Nuclear, Waste Management & Decommissioning

Nuclear waste could be stored using hydraulic fracturing methods, scientist says

A scientist says nuclear waste could possibly be disposed of by using methods like in hydraulic fracturing.

According to Live Science, Leonid Germanovich, a physicist and civil and environmental engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said nuclear waste could be mixed with other heavy materials and injected a few miles below the Earth’s surface into drilled holes. The theory is that the nuclear slurry would be heavier than the rock in which it is injected and continue to move downward deeper into the Earth over time, the article said.

Hydraulic fracturing involves drilling a deep well more than a mile below the surface and injecting fluids into the hole at high pressure, the article said.

Environmentalists say the boreholes would have to be placed in a way so the nuclear slurry wouldn’t contaminate the water supply, and that the drilling is causing small-scale earthquakes near the sites. Also, since materials can be radioactive for more than 100,000 years, a drilling solution would have to be failsafe for at least that long, the article said.

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