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Notes on nuclear waste and radiation exposure

Howard Cork Hayden

Howard Cork Hayden, Emeritus Physics Professor, University of Connecticut: The most common question people bring up with respect to nuclear power is, “What do you do with the waste?” The answer requires discussion of three broad topics: the nature of uranium fission, radiation shielding, and the relationship between radiation and health. The first section is about the nature and the quantity of the high-level radioactive byproducts of uranium fission. This so-called “waste” from a nuclear reactor is different from the waste from burning coal. The second section discusses the nature of shielding and its effectiveness. The third section presents a simple mathematical proof that there is nothing inherently additive about radiation exposure.