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Asteroid Coming in 18 Years + Nuclear Waste

FortKnox (169099) writes | more than 12 years ago

Science 16

First, pardon my ignorance in the matters of nuclear weapons and waste.First, pardon my ignorance in the matters of nuclear weapons and waste.

Ok, I'm reading this story about an asteroid possibly hitting the earth in about 18 years. Now I recall stories about a nuclear waste facility being built in a mountain (sorry, I have a bad memory, and can't find a link, atm). Is it possible to load this waste into warheads and start firing them at the asteroid? At least it'll get the waste off the earth, and maybe we can break up/alter the trajectory of the asteroid?

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Yucca Mountain, Nevada (2)

John Harrison (223649) | more than 12 years ago | (#3944892)

is the location of the facility. There will be so much waste there that it really wouldn't do any good to take one bomb's worth out.

It would probably be easier to simply make a new weapon and launch it. If we could safely and cost-effectively launch large amounts of waste long distances into space then we could probably just send our waste towards the sun. Somehow I don't think this is going to happen.

Re:Yucca Mountain, Nevada (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#3944936)

There will be so much waste there that it really wouldn't do any good to take one bomb's worth out.

I mean trying to make as many bombs as possible, and hurl them one after another at the asteroid.

If we could safely and cost-effectively launch large amounts of waste long distances into space then we could probably just send our waste towards the sun.

Its definately not cost-effective, but it could be life saving. I don't think the government would mind throwing all money at it and going into major debt rather than just waiting a few days for non-existance to set in.

Re:Yucca Mountain, Nevada (1)

dthable (163749) | more than 12 years ago | (#3945461)

There will be so much waste there that it really wouldn't do any good to take one bomb's worth out.

Then why not spend some time any money to figure out how to repackage the waste into weapons we can use to destroy each other with? Seems better than trying to figure out where to mine this stuff and then ruining our natural resources to get it.

Who am I kidding? I forgot the government was in charge of this...

No (2)

JMZero (449047) | more than 12 years ago | (#3944924)

The warhead would just glance off the comet's surface. You'd need a ragtag group of tough talking oil men to drill into the comet's surface.

And there's only one man who could lead them.

Honestly, though, it sucks that we're all going to die.

Re:No (2)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#3945050)

Honestly, though, it sucks that we're all going to die.

Depends. If it hits asia, and you are prepared, we could just live life in a 'midieval-like' era. Time to brush up on my fencing and smithing.

Re:No (2)

JMZero (449047) | more than 12 years ago | (#3945105)

Yeah.. cause after the comet hits, guns won't work anymore. At least I hope so, cause I've always wanted to be a blacksmith. A dwarven blacksmith in particular.

Re:No (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#3945149)

I hope you are short (very short), stalky, and harry. Better work on your alcohol tolerance, too!

I've always wanted to be a shapeshifter, myself. I hope I get enough radiation to be mutated enough. I'll call myself...

MR. SQUEEGEE

*Thunder crackling*

Re:No (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#3945187)

s/harry/hairy/

Forgot to mention that the asteroid is packing radiation that will harmlessly mutate us. At least I hope so...

Re:No (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 12 years ago | (#3947898)

You can tend to the fencing. I'm settin' up a brewery and planting hops.

Probably not a good idea (2)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 12 years ago | (#3944978)

The risk of the rockets exploding and showering waste on to the world seems too high.

If one day a safer form of launching materials into orbit was developed (giant railguns or something scifi like that) that didn't involve combustive chemicals, then I say launch the stuff, but until then I really think Yucca or something like it is the way to go.

Sorry... (1)

Some Woman (250267) | more than 12 years ago | (#3945584)

The ions used in nuclear energy are the same needed in nuclear weapons, so they have probably already been "used up." I think that most of the nuclear waste is actually contaminated water and fuel rods containing very little of the original radioactive elements.

Also, it should be noted that weapons-grade uranium and plutonium are much purer than energy-grade (for Uranium, 20% U-235 instead of 3%), so it would take way more effort than it's worth to reprocess the waste for weapons.

Maybe we should just shoot a giant laser gun at the asteroid. :)

Re:Sorry... (2)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 12 years ago | (#3949041)

You forgot to put quotes: "LASER"

Now then, you are correct in that much of the radioactive waste is garbage (gloves, cameras, and angry, drunken dwarves). National geophgraphic had a pretty decent article [nationalgeographic.com] on nuclear waste and how it is being mishandled like everything else.

What's that I hear? (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 12 years ago | (#3947909)

Is that Steven Tyler in the background?

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3951691)

What is gained by throwing poison at the asteroid instead of rocks? Is this some weird idea for killing off whatever alien life forms may be on the asteroid?

The reason people are worried about the 'roid isn't because, by crashing into Earth, it's going to infect us with alien lifeforms. (I hadn't even heard of that theory.) It's the crash itself that people don't like.

And you want to throw poison at something that might be on its way to Earth? It seems to me that if you go to all the trouble to launch the stuff off the planet, you probably want to send the poison to off in a manner where it won't come back.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3953272)

Naw, the whole 'alien life' theory was a joke. I thought that there may be a way to convert the waste into a nuclear warhead, and, hence, trying to blow it up/change its tragectory.

Whew! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3963205)

For a minute I thought you were going to say we have to stop making nuclear waste because an asteroid might hit Yucca Mountain!
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