Waste Not, Want Not
Photograph by Peter Essick
Each of these steel cylinders at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Kentucky holds 14 tons (13 metric tons) of depleted uranium left over from an enrichment process that changes ore to fuel for reactors. The nations 770,000 tons (700,000 metric tons) of depleted uranium are not officially classified as waste, because the dense material can be used as ammunition and tank armor. Uranium processing at Paducah has tainted local groundwater. To help alleviate the problem, the government is experimenting with chemicals to dissolve the pollutants.