this is in draft format for future build out of article, from"Grant Research"
She kindly provided a Google docs link to all the text below, it may be easier reading on the link
UN Treaties Multilateral and bilateral nuclear disarmament and arms
regulation agreements history www.un.org/en/globalissues/atomicenergy/
1980 US EPA Fact Sheet on Ocean Dumping of Radioactive Waste
copy paste this odd url or google title above nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyNET.exe/
Ocean disposal of radioactive waste Coasts of Europe 30:07 minutes via
Aug 1999 Inventory of radioactive waste disposals at sea - IAEA 127
28 March 2011 The Radioactive Ocean Mother Jones
Governments world-wide were urged by the 1972 Stockholm Conference
[external link] to control the dumping of waste in "their oceans" by
implementing new laws. The United Nations met in London after this
recommendation to begin the Convention on the Prevention of Marine
Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter [external link] which was
implemented in 1975. The International Maritime Organization was given
responsibility for this convention and a Protocol was finally adopted in 1996, a
major step in the regulation of ocean dumping.
Stockholm Conference www.unep.org/Documents.multilingual/Default.asp?
Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of
Wastes and Other Matter http://www.imo.org/en/OurWork/Environment/
The disposal of nuclear waste into the world’s oceans
By Patrick Kozakiewicz January 27, 2014 http://www.cbrneportal.com/thedisposal-
Humans have been altering the oceans for millennia. Up till now, five critical
environmental issues have affected the oceans: over-fishing, chemical
pollution and eutrophicaion, habit destruction, invasion of alien species and
global climate change. However, one of the major threats the oceans may
face in the twenty-first century is radioactive pollution.
The Wall St. Journal has recently claimed that plutonium levels are 1,000
times above normal on the seafloor 50 miles from San Francisco where
50,000 containers of radioactive waste lay at the bottom of the seafloor after
steel barrels of nuclear material were disposed of a few decades ago. They
also claimed this is globally significant and is impacting the ecosystem. This
is a first study of this kind.
After World War II, for many decades, the nuclear industries used the oceans
as a dumping ground. It was only two decades ago that dumping from ships
was internationally banned.
From 1946 through 1993, thirteen nuclear capable countries used the ocean
as an ends to dispose of nuclear/radioactive waste. The waste materials
included industrial, medical and weapons, both liquids and solids housed in
various containers, as well as reactor vessels, with and without spent or
damaged nuclear fuel.
The United States alone dumped vast quantities of nuclear material off its
coasts between 1946 and 1970—more than 110,000 containers. More
specifically, for up to 15 years after World War II, the USS Calhoun County
dumped thousands of tons of radioactive waste into the Atlantic Ocean, often
without heeding the simplest health precautions. In order to make sure the
waste-containing drums sank, the sailors would sometimes shoot them with
rifles. On top of that in the Pacific, there is an estimated 47,000 containers
which lie at the bottom of the ocean floor near San Francisco and Japan has
also disposed of a magnitude of radioactive waste into the ocean.
Russia, on the other hand, dumped some 17,000 containers of radioactive
waste, 19 ships containing radioactive waste, 14 nuclear reactors, including
five that still contain spent nuclear fuel; 735 other pieces of radioactively
contaminated heavy machinery, and the K-27 nuclear submarine with its two
reactors loaded with nuclear fuel. The K-27 sank in 1989 and is currently
resting on the floor of the Barents Sea, one mile deep, with its nuclear reactor
and two nuclear warheads. In total, there are now 6 nuclear submarines lying
at the bottom of the Oceans, lost as a result of failure – 4 Russian and 2
In Europe alone, some 28,500 containers of radioactive waste were dropped
into the English Channel between 1950 and 1963 by European states, some
of which are being now discovered to have leaks. In addition, lots of
radioactive waste was disposed of off the coast of Japan and in the South
Korean Sea. In all honesty, every nuclear nation, to some extent or another,
could be possibly linked to the dumping of radioactive waste, and, most of
them to that of the oceans. Collectively the known containers from Europe, let
alone the rest of the world, translate to hundreds of thousands of tons of
radioactive waste. It is like having a tooth x-ray every time you enter your
bath – and yet that is too much.
While in Europe waste was all supposed to be disposed of in waters at least
4,000 meters deep, many of the ship log documents are inaccurate or are left,
“incomplete or unknown” in the location of the dump, sometimes dumped
even in water only 100 meters deep and only miles away from the coast.
Also, the captain’s main concerns were the safety of the crew not about the
exact location of the dump. The barrels of waste were radioactive and the
crew was getting radioactive doses. Therefore, once the radioactive safe
zone timer was up, the crew just dumped the barrels regardless of location.
The issue here is how one checks the current radioactive leakages and levels
of the waste if the locations are unknown.
NCT CBRNe Asia
It wasn’t until 1993 that nuclear and radioactive ocean disposal had been fully
banned and ratified by international treaties. (London Convention, Basel
Convention, MARPOL). Beyond technical and political considerations, the
London Convention places prohibitions on disposing of radioactive materials
at sea and does not make a distinction between wastes dumped directly into
the water and waste that is buried underneath the ocean’s floor. It also does
not exclude dumping radioactive waste through pipelines, which companies in
Europe are actually doing. Some claim that populations of humans located
near these pipelines are 10 times more likely to die of cancers. While others
state the risks are insignificant.
It seems that the general consensus is that storing radioactive waste in the
ocean is harmful to the organisms that inhabit the ocean and to humans as
well due to radiation and in addition it is a rather expensive process. Poor
insulation of the containers, leaks, volcanic activity, tectonic plate movement,
limited locations, and several other factors prove that storing radioactive
waste in the oceans has a potential of becoming a catastrophe. Yet for some,
it is more practical than alternatives such as storing it on land or launching
rockets off towards the sun.
Nevertheless, many argue that ocean-based approaches to the disposal of
nuclear waste have significant advantages. First, disposing waste at the
bottom of the ocean is hard for terrorists, rebels, or criminals to steal for use
in radiological weapons or in nuclear bombs. The world’s oceans also have a
vastly greater dilutive capacity than any single land site in the event of
In the US for example, Federal officials have long maintained that, despite
some leakage from containers, there isn’t evidence of damage to the wider
ocean environment or threats to public health. The Wall Street Journal review
of decades of federal and other records has found many unanswered
questions and evidence which proves otherwise. It is also well documented
by the scientific community, that even lose doses of radioactive exposer can
increase the rates of cancers. However, more specifically, endocrine disruptor
in form of radioactivity can cause cancer in the same manner, as it can cure
The 1993 Treaty remains in force up until 2018, after which the sub-seabed
disposal option can be revisited, creating new opportunities for nuclear waste
disposal and a more potentially radioactively ocean. Companies are already
writing up plans to convince the public and governments about the
importance and safety of ocean-floor disposals.
Back then, and even now, many believed the ocean is fair game when it
comes to radioactive waste. Especially since the impact of radioactivity on
human health was largely underestimated. Fortunately the case is not the
same today. While radioactive and nuclear waste is no longer disposed from
ships into the oceans, great risks still remain.
Russia Dumped 19 Radioactive Ships Plus 14 Nuclear Reactors Into the
Posted on September 18, 2012 by WashingtonsBlog (Multiple in text links to
sources in online article) http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/09/russiadumped-
Government Dumping of Nuclear Waste Still Poses a Threat … Decades
Governments – including both Russia and the United States – have been
covering up nuclear meltdowns for 50 years and covering up the dangers of
radiation for 67 years.
Governments have also covered up dumping of nuclear waste in the ocean.
As the International Atomic Energy Agency notes, 13 countries used ocean
dumping to “dispose” of radioactive waste between 1946 and 1993.
Since 1993, ocean disposal has been banned by agreement through a
number of international treaties, including the London Convention of 1972,
the Basel Convention, and MARPOL 73/78.
According to the United Nations, some companies have been dumping
radioactive waste and other hazardous materials into the coastal waters of
Somalia [well after the treaties were signed], taking advantage of the fact that
the country has had no functioning government from the early 1990s
onwards. This has caused health problems for locals in the coastal region
and poses a significant danger to Somalia’s fishing industry and local marine
Wikipedia also provides a breakdown by region:
[North Atlantic] 78% of dumping at Atlantic Ocean is done by UK
(35,088TBq), followed by Switzerland (4,419TBq), USA (2,924TBq) and
Belgium (2,120TBq). Sunken USSR nuclear submarines are not included.
137 x 103 tones were dumped by 8 European countries. USA did not report
tonnage nor volume of 34,282 containers.
[Pacific Ocean] USSR 874TBq [i.e. terabecquerels], USA 554 TBq, Japan
15.1TBq, New Zealand 1+TBq and unknown figure by South Korea.
751×103m3 were dumped by Japan and USSR. USA did not report tonnage
nor volume of 56,261 containers.
[Sea of Japan] USSR dumped 749TBq in the Sea of Japan, Japan
dumped 15.1TBq south of main island. South Korea dumped 45 tones
(unknown radio activity value) in the Sea of Japan.
As the Norwegian environmental group Bellona Fondation reported last
month, Russia has just admitted that it dumped 19 radioactive ships plus 14
nuclear reactors – some of them containing fissible material – into the ocean:
The catalogue of waste dumped at sea by the Soviets, according to
documents seen by Bellona, and which were today released by the
Norwegian daily Aftenposten, includes some 17,000 containers of radioactive
waste, 19 ships containing radioactive waste, 14 nuclear reactors, including
five that still contain spent nuclear fuel; 735 other pieces of radioactively
contaminated heavy machinery, and the K-27 nuclear submarine with its two
reactors loaded with nuclear fuel.
Per Strand of the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority told
Aftenposten that the information on the radioactive waste had come from the
Russian authorities gradually.
“No one can guarantee that this outline we have received is complete,” he
He added that Russia has set up a special commission to undertake the
task of mapping the waste, the paper reported.
A Norwegian-Russian Expert Group will this week start an expedition in
areas of the Kara Sea, which the report released by Russia says was used as
a radioactive dump until the early 1990s
Bellona’s Igor Kurdrik, an expert on Russian naval nuclear waste, said that,
“We know that the Russians have an interest in oil exploration in this area.
They therefore want to know were the radioactive waste is so they can clean
it up before they beging oil recovery operations.”
He cautiously praised the openness of the Russian report given to Norway
and that Norway would be taking part in the waste charting expedition.
Bellona thinks that Russia has passed its report to Norway as a veiled cry
for help, as the exent of the problem is far too great for Moscow to handle on
Kudrik said that one of the most critical pieces of information missing from
the report released to the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority was the
presence of the K-27 nuclear submarine, which was scuttled in 50 meters of
water with its two reactors filled with spent nuclear fuel in in Stepovogo Bay in
the Kara Sea in 1981.
Information that the reactors about the K-27 could reachieve criticality and
explode was released at the Bellona-Rosatom seminar in February.
“This danger had previously been unknown, and is very important
information. When they search and map these reactors, they must be the first
priority,” said Kudrik.
Researchers will now evaluate whether it is possible to raise the
submarine, and attempt to determine if it is leaking radioactivity into the sea.
(Here is a slideshow of one of Bellona’s earlier expeditions to research
Russian nuclear ocean dumping in the same region.)
Wikipedia provides details of nuclear submarine accidents, including the
Eight nuclear submarines have sunk as a consequence of either accident
or extensive damage: two from the United States Navy, four from the Soviet
Navy, and two from the Russian Navy.
K-27: The only Project 645 submarine, equipped with a liquid metal cooled
reactor, was irreparably damaged by a reactor accident (control rod failure)
on May 24, 1968. 9 were killed in the reactor accident. After shutting down the
reactor and sealing the compartment, the Soviet Navy scuttled her in shallow
water of the Kara Sea on September 6, 1982, contrary to the
recommendation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Nuclear scientists might defend previous ocean dumping by saying “we
thought it was safe”. And this may be true.
But a previously-secret 1955 U.S. government report found that the ocean
may not adequately “dilute” nuclear materials.
Previously-Secret 1955 Government Report Concluded that Ocean May
Not Adequately Dilute Radiation from Nuclear Accidents
Posted on June 1, 2012 by WashingtonsBlog (Multiple in text links to sources
in online article) http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/06/why-the-oceanmay-
Fukushima Likely to Produce “Pockets” and “Streams” of Highly-
The operator of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant has been dumping
something like a thousand tons per day of radioactive water into the Pacific
Remember, the reactors are “riddled with meltdown holes”, building 4 – with
more radiation than all nuclear bombs ever dropped or tested – is missing
entire walls, and building 3 is a pile of rubble.
The whole complex is leaking like a sieve, and the rivers of water pumped
into the reactors every day are just pouring into the ocean (with only a slight
Most people assume that the ocean will dilute the radiation from Fukushima
enough that any radiation reaching the West Coast of the U.S. will be low.
For example, the Congressional Research Service wrote in April:
Scientists have stated that radiation in the ocean very quickly becomes
diluted and would not be a problem beyond the coast of Japan.
U.S. fisheries are unlikely to be affected because radioactive material that
enters the marine environment would be greatly diluted before reaching U.S.
And a Woods Hole oceanographer said:
“The Kuroshio current is considered like the Gulf Stream of the Pacific, a
very large current that can rapidly carry the radioactivity into the interior” of
the ocean, Buesseler said.
“But it also dilutes along the way, causing a lot of mixing and decreasing
radioactivity as it moves offshore.”
But – just as we noted 2 days after the earthquake hit that the jet stream
might carry radiation to the U.S. by wind – we are now warning that ocean
currents might carry more radiation to the at least some portions of the West
Coast of North America than is assumed.
Specifically, we noted more than a year ago:
The ocean currents head from Japan to the West Coast of the U.S.
As AP notes:
The floating debris will likely be carried by currents off of Japan toward
Washington, Oregon and California before turning toward Hawaii and back
again toward Asia, circulating in what is known as the North Pacific gyre, said
Curt Ebbesmeyer, a Seattle oceanographer who has spent decades tracking
“All this debris will find a way to reach the West coast or stop in the
Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” a swirling mass of concentrated marine litter in
the Pacific Ocean, said Luca Centurioni, a researcher at Scripps Institution of
Oceanography, UC San Diego.
Here is what the North Pacific Gyre looks like:
North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone FDA Refuses to Test Fish for
Radioactivity ... Government Pretends Radioactive Fish Is Safe
CNN said that “the Hawaiian islands may get a new and unwelcome
addition in coming months — a giant new island of debris floating in from
Japan.” It relied in part on work done by the University of Hawaii’s
International Pacific Research Center, which predicts that:
“In three years, the [debris] plume will reach the U.S. West Coast,
dumping debris on Californian beaches and the beaches of British Columbia,
Alaska, and Baja California. The debris will then drift into the famous North
Pacific Garbage Patch, where it will wander around and break into smaller
and smaller pieces. In five years, Hawaii shores can expect to see another
barrage of debris that is stronger and longer lastingthan the first one. Much of
the debris leaving the North Pacific Garbage Patch ends up on Hawaii’s reefs
Indeed, CNN notes:
The debris mass, which appears as an island from the air, contains
cars, trucks, tractors, boats and entire houses floating in the current heading
toward the U.S. and Canada, according to ABC News.
The bulk of the debris will likely not be radioactive, as it was presumably
washed out to sea during the initial tsunami – before much radioactivity had
leaked. But this shows the power of the currents from Japan to the West
An animated graphic from the University of Hawaii’s International Pacific
Research Center shows the projected dispersion of debris from Japan:
Indeed, an island of Japanese debris the size of California is hitting the West
Coast of North America … and some of it is radioactive.
In addition to radioactive debris, MIT says that seawater which is itself
radioactive may begin hitting the West Coast within 5 years. Given that the
debris is hitting faster than predicted, it is possible that the radioactive
seawater will as well.
And the Congressional Research Service admitted:
However, there remains the slight potential for a relatively narrow corridor
of highly contaminated water leading away from Japan …
Transport by ocean currents is much slower, and additional radiation from
this source might eventually also be detected in North Pacific waters under
U.S. jurisdiction, even months after its release. Regardless of slow ocean
transport, the long half-life of radioactive cesium isotopes means that
radioactive contaminants could remain a valid concern for
Indeed, nuclear expert Robert Alvarez – senior policy adviser to the Energy
Department’s secretary and deputy assistant secretary for national security
and the environment from 1993 to 1999 – wrote yesterday:
According to a previously secret 1955 memo from the U.S. Atomic Energy
Commission regarding concerns of the British government over contaminated
tuna, “dissipation of radioactive fall-out in ocean waters is not a gradual
spreading out of the activity from the region with the highest concentration to
uncontaminated regions, but that in all probability the process results in
scattered pockets and streams of higher radioactive materials in the Pacific.
We can speculate that tuna which now show radioactivity from ingested
materials [this is in 1955, not today] have been living, in or have passed
through, such pockets; or have been feeding on plant and animal life which
has been exposed in those areas.”
Because of the huge amounts of radioactive water Tepco is dumping into the
Pacific Ocean, and the fact that the current pushes water from Japan to the
West Coast of North America, at least some of these radioactive “streams” or
“hot spots” will likely end up impacting the West Coast.
Sea-Based Nuclear Waste Solutions Scientia Press http://
Sea-based approaches to the disposal of nuclear waste make it hard for
terrorists, rebels, or criminals to steal for use in radiological weapons or in
nuclear bombs. The world’s oceans have a vastly greater dilutive capacity
than any single land site in the event of unintended leaks (though by the
same token the effects of a leak could travel farther). And seawater itself
contains a variety of radionuclides, so treating it as a domain in which there is
no natural radioactivity runs counter to fact. Meanwhile, without a great deal
of additional investment and endless political arguments, land-based
geological storage sites will not have the capacity to store all the waste that
will be generated in future decades.
The most important rationale, though, is that siting, constructing, and
operating land-based long-term storage sites constitute major, difficult
technological and political problems. It is wrongheaded and irresponsible to
assume that many relatively poor, unstable, and technologically lagging
countries with nuclear reactors will deal successfully with these challenges.
Too many things can go wrong, with disastrous outcomes.
So a shared international solution to the problems of the long-term storage of
nuclear waste should represent a high priority. And investigating sea-based
solutions makes eminent sense because they are peculiarly suited to
Four sea-based approaches recommend themselves.
Sub-Seabed Disposal in Stable Clay Formations
First formally proposed in 1973, the concept of burying nuclear waste in
stable clay formations under the seabed was investigated by international
teams of scientists for many years. A substantial scientific literature details the
various modalities, associated risks, and geological conditions. The large
undersea plain some 600 miles north of Hawaii, stable for some 65 million
years, received special attention.
Researchers found that the clay muds in such sub-seabed formations had a
high capacity for binding radionuclides, so that any leakage would be likely to
remain within the clay for millions of years, by which time radioactive
emissions would decline to natural background levels.
However, in 1986 the U.S. Department of Energy cut off funding for research
on sub-seabed and other nuclear waste disposal options in favor of pursuing
the Yucca Mountain one. Even though Congress had established an Office of
Subseabed Disposal Research within the Department of Energy, it soon
changed its mind, and the Office spent allocated funds on other projects.
From the outset, environmentalists voiced hostility to the concept of subseabed
disposal, though it is clear that some failed to make the elementary
distinction between casual dumping and the planned burial of nuclear waste
in secure containers either in deep boreholes under the seabed or in a
prepared sub- seabed geological repository. Also, it must be noted that some
environmentalists oppose all specific proposals for nuclear waste disposal as
a way of putting an end to nuclear technology entirely. Given the
determination of quite a few governments around the world to pursue nuclear
technology, however, this stance may prove unrealistic, unhelpful, and
ultimately dangerous to the environment itself. At the very least, such
environmentalists should state that they oppose all solutions when objecting
to any specific one.
The London Dumping Convention prohibits dumping nuclear waste at
sea. It is not clear whether this applies to a sub-seabed geological disposal
solution. Moreover, the Convention will be coming up for renewal in the nottoo-
distant future. Other countries have tended to follow the U.S. lead thus
far, but this situation might change as nuclear waste disposal becomes an
ever more pressing problem and land-based solutions appear inadequate.
At a minimum, funding further research into sub-seabed disposal makes
sense. Since the abandonment of research, fundamental changes have
occurred. The danger of terrorists or others gaining access to nuclear waste
and using it in radiological weapons looms far larger now than in the 1980s.
New technology for containing storage reduces the threat of early leakage.
And bottom-crawling submarines are now available that can effectively insert
canisters of waste deep into the sub-seabed.
Restarting investigation into sub-seabed disposal in stable clay formations is
a commonsensical way to develop a fallback alternative to geological
disposal on land. The possibility of creating an international consortium that
would ensure that all high-level nuclear waste from every country in the world
would be buried in a single sub-seabed storage area seems promising.
Burial in Subduction Faults
A second sub-seabed option has received little attention but deserves careful
consideration: burying canisters of nuclear waste in Subduction Faults that
would carry the waste downward toward the Earth’s mantle. This approach
possesses the virtue of being very permanent–the reverse of shooting the
waste with rockets into the Sun, except much more practical. As the
subduction fault would carry the canisters down at a rate of, say, 10 cm per
year, the chances of any release of radionuclides into the biosphere would
become increasingly remote.
A single California firm, Permanent RadWaste Solutions, has pursued the
technology for this option. In addition to the bottom-crawling submarine for
digging the holes and delivering the waste, this company has developed a
canister technology that becomes more tightly sealed and resistant as the
outside pressure increases during the descent of the canister toward the
Some observers object that earthquake or volcanic activity could cause the
canister to leak, and the radioactive waste would spew into the sky or onto
the surface. However, it is possible to place the canisters in the parts of a
subduction zone where there is no volcanic activity, so that they will take
millions of years to migrate to less stable parts, at a time when their level of
radioactivity will no longer surpass that of the natural background.
As with the stable clay approach, it would be possible to bore deep holes into
the subduction faults in order to get the waste as deep as possible, even
though the danger of leakage upward to the seafloor appears to be minimal.
Radionuclides are heavier than water, so there is also no reason why they
should migrate upward to the ocean’s surface, especially since there is no
evidence that bottom-dwelling marine species are concentrated upward into a
food pyramid that leads to the surface.
Engineered Island Disposal
The notion of burying nuclear waste on remote, unpopulated islands has
been investigated, but one must question how thoroughly. The Yucca
Mountain Project Website lists the reasons why this option was not pursued:
1) risks of ocean transport, especially bad weather; 2) earthquake and
volcanic activity; 3) penetration of island foundations by seawater and fresh
water, leading to leakage; and 4) the opposition of nearby countries.
Many of these objections could be overcome by constructing a remote island
in a place in the ocean where the depth is not great. While constructing the
island would cost a lot of money, so do all other geological disposal solutions.
In this case, the island itself would be the disposal site. One could use rock
with optimal barrier properties and select a location far from other islands, the
mainland, and areas with seismic activity. Building an Engineered Island
would best be done as an international effort, perhaps spearheaded by
several countries with no other attractive options.
Objection #1 (risks of ocean transport) does not deter the shipment of nuclear
waste now, and it can be reduced by various technical and procedural means,
including monitoring by an authorized international body. Engineered Island
disposal would have the great virtue of solving the disposal problem for all
countries (assuming that all would participate), including those incapable of
managing safe disposal themselves. It is an option that deserves more
research, especially since the human-made island approach has tended to be
overlooked thus far. Nuclear waste disposal of this sort could also
conceivably be done with the purpose of elevating a low-lying, populated
island threatened by rising sea level caused by climate change. For instance,
the waste could be buried deep under the island, with the excavated rock
used to build up the island to a higher level.
Seawater Uranium Cycling
The presence of uranium in seawater at 3 parts per billion suggests a fourth
and final sea-based nuclear waste solution. Technology already exists to
separate this uranium from seawater, but currently its cost (an estimated
$240/kg) far exceeds the cost of conventional uranium mining (long-term
average ~$80/kg). Nonetheless, the potential for such seawater uranium
extraction holds considerable interest for countries like Japan where other
sources of energy are lacking, and researchers are gradually achieving better
One way to lower the cost would be to combine the extraction of uranium with
related activities. The most obvious would be to extract other minerals at the
same time. Na, Mg, Ca, and K are currently commercially extracted; and of
course desalinated water and salt (sodium chloride) are also removed.1
It would also be possible to extract toxic chemicals, recyclable waste
materials, and carbon to reduce seawater acidity as a consequence of fossil
fuel pollution. Every time something would be extracted from the original
seawater, the concentration of the remaining uranium would rise, reducing the
cost of extracting it.
Another such activity would consist of performing the extraction of uranium
and other minerals using the water flowing through an Oceanic Thermal
Energy Conversion (OTEC) plant, which in turn would make OTEC
technology more economically attractive.
And there is still another activity that can be combined with seawater uranium
extraction, if one considers that every atom of uranium extracted reduces the
natural level of radioactivity of the ocean. In a process called “Seawater
Uranium Cycling” (SUC), an international monitoring body could grant to a
company engaged in seawater uranium extraction a license to return to the
ocean an amount of radionuclides from high-level waste equivalent in
radioactivity and potential chemical toxicity to the uranium extracted (or this
could be done by a non-profit). This would permit the company, under careful
supervision, to dispense in a very diffuse way from a ship traversing vast
expanses of sea a tiny trickle of precisely the long-lived radionuclides like
americium that cause such difficulties when concentrated into High-Level
Waste because of their very long decay times.
SUC would begin in a small way, perhaps with one or two companies
handling only a small amount of uranium and waste radionuclides each year.
Over time, however, improvements in technology for extracting uranium and
other minerals would attract more firms. The total amount of uranium in the
ocean is immense (4,300,000,000 metric tons), so SUC could operate for a
very long time.
While many people might feel consternation at the image of simply pouring
radionuclides into the water, a correct scientific view shows this image to be
very misleading. The gigantic volume of the ocean and careful dispersal
carried out in accordance with international monitoring, never exceeding the
amount of uranium extracted, would make SUC an admirably safe method. It
would also provide incentives for the development and deployment of
seawater uranium extraction, while lessening the environmental impact of
opening new uranium mines on land.
Clearly, for solutions involving a single large sea-based repository for nuclear
waste, some form of compensation should be provided for neighboring
While objections can–and surely will–be raised to each of these sea-based
approaches to nuclear waste disposal, it is much harder to oppose them as a
bundle. Even though they compete with each other, they also support each
other in terms of reinforcing the general concept of carefully investigating
methods of sea-based disposal.
Since governments appear to lack the political will to pursue such
approaches, international organizations, companies, foundations, and NGOs
need to begin to support research on them. Relying, as we now do, on
dozens of nuclear countries each to develop and maintain secure geological
disposal sites for nuclear waste is a thoughtless and dangerously
irresponsible approach. The ultimate goal should be to devise a nuclear
waste solution (not necessarily a sea-based one) that will gain international
adherence and become the shared global long-term one for all High-Level
Waste, and perhaps for Low-Level Waste as well.
- See more at: http://www.scientiapress.com/nuclearwaste#sthash.
Dumping nuclear waste into the ocean —>
“…Millions of barrels have been cheaply disposed of into the open ocean.”
“The British and Americans dumped their nuclear waste in 200 liter barrels at 50 different locations.”
50,000 barrels were dumped off the coast of San Francisco.
Quietly Into Disaster – full movie
Then add all the stuff dumped by La Hague, all the nuclear reactors
dumped, all of the RTG satellites crashed, all of the nuke subs and
ships waste just from running around out there, plus all of the 400 nuke
reactors liquid and air emissions, most of it ends up in the ocean,
all other 67 plus nuclear accidents
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