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December 1983

Toxic Byproducts-Reply

Arch Intern Med. 1983;143(12):2335. doi:10.1001/archinte.1983.00350120136036

In Reply.  —All industry produces toxic byproducts. One of the greatest advantages of nuclear fuel is that the wastes are of such small volume that extremely safe disposal methods are economically feasible. At present, twice as much low-level waste originates from medical facilities as from power plants. The high-level wastes produced in a year by a 1,000-megawatt reactor would fit comfortably under a dining-room table, and a repository large enough to contain the wastes from generating all electricity by means of fission for 1,000 years would cover about 26 sq km.1 In contrast, a single coal-fired plant typically discharges, per second, 13.5 kg of solid waste, 273 kg of carbon dioxide, 13.5 kg of sulfur dioxide, and as much nitrogen oxide as 200,000 automobiles.2 Just transporting that huge volume of solid waste results in many deaths. I would like to know the specific chemical means that render innocuous

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