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America’s Nuclear Waste

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Nuclear Waste Zoom In 2

Atom Smasher
Photograph by Peter Essick

Edward Arthur, a nuclear physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, stands by an accelerator used in a process that sends neutrons smashing into plutonium atoms. The experimental procedure attempts to hasten radioactive decay—normally 240,000 years for plutonium 239—by breaking atoms into parts that decay faster. If proved, the technique could reduce the time necessary to contain spent nuclear reactor fuel in an underground repository, rendering this highly radioactive waste essentially harmless in a few hundred years.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: EOS 1-N
Film Type: Fuji Provia 100
Lens: 28-70mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/8 @ f/11
Weather Conditions: Indoor
Lighting Techniques: Dynalight flash and dedolight tungsten

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