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Name: Unknown
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Date: Around 1993


Question:
I have heard that there is potential for the reduction of high level nuclear through a process known as ionization. What is involved in this theory and how close are we to realizing this technology ?



Replies:
I do not think "ionization" is what they do, but yes, there are methods of reducing long-lived radioactive isotopes to shorter-lived ones. Ionization refers to adding or removing electrons from atoms. The idea with nuclei is kind of similar - to add neutrons by bombarding the waste with neutrons from a reactor, for example. Then induce a series of rapid reactions that cause these things to decay to stable nuclei within at most a couple of hundred years, rather then the hundreds of thousands some of them require originally. The main problem is chemical separation of the materials.

A. Smith



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