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|NKS Programme Area:||NKS-R|
|Report Title:||Conservation and Retrieval of Information - Elements of strategy to inform future societies about nuclear waste repositories|
|Abstract:||High-level waste from nuclear power generation will remain radioactive for thousands of
years even though 99% of the radioactivity will have decayed within the first millennium.
Certain information about the waste must be kept for long time periods because future
generations may - intentionally or inadvertently - come into contact with the radioactive
waste. Present day waste management would benefit from an early identification of
documents to b e part of an archive for radioactive waste repositories. The same reasoning
is valid for repositories for other toxic wastes.
For a hypothetical group involved in future actions to retrieve or repair a repository,
information about its location, design, and content would be necessary. The need of such
groups can be used to design the information that should be kept in a waste archive.
At the outset, industry as well as the company operating the repository and the competent
authorities, are in possession of a vast amount of information about the nuclear material
and its history. Certain essential information should be extracted from this primary
information in order to establish independent archives of different sizes, i.e. second and
third level information sets.
Two main strategies exist for long-term information transfer, one which links information
through successive transfers of archived material and other forms of knowledge in society,
and one - such as marking the site with a monument - relying upon a direct link from the
present to the distant future. Both strategies may be used, depending on site-specific
The presently preferred archive media include high quality paper and microfilms which
have estimated lifetimes of hundreds of years. Paper types, commonly used in the past,
may have shorter lifetimes which may have to be considered when second and third level
information set are to be established. Digital methods are not recommended for long-term
storage, but digital processing may be a valuable tool to structure information summaries,
and in the creation of better long-lasting records. Advances in archive management should
also be pursued to widen the choice of information carriers of high durability.
In the Nordic countries, during the first few thousand years, and perhaps up to the next
period of glaciation, monuments at a repository site may be used to warn the public of the
presence of dangerous waste. But messages from such markers may pose interpretation
problems as we have today for messages left by earlier societies such as rune inscriptions.
Since the national borders may change in the time scale relevant for nuclear waste, the
creation of an international archive for all radioactive wastes would represent an
improvement as regards conservation and retrieval of information. A legal strategy is
discussed, suggesting that society should implement the right to information about
environmental hazards such as disposed waste rather than implement restrictions near
the site, which are not regarded realistic in the long term.|
|Publication date:||01 Aug 1993|
|Number of downloads:||2714|