Environment > Pollution > Nuclear waste: Countries Compared

Edria Murray, Staff Editor

Author: Edria Murray, Staff Editor

Spent fuel is an environmental concern as radioactivity can cause serious health effects

including: cancers, birth defects, sterility, genetic damage and lowered immunity to

diseases especially at high levels of exposure.

Uranium arrives at a nuclear power plant in the form of pellets which are

bundled together to form a fuel assembly. When the assembly no longer produces enough

energy, the pellets are replaced. The used-up pellets are called 'spent-fuel'.

Spent fuel is highly radioactive and needs to be isolated from people and the enviroment

for around 10 000 years. After this time the radiation level has reduced and the waste is

considered safe. Spent fuel is usually contained in concrete or steel containers, or in

cooling pools.

Spent fuel can be reprocessed to extract and recycle Uranium and plutonium. Great

Britain, France, Japan and Germany currently reprocess some of their nuclear waste.

To gain a more thorough overview of sources of pollution and their comparative amounts,

other sources of enviromnental pollution such as
href=/graph/env_pol_car_dio_fro_fos_fue_200>Carbon dioxide

href=/graph/env_pol_sul_oxi_per_cap>Sulfur and
href=/graph/env_pol_nit_oxi_per_cap>nitrogen oxides should also be consulted.
DEFINITION: Wastes from spent fuel arising in nuclear power plants, measured in terms of heavy metal. Data for 1998 or latest available year.


1 United States 2,100 1998
2 Canada 1,340 1998
Group of 7 countries (G7) average (profile) 1,134 1998
3 France 1,130 1998
4 Japan 964 1998
5 United Kingdom 820 1998
6 Germany 450 1998
7 South Korea 364 1998
8 Sweden 238 1998
9 Spain 192 1998
10 Belgium 80 1998
11 Finland 71 1998
12 Switzerland 64 1998
13 Hungary 55 1998
14 Czech Republic 45 1998
15 Mexico 42 1998
16 Netherlands 12 1998


"Countries Compared by Environment > Pollution > Nuclear waste. International Statistics at NationMaster.com", Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, France, OECD Environmental Data Compendium. Aggregates compiled by NationMaster. Retrieved from http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Environment/Pollution/Nuclear-waste

Environment > Pollution > Nuclear waste: Countries Compared Map

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