Nuclear Waste

"You can't leave nuclear waste lying around indefinitely," geophysicist Sir Edward Bullard told a crowd of 250 last night at the Science Center in a lecture on "Disposal of Nuclear Waste at Sea."

"No one's really serious about waste disposal at sea," Bullard, a professor at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, said. Bullard said he prefers disposal of nuclear wastes on land, because of the greater control and visibility there.

Bullard stressed the importance of developing alternate forms of nuclear waste disposal, because of the inadequacy of the present method of placing tubes filled with radioactive nuclear waste in large pools of water.

"Soon all the states are going to say they won't have the stuff," Bullard said, which would make it impossible to get rid of waste in the United States.

Reprocessing much of the nuclear waste for use in reactors would be more suitable than disposing of all the wastes, at sea or elsewhere, Bullard said. But because of the high level of poison in nuclear materials, "I can't find anyone who wants a reprocessing plant near them," Bullard said.


Bullard, who was knighted in 1953, pioneered study of the earth's magnetism and heat flow through the sea bed.