The United States uses depleted uranium as a fundamental part of the national defense and power grid. Many people have shared their concerns about the impact these processes may have upon our environment, and the dangers that are posed to public health.
If your company is one of those who works with depleted uranium, it’s an essential prerequisite to hire the right uranium disposal company, thereby ensuring that all the necessary protocols for maximum safety and efficacy are followed through for the final disposal.
What is Uranium?
Over the past number of decades, uranium has taken an ever-more important role within the use of energy around the globe. It is now among the most important of energy minerals.
Mining for uranium is a relatively similar process to that of mining for other metals. It is primarily concentrated for use within nuclear power plants, though a small but still significant proportion of it is utilized for medical applications.
Uranium, which is a naturally-occurring element, is hosted in the Earth’s crust at a very lowly concentration of about 2.8 parts per million. Uranium mines are dotted around the globe in about 20 countries.
Uranium-235 (U235), during the uranium enrichment process, is extracted and then concentrated into fuel. This fuel is used as a power source for nuclear reactors. A byproduct of the process is depleted uranium, and the depleted substance offers a lesser concentration of U235 than its natural cousin.
The Storage of Depleted Uranium
Depleted uranium is stored as uranium hexafluoride initially not far from the enrichment facilities. Nevertheless, it may not be stored there permanently. The guidelines for disposal of low-level radioactive wastes must be followed for the long-term disposal of uranium. In which case, it must be converted to various chemically stable compounds of uranium oxide.
Consequences of Improper Disposal
The disposal of depleted uranium should be carried out by a company that determines to place a long-term safety concern for our communities at the top of its agenda. Hiring a company that does not share this ethos may mean that the product is stored in unsafe storage facilities. This could lead to leakage, in which case there will be great concern for our own health as well as our environment’s.
It’s vitally important to engage a company that takes full responsibility for proper and secure uranium disposal with all seriousness. Storage facilities must have appropriate regulations and environmental controls in order to circumvent problems that may occur.
If procedures and protocols are correctly followed, and the proper depleted uranium disposal technology is used, the highest public safety levels are guaranteed.