Finland To Seal 5,500 Tons Of Dangerously Radioactive Nuclear Waste In $4 Billion Tomb
Finland is reportedly building the world's most expensive tomb for its nuclear waste.
In a project AFP describes as "the world's costliest and longest-lasting burial," the European country will be burying 5,500 tons of dangerously radioactive nuclear waste in 26 miles of tunnels.
It will remain sealed off for the next 100,000 years in tunnels called Onkalo or "The Hollow," which are found on the island of Olkiluoto, Fox News reported. After 100,000 years, the waste will no longer be dangerous or radioactive.
The first batch of radioactive materials will reportedly be buried in 2020 and the last batch will be interred in the 2120s. After the last batch has been successfully buried, the tunnels will be permanently sealed.
Several precautions will be taken to avoid any leakage of nuclear waste. The waste will first be sealed in iron casts, then into copper canisters and finally into clay. These will then be interred 1,380 feet underground in the tunnels, which will be filled with more clay during the final step to prevent water, ice and shifting rocks from getting in.
The whole project is expected to cost Finland an estimated $4 billion.
Finland will be the first country to inter its nuclear waste permanently as most countries store it only temporarily in above-ground facilities.
About a third of Finland's electricity is generated via nuclear power, which resulted to the excessive production of nuclear waste.
The plan to bury the nuclear waste in The Hollow was only approved in 2015 and took over 30 years to be agreed upon, Nature noted.
Some environmental activists such as Greenpeace have raised concerns regarding the safety of Olkiluoto and its people, but the residents of the island recognize the importance of burying the nuclear waste.
"Personally, I believe that when [the waste] is placed deep down there with care and expertise, it is better than how it is now around the world—placed wherever," a Olkiluoto farmer told AFP.