Friday, June 13, 2008

Britain trying to find a nuclear waste site

Somehow I find this type of effort a bit hopeless. As I've said before, there are very few suitable locations, and very few willing communities. The probability of having the two come together is vanishingly small.

5 comments:

hypocentre said...

There are bribes (sorry - is funding) associated with volunteering to be a repository site. West Cumbria may volunteer as Sellafield is already a major local employer.

However, Sellafield was dismissed as a repository site last time round because the (hydro)geology was unsuitable.

They may be able to swing it on improved barrier technology within the repository itself though.

Harold Asmis said...

I don't think you can make up for bad geology. The Bruce waste repository is a case in point. It has the worse geology in the world. Would Titanium cases make up for it? Can you even excavate down to the level you want? What's the use of deep burial in bad geology?

hypocentre said...

My understanding of Sellafield is that the geology itself is OK(ish) but there was artesian water flowing upwards through the proposed repository zone. As long as you can keep the water out (and the radionuclides in) with a suitable barrier you might be OK ...

I agree with you that matching is difficult and if the geology was not deemed suitable last time why is it OK now, but I don't think it is going to stop them trying.

hypocentre said...

As an aside, the last time they searched the UK for a suitable repository site, based on geology alone, the best site turned out to be in the then Environment Minister's constituency.

The report never saw the light of day for some reason (!) and they went for Sellafield largely because of much lower transport costs (most of the waste is created there) and the locals wouldn't object to much.

Harold Asmis said...

That's the same reasoning for the Bruce site! They had looked at Chalk River, but that was too horrible, even for them!

The worst thing that an earthquake does to an underground structure is catastrophic flooding, if it's just hobbled together with grout.