Why don't we send radioactive waste into space, or into the Sun?
A common answer that people often come up with is that we can't do that because it would be too dangerous. The rocket could blow up and radioactivity would be scattered everywhere!
However, that's not a real problem. We can quite easily put the material in a strong container where it would survive any contingency such as the catastrophic failure of the launch vehicle.
In fact, that's what we do regularly with all the radioisotopic generators that are safely launched on exploratory spacecraft.
With the radioactive material packaged in an appropriate form it can survive anything - even uncontrolled reentry into Earth's atmosphere. (The Pu-238 source cask for the ALSEP RTG stored in the Apollo 13 LM survived exactly this.)
The real answer is that we don't do it because it's just wayyy too expensive and energy intensive to launch stuff into space. And unnecessary. And it possibly violates international treaties such as the Outer Space Treaty.
tomandlu wrote:The linguist Thomas Sebeok was member of the Bechtel working group. Building on earlier suggestions made by Alvin Weinberg and Arsen Darnay he proposed the creation of an atomic priesthood, a panel of experts where members would be replaced through nominations by a council. Similar to the Catholic church - which has preserved and authorized its message for over 2000 years — the atomic priesthood would have to preserve the knowledge about locations and dangers of radioactive waste by creating rituals and myths. The priesthood would indicate off-limits areas and the consequences of disobedience.
You know, sometimes I read some of this stuff and I think, you know, maybe they should get Neal Stephenson to make a submission to the working group with his thoughts on the subject. And they actually did, I believe.