There are about 230,000 to 270,000 metric tons of high level radioactive wastes already in the world.
Most of these come from nuclear power plants where the fuel rods have to cool for years before they can be placed into containers. The fuel rods themselves come from the nuclear reactors which are highly radioactive.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has started hearing arguments as to whether the Department of Energy can proceed into the development of the Yuccan mountain site in Nevada, where the US had been planning to make the site as their storage of nuclear wastes since 1987.
The US alone has 70,000 radioactive metric tons of nuclear wastes of its own to get rid off, including the 200 mega liters which are remnants and sitting in leaky tanks in Washington desert which the Obama administration is currently pursuing.
In Finland, a similar undertaking is ongoing at a wooded island, northwest of Helsinki. Workers are digging a tunnel presumably can be completed in ten years time from now, to seal away Finland’s nuclear wastes for at least for 100,000 years.
Nuclear wastes are contained in canisters of five centimeters in thickness before they are buried. The facility is being built for nuclear waste safekeeping with the purpose of no more human intervention to be initiated and maintenance to take care of.
In storing nuclear waste in such a significantly long period of time, tantamount to forgetting the location where it is buried if it is left unmarked due to demographic changes or evolution that could take place in the course of time.
It could be similar to the most famous archaeological discoveries of modern times in China, the terra cotta army buried with the Chinese first emperor, where it was accidentally discovered by a farmer digging a well.
If similar feat can happen in the future, say a few hundreds or a thousand years, we can imagine our descendant’s reaction at having been left such a nasty surprise of their lives and archaeological find – Nuclear Wastes.
Is it not but befitting and ethical to properly mark them?