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By midoh
#3421
Stick millions of tonnnes of rubbish in an excavated spherical cave deep underground.Bore a shaft down to the centre of this compacted rubbish.Place a nuclear bomb there.Seal up the shaft.Detonate the nuclear device in the noremal manner(like the underground tests in Nevada.Result?Millions of tonnes of rubbish vapourised instantly + 1 nuke less to worry about!

Reward: Lots less rubbish & less nukes!
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By Steve
#3483
Logic tells me that if the excavated spherical cave is safe enough to detonate a nuclear bomb, it would also be safe enough for a trash dump. No need to make the trash radioactive, though. I would also assume that collecting the rubbish from a huge area and bringing it to a centralized dump that first has to be excavated would simply be too expensive. :-?
By midoh
#3547
The spherical cave would be used more than once.The rubbish would be completely vaporised after each detonation.True,there would be some residual radiation,but this would be deep underground and would be of the same magnitude as encountered in current underground nuclear tests.I would imagine that as the underground cavern would be used over and over again that the costs would start to come down.Besides radiation is constantly seeping from granite rocks from the decay of natural uranium.So radiation from deep underground is nothing new!
There are of course other alternatives,such as:

Landfill: -not in my backyard!

Incineration-problem:no-one wants the by products of incomplete combustion (Dioxin) ending up in the food chain.

Recycling:okay at a local small-scale community level but how do you organise it for large cities such as New York(~14Million)or Tokyo & London?
Of course there is also the dumping at sea option,but I wouldn't like to eat salmon,prawns,mussels,or tuna that grazed close to barge-loads of rubbish.
Hope this gives you food for thought! :-P -midoh
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By Steve
#3549
Ok, but from what I learned in school, millions of tons of rubbish - like any other mass - can't just disappear (forget Einstein here ;-) ). Like when you burn something, it doesn't disappear either but simply turns into something different, including lots of carbon dioxyde. Not sure what exactly happens when you denotate a nuclear bomb (lots of heat though, so things WILL vaporize, which is essentially burning), but it's not like the trash will just get beamed away.

Also, from what I know about underground nuclear tests, the same site is NEVER used twice, because the main purpose of making it underground is not to expose humans to radiation. Opening the same site twice would obviously defeat this purpose. :-?
By midoh
#3550
It's true that a mass of any substance can,t be be made to dissappear without something else happening.Mass is simply transformed into energy(remember E=m*c^2?).
I'm sure that the mass of rubbish would be transformed into it's equivelent in energy terms i.e. a lot of heat.I take your point about the current practice of not opening up a shaft after a nuclear explosion.But ,wouldn't the new load of rubbish,absorb/attenuate this radiation-particularly if it was about a million tonnes worth? 8-o
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By Steve
#3551
midoh wrote:It's true that a mass of any substance can,t be be made to dissappear without something else happening.Mass is simply transformed into energy(remember E=m*c^2?).

Well obviously we know what happens when we transform a few kilos of Uranium into energy. But transforming the mass of several million tons of trash into energy would definitely be the last mistake we do here on earth. ;-) Seriously, I think this is a misconception, anything that's close to a nuclear reaction will get vaporized and burned, while the remainders (including the vapor) become radioactive. As indicated above, Einstein's E=m*c^2 simply doesn't apply.

midoh wrote:I'm sure that the mass of rubbish would be transformed into it's equivelent in energy terms i.e. a lot of heat.I take your point about the current practice of not opening up a shaft after a nuclear explosion.But ,wouldn't the new load of rubbish,absorb/attenuate this radiation-particularly if it was about a million tonnes worth? 8-o

At least I wouldn't volunteer to open the shaft and put it in. :-D
By midoh
#3552
:-? Ok. I know THERE IS a difference between chemical(eg. burning/vaourisation) processes and nuclear( releasing energy from the nucleus ) processes. A thousand apologies to all Physicists for blurring the distincion between the two!
If a million tonnes of rubbish gets turned into a much smaller pile of carbonised ash-would that still not be a good deal?
Also if we can use robots to build luxury automobiles,I'm sure they won't object to being drafted in for rubbish disposal duties!
As far as I know the United Automobile Robot's Union has yet to be formed! ;-7 ;-7 ;-7
By Rishi
#4689
Midoh's ideas are the most refreshingly larger than life, and non-cmbatively provacative.

Let us analyse this further.

Premise: We consider simple non-nuclear combustion or vapourization of trash using a nuclear chain reaction to generate the heat.

We have a problem here itself. If we have a combustion then a lot of heat of combustion will be liberated and a whole lot of oxygen will be needed. So, we will assume that we simply vapourize the load. In a closed system(The Cave) this means that the MASS remains exactly the same as what was put in, except that now you have gasified trash at a huge pressure that can be easily worked out if we know the size of the cave and the quantity of trash. God knows what havoc this would wreak when the cave is opened!

What happens when we burn trash in the open is that the pressure is always the ambient pressure and the mass of trash burnt is distributed as carbon-di-oxide and suspended particulate matter in the air so beloved of the news channels weather report sections.

It is a Catch22 scene. If it is a nuclear reaction every gram of mass (Whether it is Uranium or garbage) converted produces the same enormous amount of energy. If it is a pure chemical reaction, the mass cannot disappear, but appears as something else(Dioximes, Carbon-di-oxide, or ash). The good old mass balance, the bane of chem. engg. students.

Sorry, but if we generate waste we have to live with it one way or the other. Let us get on with ideas of local disposal, recycling, lesser consumerism, bio-degradation etc., etc.

Rishi
By alacrityfitzhue
#6048
Instead of nuking the trash, encapsulate the nonrecyclable trach AND the TONS of RADIOACTIVE WASTE already available in concrete and steel. Now bore holes into volcanic subduction zones and insert trash plugs. Only problem is that these zones are usually at the bottom of the ocean and you would have to move the hot stuff around.
By Janfitc
#6164
Adding any more toxins to the atmosphere isn't a good idea (burning the trash in an open location) and it's pretty safe to say that nuclear energy is losing it's fan base. If you willing to brave the radiation that would be distributed by vaporizing anything anywhere on this planet, then you might as well take the risk of shooting all of this stuff into space (cross your fingers for no more Challenger repeats). Hey, why not point it toward the sun - we can start littering the galaxy just like our streets down here on earth.
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