Nuclear fuel recycling is a thing. Just not in Canada.

Alexandre Radaelli
2 min readNov 7, 2023

Canada does not recycle fuel.

Why?

Money. There’s so much uranium that it’s cheaper to mine than to recycle and reuse, like in France.

Does this mean that Canada will never recycle its used fuel?

No. The fuel can be recycled long after it’s used.

Then why am I writing this?

To point out that we could if we felt like it, that is to say, that there are enough reasons to do it.

You might be guessing that it may be because its efficiency sucks.

But, that couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, it is 1000% more efficient than Canadian recycling, repurposing around 90% of nuclear waste.

So when people say that Canada has 2.8 million used fuel bundles. Oh Dear…

It’s actually only 54.9m² of waste. Less than the size of the house I’m currently renting out. Note: This is calculated considering that the average fuel bundle has a cross-section of 25cm² and a length of 4m. Keep in mind that CANDU reactor fuel bundles are smaller.

And that number could be reduced if we felt like recycling it. Let’s be skeptical and use lower efficiency, say 75%. This would leave us with 13.7m² of waste. Less than my room…

To compare, per capita, Canada produces 720kg of waste annually.

As a consequence, it’s not surprising that Canada has 3000 landfills but 0 large nuclear waste storage. That’s how little scientists worry.

Although the National Waste Management Organization is planning on building one. It seems to be more of a plan to keep Canada invested in nuclear energy than a plan to store its “copious” amount of nuclear waste.

To conclude, should the people worry about Canada’s nuclear waste? No.

--

--