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Title: Reducing the likelihood of future human activities that could affect geologic high-level waste repositories

The disposal of radioactive wastes in deep geologic formations provides a means of isolating the waste from people until the radioactivity has decayed to safe levels. However, isolating people from the wastes is a different problem, since we do not know what the future condition of society will be. The Human Interference Task Force was convened by the US Department of Energy to determine whether reasonable means exist (or could be developed) to reduce the likelihood of future human unintentionally intruding on radioactive waste isolation systems. The task force concluded that significant reductions in the likelihood of human interference could be achieved, for perhaps thousands of years into the future, if appropriate steps are taken to communicate the existence of the repository. Consequently, for two years the task force directed most of its study toward the area of long-term communication. Methods are discussed for achieving long-term communication by using permanent markers and widely disseminated records, with various steps taken to provide multiple levels of protection against loss, destruction, and major language/societal changes. Also developed is the concept of a universal symbol to denote Caution - Biohazardous Waste Buried Here. If used for the thousands of non-radioactive biohazardous waste sites inmore » this country alone, a symbol could transcend generations and language changes, thereby vastly improving the likelihood of successful isolation of all buried biohazardous wastes.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
6799619
Report Number(s):
BMI/ONWI-537
ON: DE84013725
DOE Contract Number:
AC02-83CH10140
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Battelle Memorial Inst., Columbus, OH (USA). Office of Nuclear Waste Isolation
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL; HIGH-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTES; IDENTIFICATION SYSTEMS; INTERFERENCE; COMMUNICATIONS; GEOLOGIC DEPOSITS; HUMAN POPULATIONS; INTRUSION; MANAGEMENT; MATERIALS; POPULATIONS; RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS; RADIOACTIVE WASTES; WASTE DISPOSAL; WASTE MANAGEMENT; WASTES 054000* -- Nuclear Fuels-- Health & Safety; 052002 -- Nuclear Fuels-- Waste Disposal & Storage