Talk:A leak at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing facility on Cumbrian coast, England

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That should be nuclear WASTE leak, not nuclear FUEL leak. I don't know how to edit the headline.

Damned good point! Thanks for pointing that out. You can move an article by clicking the 'move' tab at the top. But if you do that to an article that's been listed on Latest news on the Main Page, be sure to go to the Article Workspace, then down to Today's news, and use the link to edit the name of the article there too. Dan100 (Talk) 15:41, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

Half a swimming pool?[edit]

Someone needs to check their maths! A cubic metre of water weighs one tonne, so two tonnes are needed to fill a pool 2 metres deep and one square metre in surface area. So a pool measuring 5 x 2 metres would contain 20 tons of water, and an Olympic Pool is much more than 5 x 2 metres.

Good point. You can edit any page by clicking the 'edit' tab at the top. Dan100 (Talk) 12:55, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
The article speaks of nuclear fuel dissolved in nitric acid, and says the mixture contains about 20 tonnes of uranium and plutonium, which I take to mean excluding the acid itself. Deadlock 16:34, 10 May 2005 (UTC)

Old News?[edit]

I was surprised to not find this story on the BBC News web site, but then found it had been reported back on April 23rd. Is this just the Guardian being slow? Deadlock 16:38, 10 May 2005 (UTC)

I think what the Guardian (and possibly the Times) did was get their hands on a government briefing memo, which had a lot more info about the leak. Dan100 (Talk) 16:40, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
Fair enough. The BBC report is rather sparse; perhaps they will do a follow up now. Deadlock 16:46, 10 May 2005 (UTC)

Plutonium "waste"?[edit]

Reportedly, the leaked material consists of U (mainly -238) and a considerable amount of Pu-239. This raises several questions. 1) Was the plutonium intended to be scrapped or was it to be recovered and used for fuel or weapons? In the latter case, the term "waste" would be inappropriate. 2) Is there risk of a substantial quantity of Pu-239 being converted to Pu-240 during what will be its prolonged contact with the uranium? 3) Although the stainless steel of the containment vessel will not react with the nitric acid, can the plutonium gradually weaken the container and eventually cause a leak? 4) I could not find any mention of the Sellafield accident in a Web-based search of US news media. Is this an oddity worth mentioning in the Sellafield article in Wikipedia? Mpulier 02:40, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Very good point. Actually the leak consisted of spent nuclear fuel in process of being made into new fuel (MOX), so it's neither fuel nor waste. I don't think that any such incident (no damage or danger to people, or environment, just a problem in the process) is worth mentioning in an encyclopedia article since it's clear without mentioning that all industrial processes face problems from time to time. --Tungsten 1 July 2005 12:26 (UTC)

Typo[edit]

"wether" => "whether" Van der Hoorn (talk) 12:40, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Done --Skenmy talk 20:51, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Possible consequences[edit]

If you dissolve a metal in Nitric acid, This typically leads to a solution of the metal Nitrate. In this instance, presumably Uranyl Nitrate and Plutonium nitrate. Possibly with other materials such as radioactive caesium in the mix. Fortunately Uranium is pretty electro-positive so accidentally dropping, say, an aluminium ladder in the mix wouldn't precipitate uranium or plutonium metal (which would otherwise lead to regions of fission). Can anyone comment on whether many tons of uranyl Nitrate salt solution may concentrate by evaporation to a point where a homogenous reactor is formed, leading to a worse than chernobyl-style melt-down and boil-off of radionucleides?