Salt burial

18 August 2004

The European Commission has released results from a research project examining the burial of radioactive waste in rock salt.

The Bambus II project examined the design and construction of chambers, considering the effectiveness of materials in securing waste, including surrounding rock, the crushed salt and container metals.

Six 65 tonne containers were encased in salt in the disused Asse salt mine in Germany and maintained at 180ºC. After being monitored for almost ten years they were retrieved and assessed.

Werner Bechthold of Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, the German research organisation that coordinated the Bambus I and II projects, said: "I am convinced that this type of repository will not represent an unacceptable environmental and human risk. However, we can only say that we have made a major contribution to the understanding of the behaviour and safety of this type of storage."

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