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China’s plans for a huge nuclear waste bunker

China builds bunker to test whether nuclear waste can be dumped underground, SCMP

Lab more than 500 metres underground in the Gobi Desert will be the world’s largest of its kind
If research there is successful, a long-term underground dump for high-level radioactive waste could be built, helping to address a global problem

China has started building a laboratory deep underground in the Gobi Desert to assess whether it would be a suitable location for a nuclear waste dump, amid moves to expand its nuclear power capacity.

The Beishan Underground Research Laboratory in the northwestern province of Gansu will be used to research long-term storage of high-level radioactive waste. With its deepest level to be built 560 metres (1,837 feet) below ground, it will be the world’s largest lab of its kind, according to the ChinaNuclear Energy Association, which promotes nuclear power.

  • The world has about a quarter of a million tonnes of highly radioactive waste, all kept in “temporary” storage. No country has found a solution for permanent deep geological storage, with public opposition often a factor.
  • China’s attempt to find an answer comes at a time when it plans to build a fleet of new reactors. Disposal of high-level radioactive waste is becoming more critical as it uses more nuclear power and tries to become carbon neutral

……. It is estimated that the lab will cost over 2.7 billion yuan (US$400 million), take seven years to build and operate for 50 years. If research proves the site to be suitable, a long-term underground repository for high-level radioactive waste will be built nearby by 2050, Wang Ju, chief designer of the lab, told state media in April……….

June 24, 2021 - Posted by | China, wastes

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