Guest Article: Making Nuclear Waste Less Harmful
A Process To Render Nuclear Weapons & Waste Less Harmful
By Dennis F. Nester,
special for NuclearNo.com,
Originally published 20 June 2003
plutonium from warheads into MOX nuclear reactor fuel only
perpetuates the security and environmental problems of bomb
- There is a better way which will completely transmute plutonium and other high level nuclear waste known as the Roy Process
It was the TMI partial meltdown that moved Dr. Roy to spend the summer school break proving calculations to see if it was possible to transmute high level nuclear waste cost effectively. He found it could be done with existing infrastructure, commercially available machinery and current supporting technology.
Estimated cost to build a pilot facility was $80 million dollars. A newspaper editor persuaded Dr. Roy to release his Roy Process to the press which was published in November of 1979. (see article on web site below).
The Roy Process Brief Description
from the web site: http://members.cox.net/theroyprocess
Is there a safe process to get rid of nuclear waste? Maybe! One possible solution is a process invented by Dr. Radha R. Roy, former professor of Physics at Arizona State University, and designer and former director of the nuclear physics research facilities at the University of Brussels in Belgium and at Pennsylvania State University.
Dr. Roy is an internationally known nuclear physicist, consultant, and the author of over 60 articles and several books. He is also a contributing author of many invited articles in a prestigious encyclopedia. He is cited in American Men and Women of Science, Who`s Who in America, Who`s Who in the World and the International Biographical Centre, England. He has spent 52 years in European and American universities researching and writing recognized books on nuclear physics. He has supervised many doctoral students.
Roy invented a process for transmuting radioactive nuclear isotopes to harmless, stable isotopes. This process is viable not only for nuclear waste from reactors but also for low-level radioactive waste products.
In 1979, Roy announced his transmutation process and received international attention. The Roy process does not require storage of radioactive materials. No new equipment is required. In fact, all of the equipment and the chemical separation processes needed are well known.
What`s the basis for the Roy Process? If you examine radioactive elements such as strontium 90, cesium 137 and plutonium 239, you will see that they all have too many neutrons. To put it very simply, the Roy process transmutes these unstable isotopes to stable ones by knocking out the extra neutrons. When a neutron is removed, the resulting isotope has a considerably shorter half-life which then decays to a stable form in a reasonable amount of time.
How do we knock out neutrons? By bombarding them with photons (produced as x-rays) in a high- powered electron linear accelerator. Before this process, the isotopes must be separated by a well-known chemical process.
It is feasible that portable units could be built and transported to hazardous sites for on-site transmutation of nuclear wastes and radioactive wastes.
To give an example, cesium 137 with a half-life of 30.17 years is transformed into cesium 136 with a half-life of 13 days. Plutonium 239 with a half-life of 24,300 years is transformed into plutonium 237 with a half-life of 45.6 days. Subsequent radioactive elements which will be produced from the decay of plutonium 237 can be treated in the same way as above until the stable element is formed.
The Roy Process could be developed in three distinct phases, according to Roy. Phase I consists of a theoretical feasibility study of the process to obtain needed parameters for the construction of a prototype machine. Phase II will involve the construction of a prototype machine and supporting facilities for demonstrating the process. Phase Ill will consist of the construction of large scale commercial plants based on the data obtained from Phase II.
Cost estimates for Phase I and II are in the neighborhood of $10 million. For Phase Ill, Roy estimates a cost of $70 million. Says Roy, `It will be interesting to do a cost analysis of eliminating nuclear waste by using my process and by burying it for 240,000 years - ten half-lives of plutonium - under strict scientific control. There is also an ethical question: can we really burden the thousands of generations yet to come with problems which we have created? There is no God among human beings who can guarantee how the geological structure of waste burial regions will change even after ten thousand years, not to mention 240,000 years."
If you are interested in finding out more about this process, please contact Dennis Nester, Roy`s agent, whose address is listed below.
A final note
To those who say that a process for transforming nuclear wastes is an invitation to keep making them, I ask, when we find a cure for cancer, shall we say it`s okay to continue to eat, drink and breathe carcinogens?
"There is no way one can change nuclear structure other than by nuclear reaction. Burial of nuclear waste is not a solution." Radha Roy, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus
"Do not be surprised if you learn that the nuclear industry makes billions of dollars by being a part of government`s policy of burial of nuclear wastes. It is not in their financial interest to try any other process. They are not idealists. Radha R. Roy, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus
The below includes the Patent application claim.....describing other uses for the Roy Process transmutation method
AUTHOR CONTACT DETAILS
Dennis F. Nester 4510 E.
Willow Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85032 USA (602)