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Communicating With Future Generations About Our Nuclear Waste Legacy



If future generations are to be able to care for or avoid the radioactive waste that our generation produces, then some way of communicating the dangers of radioactive waste to these future generations has to be created.
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... Option 1 would involve the dangerous transport of radioactive material through third countries or across international seas, thus inviting thieves and terrorists to target what may well be an inadequately-secured nuclear cargo (Allison, 2005;Marshall, 2006). Even when it gets to Russia, the sometimes horrific conditions of nuclear waste facilities there burdens the local environment with probable contamination, not just for the near future, but for the many generations to come (Bridges and Bridges, 1995;Marshall, 2007). Option 2 is also a major problem since Indonesia has no disposal facilities for highly radioactive waste and it is extremely limited in being able to process low-level waste. ...
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This paper analyses the reasons why nuclear energy development in Indonesia is a bad idea in the post-Fukushima event era.
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It has been said Thailand needs more energy for its growing economy and that the world needs eco-friendly energy sources to stave off catastrophic global warming. So, to encourage this, we might ask ‘should Thailand develop nuclear energy?’ The answer is ‘no’. Nuclear energy is not going to push Thailand towards cost-effective, efficient and climate-friendly energy use. If nuclear energy is forced upon Thailand by the government, its people and its environment will not only be just as vulnerable to climate change but also be subjected to chronic radioactive pollution, whilst risking both a disastrous accident and the spread of nuclear and radiological weapons.
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Europe is close to implementing its first geological repositories for spent nuclear fuel. The European Commission has endorsed geological disposal as the favoured strategy for dealing with Europe’s long-lived radioactive wastes, pointing out that it is technically feasible now, and that can demonstrate the required guarantees of long-term isolation. This article reviews the origins and the scientific and technical basis of the concept of geological disposal, looking in particular at how isolation and containment are provided and the timescales over which containment is needed. It goes on to look at the status of geological disposal internationally and at some trends and issues which both implementers and regulators are addressing. Europa está a punto de poner en práctica sus primeros almacenamientos geológicos para el combustible nuclear gastado. La Comisión Europea ha respaldado el almacenamiento geológico como la mejor estrategia para hacer frente a los residuos radiactivos de larga vida. El almacenamiento geológico es técnicamente factible actualmente, y se pueden demostrar las garantías requeridas de aislamiento a largo plazo. El artículo revisa los orígenes y los fundamentos científicos y técnicos del concepto de almacenamiento geológico describiendo en particular los métodos utilizados para proporcionar el aislamiento y la contención en las escalas de tiempo en las que la contención es necesaria. Asimismo revisa la situación del almacenamiento geológico a nivel internacional y algunas de las tendencias y cuestiones que ejecutores y reguladores están planteando.
High-level waste from nuclear power generation will remain radioactive for thousands of years even though 99% of the radioactivity will have decayed within the first millennium. Certain information about the waste must be kept for long time periods because future generations may - intentionally or inadvertently - come into contact with the radioactive waste. Present day waste management would benefit from an early identification of documents to be part of an archive for radioactive waste repositories. The same reasoning is valid for repositories for other toxic wastes. For a hypothetical group involved in future actions to retrieve or repair a repository, information about its location, design, and content would be necessary. The need of such groups can be used to design the information that should be kept in a waste archive. At the outset, industry as well as the company operating the repository and the competent authorities, are in possession of a vast amount of information about the nuclear material and its history. Certain essential information should be extracted from this primary information in order to establish independent archives of different sizes, i.e. second and third level information sets. Two main strategies exist for long-term information transfer, one which links information through successive transfers of archived material and other forms of knowledge in society, and one - such as marking the site with a monument - relying upon a direct link from the present to the distant future. Both strategies may be used, depending on site-specific circumstances. The presently preferred archive media include high quality paper and microfilms which have estimated lifetimes of hundreds of years. Paper types, commonly used in the past, may have shorter lifetimes which may have to be considered when second and third level information set are to be established. Digital methods are not recommended for long-term storage, but digital processing may be a valuable tool to structure information summaries, and in the creation of better long-lasting records. Advances in archive management should also be pursued to widen the choice of information carriers of high durability. In the Nordic countries, during the first few thousand years, and perhaps up to the next period of glaciation, monuments at a repository site may be used to warn the public of the presence of dangerous waste. But messages from such markers may pose interpretation problems as we have today for messages left by earlier societies such as rune inscriptions. Since the national borders may change in the time scale relevant for nuclear waste, the creation of an international archive for all radioactive wastes would represent an improvement as regards conservation and retrieval of information. A legal strategy is discussed, suggesting that society should implement the right to information about environmental hazards such as disposed waste rather than implement restrictions near the site, which are not regarded realistic in the long term.
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