A Watery Grave

by Carolyn T. Hunsaker, Environmental Sci.; Oak Ridge Nat'l Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37821,
Virginia Fairweather, Editor; Civil Engineering, 345 E. 47th St., New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1987, Vol. 57, Issue 3, Pg. 52-55

Document Type: Feature article


Subseabed disposal may be the most acceptable means of dealing with radioactive wastes. Land disposal sites are difficult to find and politically difficult to use. Little research has been done on seabed disposal of radioactive wastes, but what has been completed shows no ill-effects to marine life or to humans. In fact, research indicates less risk than that from natural background radiation. The disposal methods being looked at involve high-level nuclear wastes solidified into a material with a low leach rate, placed in stress and corrosion-resistance canisters and placed in thick clay sediments of mid-ocean regions. Burial sites would be in water depths greater than 5000 meters. The United States has just discontinued their participation in international research efforts for ocean disposal and will continue to look at land disposal options.

Subject Headings: Radioactive wastes | Waste disposal | Submerging | Waste sites | Sea floor | Human factors | Risk management | Radiation | United States

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