Trashing the “Element from Hell”; July 2012; Scientific American Magazine; by David Biello; 1 Page(s)
The vast majority of the radioactive plutonium on the planet is man-made—roughly 500 metric tons, or enough to make 100,000 nuclear weapons. Much of it is the legacy of the nuclear arms race between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. More and more, it is also the legacy of nuclear power.
Now a team of scientists is arguing that burying plutonium is the only reasonable solution to this problematic stockpile. In a comment published in Nature in May, a group of physicists and environmental scientists recommends that the U.K. should lead the way by studying how to immobilize the “element from hell” in ceramic pucks that can be buried in deep caverns or boreholes. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.)