The Nuclear Waste Problem

  • Published: 21 November 2017
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    Animation by Josh Sherrington (
    Sound by Graham Haerther (
    Thumbnail by Joe Cieplinski (

    Nuclear reactor footage courtesy Canada Science and Technology Museum
    Spent fuel pool courtesy IAEA Imagebank
    Onkalo photo courtesy Posiva

    Music: "Raw Deal" by Gunner Olsen, "Divider" by Chris Zabriskie, "My Luck" by Broke for Free, and "I Wanted to Live" by Lee Rosevere

    Big thanks to Patreon supporters: Kevin Song, David Cichowski, Andy Tran, Victor Zimmer, Paul Jihoon Choi, Dylan Benson, M van Kasbergen, Etienne Dechamps, Adil Abdulla, Arunabh Chattopadhyay, Ieng Chi Hin, Ken Rutabana, John Johnston, Connor J Smith, Rob Harvey, Arkadiy Kulev, Hagai Bloch Gadot, Aitan Magence, Eyal Matsliah, Sihien Goh, Joseph Bull, Marcelo Alves Vieira, Hank Green, Plinio Correa, Brady Bellini

Comments • 9 495

  • Douglas Mcintosh
    Douglas Mcintosh  2 days back

    r u completley fucking retarted,
    send to the moon
    there is already heeps of radiation in the form of solar,
    so it doesnt fucking matter
    this dude just want views
    its so fucking obvious

    • vExacT
      vExacT  2 days back

      50000 thousand people used to live here. Now its a ghost town.

      • moved to new account
        moved to new account  4 days back

        dam that was a depressing episode, it shows our ultimate enemy isnt terminators, aliens or a countrys nuclear threat... its ourselves

        Wendover is right, the human race will die out and thats inevitable because in this current age very few countries are thinking really really long term, its very saddening that someday even when we put up all these signs, humans or another form of intelligent life will open up these sites and release radiation because its impossible to convey the message "never visit or interfere with this place" for example, look at the Egyptians they had there on languages but in a more primitive state but yet after 2000-3000 years they died out and there language forgotten

        • Daniel V
          Daniel V  4 days back

          3:18 For eva eva?

          • r4ndom
            r4ndom  4 days back

            I wish videos like that would include sources they use to actually use this material in an essay

            • Flight simmer flyin real planes

              Send the waste to sun ☀️

              • EX3CUTIVE
                EX3CUTIVE  6 days back

                just throw it into space, itll fit right in

                • Tadeo Gerke
                  Tadeo Gerke  6 days back

                  instead of every UN language, how about every single language invented by humanity and every kind of pictures explaining that radiation isn't some superstitious joke.

                  • whatthef911
                    whatthef911  6 days back

                    Inside Finland's Onkalo nuclear waste repository

                    • whatthef911
                      whatthef911  6 days back

                      Inside Finland's Onkalo nuclear waste repository

                      • Derek Straker
                        Derek Straker  6 days back

                        Sign: "This shit is dangerous! Leave this place! This is your final warning!"
                        Future Person: "Hmm, I can probably use these contains to kill a bunch of people." **grabs shovel**

                        • abdallah sras
                          abdallah sras  7 days back

                          probably a follow up video is needed, the nuclear power now is much better that what shown here, so please do some research and update the public! thanks

                          • James Hopkins
                            James Hopkins  1 weeks back


                            • Danny Y
                              Danny Y  1 weeks back

                              Hear me out: what if all the radioactive materials we find were buried by a civilization long ago as a means to prevent anyone discovering them? 🤔🤔

                              • Jonathan Watanabe
                                Jonathan Watanabe  1 weeks back

                                The worst thing is, it sound JUST like a stereotypical "curse" written on the wall when they break trough the Secret Passage. The prospect of what happens to our descendants or our successors is both compelling and horrifying. Does anyone know if any fiction has been written about this very subject?

                                • davestrange
                                  davestrange  1 weeks back

                                  I love how people think nuclear power is clean because it has low carbon emissions, Hilarious....

                                  • Dominus Crystal
                                    Dominus Crystal  1 weeks back

                                    Cant we just incinerate it or put in lava.

                                    • cutie cute
                                      cutie cute  1 weeks back


                                      • Withering gaming 24
                                        Withering gaming 24  1 weeks back

                                        31 people did not die 3000 to 81000 die u disgrace to slavs. ur the KGB kill him he want to reform the ussr

                                        • Navin Rajkumar
                                          Navin Rajkumar  1 weeks back

                                          The United States Government Accountability Office reported more than 150 incidents from 2001 to 2006 of nuclear plants not performing within acceptable safety guidelines. According to a 2010 survey of energy accidents, there have been at least 56 accidents at nuclear reactors in the United

                                          • Michael H
                                            Michael H  1 weeks back

                                            Well, if one day we are able to create highly advanced spacecrafts, can't we just put the waste on the moon or something?

                                            • cubesolid153
                                              cubesolid153  1 weeks back

                                              Very good video. Keep in that way and good luck. Bye

                                              • Astronomy Astrology?
                                                Astronomy Astrology?  2 weeks back

                                                Interesting video until about 6mins and then wtf. Honestly your trying to tell me that i should care about some future species of high intellegence creatures that may or most likely wont exist in the future hundreds of thousands of years from now finding some nuclear waste and what at maximum a few die before the others realise its a bad place and not to enter or if they're decently advanced working out damn quick what it is and staying away? Jesus what crap.

                                                • Remington Bradley
                                                  Remington Bradley  2 weeks back

                                                  In 100,000 years people would see that and be like you idiots, they thought this could harm us? We replaced DNA 99,000 years ago

                                                  • Erisi Dlarit
                                                    Erisi Dlarit  2 weeks back

                                                    honestly that message sounds like some kind of amazing weapon is buried there if I was a warlord or something I might want to dig for it

                                                    • Osver Fernandez
                                                      Osver Fernandez  2 weeks back

                                                      Did he really make a video and not mention a single plane or airport? Wtf

                                                      • Joe B
                                                        Joe B  2 weeks back

                                                        When the Lord returns to destroy the Earth and make all things new, this waste won’t be a problem. I don’t suspect his return taking more than 5,000 years. He is coming soon.

                                                        • Ronald Sebastiane
                                                          Ronald Sebastiane  2 weeks back

                                                          Similar to "The mummy" movie

                                                          • William Carey
                                                            William Carey  2 weeks back

                                                            What if we throw them out in space and let them go beyond earth!!!

                                                            • Lioef V
                                                              Lioef V  2 weeks back

                                                              But the east will never fall

                                                              • Enrico Fontanive
                                                                Enrico Fontanive  2 weeks back

                                                                8:41 It will backfire... now I'm not just curious, I WANT TO GET INSIDE

                                                                • Tiitus-Oskari Nevavesi
                                                                  Tiitus-Oskari Nevavesi  2 weeks back

                                                                  'Laughs' in finnish

                                                                  • that dude who watches too many movies

                                                                    feed it to aliens

                                                                    • 888SpinR
                                                                      888SpinR  2 weeks back

                                                                      Came back here in 2019 from Tom Scott's video!

                                                                      • UTubeTulip
                                                                        UTubeTulip  2 weeks back

                                                                        Which despite him going there, didn't explain it half as well as this video.

                                                                    • Dean Ickes
                                                                      Dean Ickes  2 weeks back

                                                                      shoot the N-waste to the sun use a container-rocket, better yet sent it to the planet Mercury.

                                                                      • Shawn Noyes
                                                                        Shawn Noyes  2 weeks back

                                                                        Store US SNF at Holtec’s Proposed Consolidated Interim Storage Facility in Southeastern New Mexico; then perform Fluoride volatility method for reprocessing of LWR spent fuel; Process U235 via SILEX process and feed LWR; take the next level of SNF of the Uranium and PU and put in Molten Chloride Salt Reactor, then place the remaining spent nuclear fuel in deep bore hole disposal > 1 mile down

                                                                        • vietnam today
                                                                          vietnam today  2 weeks back

                                                                          Throw it into Space!

                                                                          • Benedict Ouma
                                                                            Benedict Ouma  2 weeks back

                                                                            That message literally wants me to open up the "danger"

                                                                            • esklonkku
                                                                              esklonkku  2 weeks back

                                                                              I live near olkiluoto in finland and have been in the upper levels of the tunnel system where they store the less radioactive waste, the place is also open for tourists sometimes.

                                                                              • chirag m o
                                                                                chirag m o  2 weeks back

                                                                                Humans will dig it up after 200-500 years when some research finds these rods are more useful

                                                                                • Casey Colgan
                                                                                  Casey Colgan  2 weeks back

                                                                                  Wendover essentially states "I know nothing about the chemical properties, neutroics, applications or uses of whats considered nuclear "waste"".

                                                                                  There is a reason if you could even launch this stuff safely into space it would be an incredibly stupid idea. It is very valuable. Mostly as fuel.

                                                                                  But Wendover, stick to airplanes dood. You don't know what the fuck youre talking about here and since youre here talking about it by yourself there is no one to correct you when youre wrong. Which you are often.

                                                                                  Its cool you got a nice platform, its not cool you did barebones research on the topic, then covered up the gaps with your uninformed emotions about it. But when you have a platform that you have, do your damn research dude. It's what literally is asked of everyone in the world. Put the fucking work in, that's why we paid you in the first place.

                                                                                  • Ken Wells
                                                                                    Ken Wells  2 weeks back

                                                                                    The movies made nuclear power scary.

                                                                                    • NoPegs
                                                                                      NoPegs  2 weeks back

                                                                                      I realize that this video was posted long ago but I've cringed at least three times and I'm only just past the one about the storage pools boiling.... In no particular order, uranium itself is fairly safe in and of itself, the IDLH hazard comes from all the fission byproducts created along the way, many of which have short halflifes in human lifespan terms, twice as bright half as long etc. It's entirely possible to recover the unfissioned uranium out of the spent fuel for future use, but the current process is not worth the effort and risk from the tailings stream, being all the very hot byproducts previously mentioned. The spent fuel pools are filled with your standard light water, the stuff the oceans are full of, literally... Light water doesn't slow neutrons appreciably enough for them to be captured in a fission event, and the storage pools are, normally, by design, within a few degrees of ambient temperature and a normal thing to have happening in your spent fuel pond is to have a diver swim around inspecting both the condition of the pool structure as well as the spent fuel assemblies every few months for deterioration etc. Yes the spent fuel is definitely hazardous, but when you think about it, so are tanning beds, water beds, and roadbeds, but they all have their reasons for being permitted to be used by the general public. Thorium is an alternative to uranium for power generation, but again the fission process creates byproducts on a comparable level as uranium during the fission process, the spent fuel elements are just as hazardous to handle for the same reasons, you just don't have to worry much about anyone producing atomic weaponry from thorium fuel, all you can do is try to get all the nasty byproducts into a dirty munition, not quite as impressive as a mushroom cloud.... I'm fortunate enough to have turned 14 prior to September eleventh, which allowed me the opportunity to take the in depth up close tour of the Susquehanna Steam Electric station just twelve miles east of my home, twice. Booties and tyvek clad I have gazed down from the catwalk over the storage pool with my own eyes. Obviously after 9/11 the public was restricted to the visitors center and no further or you get shot, literally. Growing up in an area where at least three friends dads worked at the plant has given me a unique view of the reality of nuclear energy without the FUD/NIMBY hysteria and aversion. I'm not saying that our current storage situation is ideal, but given enough time, better permanent solutions will be discovered that will reduce the long term hazard by orders of magnitude.... Rant over, I hope for sanity's sake that I have no reason to drop another wall of text after the conclusion of this low speed derailment at the beginning of your normally high quality and high brow video productions... Your reputation hangs on the balance!

                                                                                      • Mø Nälayé
                                                                                        Mø Nälayé  3 weeks back

                                                                                        Why not just launch out into outer space? 🤷🏽‍♂️

                                                                                        • Mighty V
                                                                                          Mighty V  2 weeks back

                                                                                          Rocket launch technology technology isn't good enough to consistently work. Rocket disasters do happen and it'd be really, really bad if that rocket had radioactive elements onboard. The radiation would be spread really far if the failure happened in the upper atmosphere, potentially poisoning half the planet.

                                                                                      • your local butcher
                                                                                        your local butcher  3 weeks back

                                                                                        So put them on mars (joke)

                                                                                        • veli leino
                                                                                          veli leino  3 weeks back

                                                                                          just send it to space

                                                                                          • Mursu9000
                                                                                            Mursu9000  3 weeks back

                                                                                            6:00 Suomi mainittu torilla tavataan

                                                                                            • Night Raven
                                                                                              Night Raven  3 weeks back

                                                                                              100,000 years!?!?!
                                                                                              dude we are gonna be LONG gone from this planet 100,000 years from now, forget other species , led alone other civilizations, humans are more than likely going to be the dominant species on the planet forever, we have already grinded down the process of evolution to a halt. Apart from a mass extinction event ala the meteor that wiped out the dinos , humans are gonna be here for a long LOOOONG time. And in the time we will probably find some other use for this old stuff we see as garbage now.