Film: 5351

Industry + Work | 1970 | Sound | Colour

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Synopsis:

Nuclear waste and how to dispose of it.
Child's writing on an exercise-book says, "Johnny has three trucks of Plutonium...." Dounray in Scotland. Reactor fuel - uranium. ............. talks to camera on beach. Nuclear fusion promises "endless, cheap energy." Shot of nuclear power station. 'Fast' reactors. Shots of nuclear power station from the sea. Nuclear physics of plutonium and uranium are explained. He talks of something for nothing as uranium produces plutonium. Men working on care of reactor. How to stop a meltdown and why they would happen. Liquid sodium is used to cool. Liquid sodium explodes on contact with water - this is demonstrated. Reactor has 900 tons of liquid sodium. He speaks to camera from within the partly-built reactor. It must be kept clean and sodium is corrosive. Scientists have most problems. Sign saying 'U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.' He says risk of explosions is virtually eliminated. Sign says 'Radiation Area. Wear a film. Do not loiter." U.S. scientists are against the Breeder or fast type of reactor. Another presenter handles chemicals in gloves in a sealed box. A particle of plutonium the size of a grain of pollen can be fatal. Plutonium must be kept from people for hundreds of thousands of years, and a ton of it is in the reactor. Plutonium being handled. Plutonium on a train - aerial shots. Criminals or terrorists might make nuclear weapons. Spent uranium rods leave Gloucestershire by truck to Windscale. Nuclear rods on the A38 and on trains. Tests of casks for accidents, impact, fire etc. Train coupled up. Windscale processing used rods and production of radioactive waste. Film of this process. Underwater rods, then automatic stripping machine. The waste will go in a bunker. The fuel rods are then sliced. Radioactive liquid to be stored forever. The storage of waste. The chemical breakdown produces heat which must be cooled and monitored. Hanford storage in Washington state, U.S.A.. The tankers are shown. Sign says 'Radiation Area'. 151 tanks - 50 million gallons of radiation. Some of it has leaked into the soil and the Columbia River is near by. Cavern Z9. Pond where nuclear water was poured. Plant being built to solidify nuclear waste which is easier to handle. Separate chemicals like strontium. Safe storage site. Hanford experiences earthquakes. Disposal must be the answer. Rocket takes off. Perhaps it should be dumped in space. Rocket. Dumping waste in drums in the Atlantic Ocean. Burial in Antarctica. Salt mine burial in Kansas. Avebury standing stones in the snow. Should we pass down to our children the legacy of dealing with nuclear waste? an unendurable legacy? Problems of energy, pollution of the environment are discussed by Raymond Baxter as he stands among the Avebury stones.


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