Not sure if anyone would know this, but was discussing it with friends, and it seems like quite the puzzle. In short, how is nuclear fuel in reactors handled?
Logically, the nuclear fuel must be transported to the site, then placed into the reactor, then - once fully used - removed. But given the strength of the radioactivity of the elements, how on earth is this done?
Using the Chernobyl disaster as an example, the guys who had to clear up the mess weren't able to be close to the source for more than ca. 60 seconds without it being deadly. Even with lead protection, electrical circuits broke, so robots seem not to be an option. Just seems like a really difficult task to be able to transport, install, remove and dispose of the uranium without there being major hurdles.
Anyone know who it is done?!
Also, on a related topic: if a nuclear power station is decommissioned, how is the core dismantled? How can you safely remove the irradiated graphite, for example?
My friends and I spent ages debating how it could be done and we would love to know the answer!!
Thanks in advance.