidelines are not followed, accidents such as that at the Tokaimura plant in 1999 (IAEA 1999a) can occur, causing loss of life and severe radiation exposure. HLW, by its very nature, poses extreme radiation hazards and must be handled and stored with great attention to prevent worker exposure and accidents that could lead to both worker and public exposure.
Liquid HLW accumulated from defense program and SNF reprocessing are stored in the special tanks at PA “Mayak,” SCC, and MCC. In the United States, HLW has accumulated at the Hanford Reservation and the Savannah River Site (SRS), which have the greatest volumes of HLW, and at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), and a much smaller amount of vitrified HLW is at the West Valley Demonstration Project. In total, in 1997 the United States had approximately 380,000 cubic meters of HLW (DOE 1997a).
In 2001, the amount of SNF from Russian nuclear power plants was estimated to be about 14,000 MTHM 11 (with radioactivity of over 5 billion curies), and to be growing at a rate of approximately 850 MTHM per year. The Soviet Union also constructed 38 power reactors in Eastern Europe, Ukraine, Finland, and Lithuania. The Russian Federation has stated its intention to fulfill the original Soviet program to take back the SNF from those reactors, and is currently storing and reprocessing SNF from at least some of them for a fee.