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Geosciences and the Long Term Management of Radioactive Wastes


The Geological Society of London (Note 1) is convening a one-day meeting on January 9 2006 (Notes 2,3) to be chaired by its former President, Lord Oxburgh KBE FRS, to review the long-term management of radioactive wastes from a geoscientific perspective. The media are welcome to attend the meeting. There will be no news conference.

In 1999, the Geological Society of London and the British Geological Survey held a meeting that concluded deep disposal was the best technical and scientific option for safe and sustainable long-term containment.

Since then, the UK Government has appointed a Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) to review options for long-term solutions, to engage the public and other stakeholders in the review, and to deliver a recommendation to Government in 2006.

The meeting will hear about the wastes to be managed in the UK, the range of options and the process of consulting with stakeholders. It will look at the technical and scientific advances currently being made towards selecting and investigating sites for deep disposal and assessing long-term safety in radioactive waste management projects elsewhere in Europe. The broader geoscience basis for understanding subsurface processes, particularly from oilfield studies, will also be illustrated.

The meeting will discuss safety of deep disposal in terms of the stability of deep rock environments with respect to groundwater flow, rock mechanics and other properties that would allow engineered containment and natural barriers to operate successfully for very long periods of time.

Appropriate criteria and information by which different parts of the UK can be identified as being stable at the surface or in the subsurface with respect to long-term climatic and tectonic changes will then also be considered.

The meeting will conclude with a discussion of these and other aspects of the geoscientific basis for implementing a future strategy for radioactive waste management and for securing long-term safety.

Ted Nield | alfa
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