About one third of all Americans live within 50 miles of nuclear waste, and one of the major challenges is the safe long-term confinement of it. Steel reinforced concrete is one of the barrier materials commonly used for waste storage and these containers are accumulating at reactor sites all over the country. The largest concern is the threat that the voluminous amounts of radioactive waste currently being stored can leak.
Although this nuclear waste is sealed in drums of steel and concrete, accidents or leaks can and do occur, as has been witnessed in Fukushima, Indian Point, and more recently at Hanford in Washington State. This waste can have catastrophic effects on people, animals, and plants, causing cancer and genetic problems for many generations. Significantly, nuclear waste can be hazardous for tens of thousands of years.
Therefore, the structural stability of the reinforced cement containing these radioactive materials is extremely important. Sea level rises, earthquakes and many other disasters can create serious risks, and the waste must be safeguarded in ways that protect human health and the environment.
However, corrosion of the reinforcing steel is actually the major cause of degradation of concrete structures, and maintaining them creates a considerable economic burden. Concrete products that are constructed using steel reinforced rebar deteriorate as water and other elements seep through cracks, which inevitably occur.
This is why engineers are now turning to basalt for its superlative tensile strength, and its immunity to moisture and corrosive chemicals rather than steel rebar. The use of this volcanic stone rather than steel for reinforcement can effectively increase crack resistance and significantly improve the tensile strength of the concrete. In fact, maintenance-free basalt rebar is the perfect solution.
Basalt America is using leading edge green technology to produce basalt fiber reinforced polymer products that are two to three times stronger and 75% lighter than steel. These steel replacement products never rust, create virtually no carbon footprint and have lifespans of more than a century.
When used as an alternative to steel rebar, they will last virtually forever. With its durability, strength and longevity, this superior product can provide a safer alternative, while being economically and environmentally friendly.
If you would like more information on how our basalt products can help contain hazardous waste more safely, while reducing the financial burden of continual maintenance and replacement, please visit basaltamerica.com today.