Is the mined Uranium safe?
We have seen the graph of “Radioactivity attenuation of vitrified waste over time.” How long time we need to keep the waste is based on the radioactive level of mined Uranium ore. I wonder if it is save. I could not find information about this. I know that not everything in nature is safe. A venomous snake, poisonous mushroom, volcano gas, … they are all natural, but not always safe. Uranium ore is in nature, but is it safe?
A Wikipedia article entitled “Depleted uranium,” Japanese MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) stated that the toxicity of depleted Uranium is the same of the Uranium in the sea or rocks  (in November, 2002). This doesn’t tell much. I would like to know about the safty of Uranium ore in the first place, then why all of sudden am I talking about depleted Uranium? You might think that I switched subject. Unfortunately, this is the information that I found on the Internet, which is only indirect. I could only find two connected things that Uranium ore has danger similar to depleted Uranium and that depleted Uranium is dangerous. Assuming they are both correct, we could conclude that Uranium ore is also dangerous. Yet I doubt there are many different types of depleted Uranium (density and so on) and many different qualities Uranium ore. I don’t believe all the Uranium ore have exactly the same density of Uranium rocks. I didn’t understand this information completely. Some say depleted Uranium is dangerous and some say it is not. The former say, “it is not dangerous, but it’s a harmful substance, so it must be controlled under the law (US government), and children should not take it (WHO).” Then, Uranium ore from nature is as safe as depleted Uranium (Japanese MEXT), or less safe. You could check this out yourself in Wiki . Personally I cannot judge any risk based on such low quality information. Then my decision can only be to avoid them. Without information, we cannot decide on anything. We need more information.
Also it is not clear that “the corresponding radioactivity of 1t fuel is 1000GBq.” The value is 1GBq/kg (=1,000,000,000 Bq/kg) which is quite large. Common food has a safety threshold at 100 Bq/kg. 1,000,000,000 Bq/kg which does not sound safe at all to me.
Only one thing is certain, nuclear waste needs 100,000 years to get to this 1,000,000,000 Bq/kg state.
Most of the articles about final disposal mentioned this number, 100,000 years, and they usually ask: can we keep it for that long? I think that is a wrong and meaningless question, because even if we can manage nuclear waste for 100,000 years, it is apparently not safe. As far as I can understand, Uranium ore is not safe and 100,000 years is too short of a time for final disposal.
- Wikipedia ja, Depleted uranium (劣化ウラン): Health considerations (in Japanese: 医学的危険性の主張と反論), https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%8A%A3%E5%8C%96%E3%82%A6%E3%83%A9%E3%83%B3, (Online; accessed 2014-12-21)
Thanks to Daniel S., Enzo C., Carsten W., and Nikolaus B. for the proof reading and suggestions for the English version.