Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from John:


I'm a journalist reporting on the proposal to bury 200,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste below ground near Kincardine, Ontario. I'm trying to put this figure into some kind of perspective for readers -- particularly in the U.S., where most are unfamiliar with the metric system. I don't know whether there's any particular frame of reference that would be enlightening -- U.S. football fields, Olympic-sized swimming pools, etc. Can you help? Thanks very much in advance, John

Hi John,

I first converted $200,000$ cubic metres to cubic yards and got $261,590$ cubic yards. An American football field is $120$ yards by $ 53 \large \frac13$ yards (including the end zones). If you covered a football field with this radioactive waste to the height of the goal post cross bar, $10$ feet, this would give you a volume of $21,333.2$ cubic yards. $261,590$ divided by $21,333.2$ is $12.26$ so you could cover $12$ football fields 10 feet deep with this stuff and still have some left over.


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