Nuclear waste will eventually break down – but not for a very, very long time. High-level nuclear waste from the core of a nuclear reactor or weapon can have a “half-life” of over 100,000 years. This means that it takes 100,000 years for half of a given amount of waste to break down, and then another 100,000 years for what’s left after that to break down, and so on. This length of half-life is of course many times longer than all of recorded human history up to this point. We will be stuck with nuclear waste one way or another until it breaks down, so human civilizations into the foreseeable future are going to have to deal with the large amounts of nuclear waste we’ve already created in less than a century of using nuclear technology.
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