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Due to its high fission yield, relatively long half-life, and mobility in the environment, technetium-99 is one of the more significant components of nuclear waste. Measured in becquerels per amount of spent fuel, it is the dominant producer of radiation in the period from about 104 to 106 years after the creation of the nuclear waste. The next shortest-lived fission product is samarium-151 with a halflife of 90 years, though a number of actinides produced by neutron capture have halflives in the intermediate range.
Since nuclear fuel is used for several years (burnup) in a nuclear power plant, the final amount of 151Sm in the spent nuclear fuel at discharge is only a small fraction of the total 151Sm produced during the use of the fuel. According to one study, the mass fraction of Sm-151 in spent fuel is about 0.0025 for heavy loading of MOX fuel and about half that for uranium fuel, which is roughly two orders of magnitude less than the mass fraction of about .15 for the medium-lived fission product Cs-137. The decay energy of151Sm is also about an order of magnitude less than that of 137Cs. The low yield, low survival rate, and low decay energy mean that 151Sm has insignificant nuclear waste impact compared to the two main medium-lived fission products 137Cs and 90Sr.
But the fact is that a little truth may leak out from time to time.
... because no containment system is perfect.
It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue
- Queen Elizabeth II
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